How to Add Proofreading Symbols to a Word Document

Rather than switching the font color in Word to create a digital "red pen" when proofreading someone's work, use the Track Changes and commenting systems. These methods make your edits stand out, save the author from needing to reset the font color and take care of some proofreading marks, such as deletion strikethroughs, automatically. To add less common symbols within your review notes, use the Insert Symbol window.

Hand with Red Pen Proofreading Text Closeup
Use Track Changes to insert additional words in red text.
credit: Pixsooz/iStock/Getty Images

Comments and Tracking Changes

Word offers two types of proofing tools on the Review tab that work hand in hand. To mark specific text for removal, or to offer an insertion, turn on "Track Changes." With this setting on, every addition you make to the document appears in red text. Deletions, rather than actually removing the text, mark the characters with a strikethrough. After you return the document, the author can choose to "Accept" or "Reject" each mark you leave. To leave other suggestions, highlight a section of text and click "New Comment" to write a note off to the side.

Inserting Uncommon Proofreading Symbols

Using either Track Changes or a comment, you can type common proofreading symbols such as the caret on the keyboard without the mark blending into the text. To add a symbol not found on the keyboard, such as the paragraph mark, open the Insert tab, click "Symbol" and then "More Symbols." Choose a font, find the mark you need and press "Insert." If you already know the symbol's Unicode number, such as "00b6" for the paragraph mark, type the number directly into the document or comment and press "Alt-X." Select and copy a symbol you expect to reuse, and you can quickly insert it again by pressing "Control-V."

Version Information

Information in this article applies to Microsoft Word 2013 and 2010. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.