Are Proofreader Marks Obsolete?

I’m taking an online editing class because I’m bored and it’s more beneficial to my professional development than taking up macramé or doing jigsaw puzzles. It’s a course that carries zero weight in the real world because it’s free. Sadly, it’s also not challenging; I should be the one teaching it.

Lesson 5 is about proofreader marks.

I love proofreader marks. I really do. I love taking my purple (no red; red reminds me of the wild abandon of math teachers) pen and dotting the page with those cute little squiggles and carets. However, I don’t like to waste paper or ink, so I do most of my editing work on the computer—like many editors I know. As more editors and proofreaders move to the cold heartlessnessProofMarks of zeros and ones, what happens to those marks now?

In addition to the environmental benefits of digital editing, there’s a practical angle:  less chance of error when doing final checks, since one doesn’t have go back and forth between paper and pixel.

Are proofreading and editing marks obsolete? What do you think?

Image from and used here without permission.

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