Intelligent Editing, the company behind the powerful proofreading software PerfectIt, has an interesting new product and research on its website.
The Online Consistency Checker is now available (in beta) and is free. Although PerfectIt is worth every penny of the $49 standard price (and Copyediting members receive a 15% discount), “free” is always nice when applied to a helpful product. The online checker is a secure way to test documents for consistency issues, including abbreviations, hyphenation, spelling, and numbers. You can check the features matrix to see how the online checker compares to the standard and pro editions of PerfectIt. You can also upload a document and check the results yourself—nearly instantly.
I uploaded a 366-page document and got a six-page consistency report in under 30 seconds. Unlike PerfectIt, an add-on for Word that walks you through the find-and-replace process, the online checker returns a simple list of results. You can use your word processor to find and correct the errors. My report included, for example, over seventy-five phrases that were hyphenated inconsistently. Some were clearly errors (e.g., “clearly-defined”); others needed to be checked in context (e.g., “coin-operated”).
In addition to other “Resources” articles, Intelligent Edit has published some interesting original research. Using PerfectIt to analyze groups of online documents, it has created “Top 10 Lists” detailing the most common consistency errors. Overall, capitalized phrases win the prize for being the least consistently handled—79.7 percent of the documents had inconsistent capitalization. As the article explains, not all of the inconsistencies are errors, but a “quick manual check” suggested that “relatively few” were false positives. Lists of specific abbreviation, capitalization, hyphenation, and spelling errors are also given.
Even for those not interested in the full-featured PerfectIt, the Intelligent Editing website is well worth a visit.
Look for Erin Brenner's full review of Intelligent Editing in the Dec-Jan issue of the Copyediting newsletter.