Among the many tools available for editors, PerfectIt is one of the best. Despite using PerfectIt for more than 10 years, I still find myself thinking ‘that’s fantastic’ when I run it on a long document. Here are three reasons why I love PerfectIt.
1 – PerfectIt saves you time
PerfectIt, an add-in to MS Word, was initially designed to pick up inconsistencies in things such as capitalisation, hyphenation, spelling, abbreviations, italics and numbers. For example, if a document contains both ‘Client’ and ‘client’, PerfectIt will pick this up as an inconsistency. Similarly, it will find issues such as centre/center, long-term/long term, eight/8 and naïve/naïve. In each case, PerfectIt gives you the chance to choose your preferred option (e.g. you may prefer ‘Client’ to ‘client’). Once you have chosen an option, the ‘Fix’ button in PerfectIt makes it quick and easy to implement the desired changes.
As an editor, you would of course notice and fix these issues as you work. What PerfectIt does is to greatly speed up that process (and unlike a person, it doesn’t get tired!).
2 – PerfectIt makes it easy to stick to a style
PerfectIt makes it easy to find deviations from a particular style, such as US spelling. The program has style sheets for different spellings (Australian, Canadian, UK and US) and organisations (e.g. European Union, United Nations and World Health Organization). Hence, if you are working on a document from the US, you simply choose PerfectIt’s US spelling style sheet. The program will then pick up any deviations from US spelling – for example, it will pick up the word ‘colour’, and it will do this even if the document does not contain the word ‘color’. Using one of PerfectIt’s style sheets thus greatly increases the power of the program, because it will pick up not just inconsistencies but also deviations from the chosen style.
3 – PerfectIt leaves you in control
When PerfectIt finds an inconsistency or deviation from a style, it does not do anything automatically. Instead, the program highlights the issue, and gives you the option of pressing ‘Fix’ to make a change. The user is totally in control of making any changes. Also, if you press ‘Fix’ and then change your mind, PerfectIt makes it easy to go back and undo a particular action.
Another way that you have control is in setting which of PerfectIt’s checks you want to run. The program runs more than 30 different checks on a document. If you just want it to look at a specific thing – for example, use of abbreviations or punctuation at the end of bullet points – you can choose to run only the relevant test.
If you're keen to learn more about tools to help you save time and improve the quality of your editing, you might like to take a look at my courses in PerfectIt, EndNote and a variety of editing tools. You can also book a coaching call with me to hone your skills in MS Word or EndNote.