WWhy can't I proof read on my monitor?

This might seem really stupid, but for the life of me, I can’t proofread on my monitor. I have to print it on paper or make a pdf.
I’ve talked to a lot of co-workers and friends about this and we all agree: Typos and other common errors that are glaring when you look at a piece of paper were not noticed at all when checked in a Word document on the screen.
The exception is when I make a pdf from a Word document. When I look at the pdf on the screen, all errors are in plain sight, but I didn’t notice them in Word.

Note - spellcheckers know that “konw tath” should be “know that”. They’re not so good at catching they’re =/= their and you’re =/= your.

As you seem to have discovered it’s a common problem for those of us who are oafs. I will type something onn the screen in my word processor which uses black on white just like a sheet of paper and see nothing wrong. And then typos leap off the page at me even before it’s printed out completely.

My solution is to become numbed to it and buy extra paper.

Is the thread misspelling intentional or not? Either way it’s funny. :slight_smile:

Total wild guess here, but I think that in general the PDF’s have much better font smoothing compared to Word. It looks a lot more like a paper, and it helps that it behaves as one instead of being something as, “electronic,” as Word.

Maybe part of the difference lies in tending to consider paper or simulated paper to be more official and more susceptible to proofing? It creates a bigger mental hiccup when you notice an error there?

I think that this is a pretty common thing.

My WAG is that it’s because the document has been recontextualized.

To a large degree we see what we expect to see. Do you find the same problem when proofreading other people’s work? I don’t. When you’re reading your own work, I think your eye slides over errors because on some level you think you know what you’ve put there.

Present it in a slightly different format and on some level you’re approaching it as something new and seeing what’s actually there instead of what you “know” you just put there.

I noticed this with print documents ages ago, and found that using the “Print Preview” feature for proofreading instead of just proofing in composition helped a lot. (Same thing with using “preview” here versus scanning what I’ve written in the text box.)

One of the things that I do a lot is end up with extra articles in spots that I pause during the the construction of a sentence. Those suckers are totally stealth unless I preview – especially if they are part of an afterthought that I don’t check carefully.

Quite possibly a good answer. I know that even in short posts that I often don’t preview but just scan, I wind up with typos.

My problem is inverted sentences. On preview I constantly mutter to myself, “Subject, verb, object. Subject, verb, object.” as I straighten out my inverted sentences into an easier-to-read word order.

Also, it’s just a little harder to read off a monitor, in long takes: it’s a vertical surface; it’s at a fixed distance, not necessarily the same distance you’d read a piece of paper from; it’s not as intuitive as hold a piece of paper and reading from that.

Plus as said above, recontextualization. One trick I was taught years ago, my first proofreading job: proofread the text backwards for spelling and typos; you’ll catch more errors that way. THat allows you to see each word out of context. When you read straight through, you can often assume what’s coming and skip ahead, even without being aware of it. This is even more true when it’s your own text: You KNOW what’s coming, so it’s harder to stop and read every single word.

A lot of times the lines are just too long on the computer; your eye starts skidding ahead just to get to the end of the line. This is why print preview, or just preview, can be helpful; they bring the lines down to a shorter, more “normal,” length; another way to do this is to put it in a partial-size window at a good width for you.

I know that I can’t spot typos in the reply field on the SDMB, but I can when the post is submitted (or, thankfully, previewed). This isn’t some bullshit Murphy’s Law “ain’t it always the way?” thing. It’s real. Something about the way the text is presented as a submitted post makes it much easier to pick up typos than when it’s in the original field.

I hate, hate, hate that. I’d create a letter or document for my boss, all pretty and everything and the moment I hit “print” there’s a damn typo or two. If I miss it whilst printing and it somehow makes it to boss and he’s signed it for distribution, THEN I’ll notice the typo and have to re-do it. Makes you feel kinda dumb when you have your superior sign 3 seemingly identical letters just 'cause you (I) goofed. “Oh, I forgot to include a whatever” (yeah right!)

The REALLY bad part is when you miss the typo 'til you’ve got the cc: in hand just after you’ve dropped it in the box to mail!

It’s an established fact in publishing that when you receive the final, printed copy of anything, the first thing you see on a quick thumb-through is a typo.