If you ever tried to proofread the gazillionth draft of an article, you know it’s painful to re-read a familiar piece. Plus, you naturally fill in missing words and correct other mistakes in your mind, not on the page. Adobe Acrobat is helping me overcome this challenge. (NOTE: now I use Speak in Microsoft Word for this purpose.)
The software’s key feature is its ability to read documents out loud in a deadpan voice that makes mistakes and weak writing glaringly obvious, at least to me. By the way, recent versions of Microsoft Word have a text-to-speech feature that can also read out loud.
You may be thinking, “But I don’t compose articles in PDF format!” Neither do I. However, I can quickly convert a Microsoft Word Document into a PDF format, so Pro can read it out loud.
After opening my newly created PDF document, I follow these steps:
- Click on the Read out Loud from the View Tab and choose Activate Read Out Loud. NOTE: The steps may vary if you have a different version of the software.
- Click on the text I’d like the software to read out loud. Usually I highlight one paragraph at a time for reading out loud as I follow along on a printed page. I am ready to click Shift + Control + C to pause the reading so I can type a correction or scribble an improvement on my hard copy.
- Input edits into the document.
- Repeat the Read out Loud process if I’ve made many edits.
I know I could read the document out loud myself. However, I’m impatient, so I usually give up after a few sentences.
What do you think? Could this technique help you?
For more ideas about proofreading, see “6 ways to stop sending emails with errors,” “What professional writers know,” and “Your spell-checker doesn’t work, so you must proofread.”
Note: I updated this article on Jan. 18, 2015, after learning that Adobe Acrobat Reader offers the Read Out Loud feature and on August 12, 2016, to reflect Microsoft Word’s text-to-speech feature.