How can I "autocorrect" an entire document at once?
June 26, 2013 9:22 AM   Subscribe

I have some large documents that are riddled with errors (I am copy/pasting from PDFs), and correcting each error is prohibitively time consuming. Is there a resource that will autocorrect the entire document in one sweep? Right now it is just a Google Drive document, but I can convert to Word, etc. Thanks for any tips.
posted by Mo' Money Moe Bandy to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you mean spell check? Word can spell check an entire document.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 9:25 AM on June 26, 2013

Response by poster: Spell check, yes, but then actually "batch correcting" everything in the document (rather than making me correct each one individually).
posted by Mo' Money Moe Bandy at 9:27 AM on June 26, 2013

Beware relying on spell check alone. You need to proofread for meaning. A typo as minor as from "the law was not changed" to "the law was now changed" can alter the entire meaning of a sentence, a paragraph, and upend the whole value of the document – but spell check won't catch it.
posted by zadcat at 9:28 AM on June 26, 2013 [6 favorites]

Maybe your better solution is some software they converts PDFs into Word docs or whatever? They have varying degrees of success, but it sounds like the errors are coming from stuff that isn't copy/pasting properly. You may want to extract the PDF in a better way.
posted by AppleTurnover at 9:49 AM on June 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

One option is to outsource the proofreading/spell checking to mechanical turk if you are doing a large number of these.
posted by srboisvert at 10:05 AM on June 26, 2013

If the errors are consistent, you can use Ctrl-H in most editors, including Word to access Search-and-Replace. On a Mac.. Command-H?
posted by Sunburnt at 10:33 AM on June 26, 2013

In Word you can use Find & Replace-All. You can even use it to replace things like spaces and paragraph marks.
posted by mullacc at 11:28 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

As a copy editor, Word's find and replace all function was my best friend for global changes.

There is no substitute for a human proofreader, however, as zadcat points out.
posted by elizeh at 6:17 PM on June 26, 2013

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