Design Domination Podcast Episode #33: Creative Brief: Proofreaders’ Marks

In this Creative Brief, I talk about proofreaders’ marks—what they are and how to decode them if and when you get them.

Proofreaders’ marks are symbols and notations used for conveying edits in print. If you get them from a client and don’t know what they are, they will appear to be a bunch of squiggly lines, circled letters or caret symbols. Don’t worry. They aren’t hieroglyphics!

Some clients use them but they are mostly utilized by editors or proofreaders, hence the name. They place the marks in the margins to provide instruction and then they mark in the text where to apply the change. These marks are not hard to learn.

Get the free guide to be able to decode them so you’re prepared if when you get these edits.

Download the free PDF guide (53 kb PDF)


  • Hi Colleen, I’m one of those dinosaurs who actually USED proofreading marks as a proofreader in the 90s, but your handout will come in handy to educate more modern clients when I proofread their content for them.

    BTW, the carets (^) are not ‘carrots’, they are actually pronounced ‘car-ayes’. 🙂

    1. Hi, Terry. I’ve been using them for 20-some years, so I’m right there with you.

      I know that “caret” is a French word but I don’t believe I’ve heard anyone pronounce it that way. Even the online pronunciation tools say “carrot.” To-may-too, to-mah-to… 🙂

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