I’ve been writing a lot of reports lately at work. I’m a fairly good writer when it comes to this kind of thing. Like most people, I make grammatical mistakes and leave words out of my sentences every so often. Especially, when I’m in the zone with my writing and trying to get all my thoughts out before I forget them. I catch a lot of this stuff when I’m proofreading my work. Sometimes I would print out the page and read it like that. For some reason that helps a little. Another thing that helps is to let someone else proofread it for me. However, sometimes I don’t want to bother anyone else because they are busy too. Some kinds of mistakes are hard to catch. My brain knows what I want to say so if I skip a work or use the wrong one I sometimes won’t see it.
This is a little technique that I came up with back in college. I’m probably not the first one to ever do something like this I’m sure. I call it proof-listening. Adobe Reader has a nice little feature called Read Out Loud. By downloading a PDF printer and opening the document in Adobe Reader, you can use this feature to listen to your document and catch all of those silly mistakes.
Here’s what you need to do. Download a PDF printer. I mention BullZip PDF printer because its free. Install the printer when it gets finished downloading. Flip back to your document you are creating and go to the print menu. You should see the PDF printer and select that one and click print. Save the file to somewhere you can find it like your desktop.
Open you new PDF file in Adobe Reader. Under the View menu, go to the bottom where is says Read Out Loud. Select Activate Read Out Loud. Get some ear buds so you don’t disturb your coworkers and plug them in. When you click on a paragraph Adobe will read it back to you in a robot voice. Read along while listening and scan for hard to find mistakes. Fix the ones you find in the word document and print again if you need to. Depending on how much time you have, go through your document several times to get a flawless report or paper.
Hope this helps someone. Enjoy!