Why do the extra work? The first reason is because our eyes can't spot all the errors at once. It's easier to do multiple passes through a document, each time focusing on a different thing. The first and second passes through a document, I can decide whether the content and organization make sense without worrying about capitalization or punctuation. Also, although I advocate for having a dedicated editor, using a checklist helps you to distance yourself from your own work when there's no one else around to proof it.
The checklist doesn't have to be long or complicated. Here are some sample items from a checklist I used to edit training materials:
- Is the document set up correctly for double-sided printing?
- How's the spacing on each page?
- Have titles been capitalized correctly? What about proper nouns?
- Are headers and footers accurate and consistent?
- Are internal headings consistent?
- In bulleted items, is the format correct and used consistently? Do the items all have a parallel structure?
- Are tables, figures, and visuals numbered correctly and consistently?
- Are numbers and acronyms correct and used consistently throughout?
- Is the document punctuated correctly?
- Are there misspellings?
- Are there grammatical errors?