Technical Editing: Typemarking

In some situations—but certainly not all—editors must indicate the format of the text they edit. In other words, they must indicate things like fonts, type sizes, margins, color, and italics. The publishing world calls this copymarking or, more recently, typemarking.

One traditional way to copymark is shown by Carolyn Rude in Technical Editing:

At the top, the circled Helv 12 indicates that the heading to the right should use 12pt Helvetica. Below that, the circled Helv 10/12 24.5 and the circle FL RR indicate that the body txt should use 10pt Helvetica with 12 pts of line spacing (between lines) and a 24.5 pica line length.

The vertical line that extends from these circled items to the bottom of the page indicates that these specifications apply to all of that text. If some other heading occurred on a following page, you'd have to mark it up too. Then the following paragraph would need the same markup and vertical line that the paragraph has in this example. In other words, as an editor, you'd have to mark every separate segment of text in this manner.

A less tedious method of marking up a manuscript involves used typecodes. This method is also shown in Technical Editing:

In this example, H3, LT, MCL are all typecodes. H3 obviously refers to a heading 3 format; LT, not so obviously to a paragraph format; and MCL, to a multicolumn format. Somewhere, external to this example is a set of specifications that lists the fonts, margins, and other such details that apply to these typecodes.

Here are some examples of what a type specification document looks like:

While these specs look pretty scary, editors generally don't need to know everything about what they mean. As an editor who enters these codes in the manuscript, your job is to mark text that is a chapter number with CN; text that is the chapter title with CT; numbered lists with either NL (for multi-line list items) or NP (for brief "compact" list items).

Study this example of a complete set of publishing specifications that is much more readable. If necessary, use the examples at the bottom of the page to decipher the specifications.

Typecodes are entered in two basic ways: by hand on the hardcopy pages of the manuscript, and with a word-processing application such as Open Office Writer or Microsoft Word.

Here is an example of hand-entered codes:

Publishing is a messy business, isn't it? At the top, you can see that the the figure number is coded with FN; the figure title with FT; and the figure source with FS. The paragraph following the figure caption is marked with T2. In these specs, T1 refers to paragraphs in which the first line is not indented. T2 refers to paragraphs in which the first line is indented. Notice how the bulleted list within the numbered list is marked: NL spans the entire list including the bulleted list; BL spans just the bulleted list.

Typecodes can also be entered using word-processing software, as this example shows:

In this example, the word "Chapter" and the chapter number are coded with CT; the actual chapter title with CTL. Regular nonindented text is marked with T. The bulleted-list text that followed is marked with BLF, "body list format." (The red font and underscores are a result of the change-tracking function; they are not entered manually by the editor.)

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