Editing

Do you have a long and complicated document that needs a revamp so that readers can easily find their way around it? Do you struggle to get a consistent voice across your letters and emails? Maybe you know your communications need work but you’re not sure where to start. 

We offer 4 editing services that will make a huge difference to your texts and help your staff approach their writing tasks with confidence and enthusiasm.

In-depth editing

Let us transform your complex documents into simpler, better versions that will delight your readers. 

Our editors do much more than simply edit the words on the page. We also: 

  • restructure your content so it’s easy to absorb
  • enhance the layout so it’s more engaging
  • rewrite the expression for maximum clarity. 

If you are struggling with a complicated research report, a lengthy user manual or a bloated website, we can help.

Template design

Whether it’s letters, reports or briefs, our templates improve the structure and consistency of the content you write every day. 

Our templates help you to structure your material and highlight the key points. This means that your documents don’t just look good, they also communicate effectively, which saves time for readers and writers.
 
We follow your brand guide, use advanced MS Word features and add instructional text so it’s easy for staff to create effective, consistent documents.
 

Writing and style guides

Every organisation needs a writing and style guide to help staff write effectively and consistently. 

They are critical for maintaining quality across all your communications and
ensuring your content keeps pace with contemporary Australian standards. 

Full of practical tips and wise advice, our guides can be tailored to the types of text you work with most often, whether it’s customer correspondence, ministerial briefs or audit reports.

Evaluation services

Do you want to know how to improve your written communications? 

We have developed a suite of evidence-based tools to evaluate your writing and identify areas for improvement. Depending on your material, we can do:

  • a Snapshot assessment
  • an Editorial review
  • an in-depth Verbumetric® analysis.

We give you an objective, detailed report so you know exactly where to focus your attention.

In-depth editing

Our in-depth editing is substantive plain English editing, which transforms the wording, structure and design of your document. We help your readers to find what they need, understand what they find and use that information.

Copyediting is included as part of our in-depth editing service, but is not offered as a stand-alone service. Our editing is substantive – which means that we transform the written expression to make it clear and readable. This usually involves restructuring the text and improving the design so that readers can navigate it easily.

Template design

Templates are standardised MS Word files for when you regularly write the same kind of document, such as a letter, briefing paper or report. They ensure that all documents have the same format, but their layout and instructional text also guide the user on how to write and structure the content.

We build templates in MS Word and they sit within your IT systems. When you open a template, it will create a new document in the required format. With built-in styles to match your branding, you can focus on the content, not the layout. If you generate documents from a database, you can build the template elements into it.

Yes. The best way for users to understand a new template is with a demonstration example. When we prepare a template for you, we usually provide you with an edit of one of your existing documents (de-identified) to show how the new template works. This helps staff to compare the old and the new and adapt more readily to the new approach.

Writing and style guides

A writing guide sets the general writing and style standards for your organisaton. It can focus on plain English principles and techniques or it can advise users on how to approach a particular type of writing, such as correspondence, brief writing or legal drafting.

A style guide commonly covers the elements of written style, such as spelling, capitalisation, numbers, punctuation, formatting and referencing. A writing guide usually focuses on a particular type of content, with specific plain English guidance on content, structure, design and written expression. It may also include a brief section on the most relevant style elements.

If you already have a style guide, we can edit it to bring it in line with modern Australian standards. If you don’t have a style guide, we can offer our Australian Style Package with access to our Australian Style Guide and a short reference document specific to your organisation. Otherwise, we can prepare a customised writing guide to suit your needs.

In the past, organisation style guides were commonly around 30 pages and used mainly by communications staff. Now, style guides are increasingly designed for digital users. They can be as simple as a page of key points. But a more typical style guide includes a short checklist and around 10 pages of supporting content.

Evaluation services

All of our writing assessments apply our Plain English Standard, which is drawn from international best practice for clear communication. The standard covers the plain language criteria for content, structure, design, expression and style, so that your intended audience can find, understand and use the information they need.

We use our Snapshot assessment for single short texts. Editorial reviews are for longer texts (up to 100 pages) or sometimes a set of related materials. Our Verbumetric evaluations assess the writing standards of an entire organisation, and can include hundreds of texts. We’ll advise you on which option is best for you.

Yes. We regularly handle sensitive material, and our service agreement ensures your confidentiality and content are protected. Our strong legal safeguards and document controls allow you to share your documents with confidence. Similarly, our assessment reports are confidential and secure. We de-identify any examples we cite and follow Australian privacy principles.

If you have a long document or a limited budget, a writing assessment will guide you on how best to proceed. Our evaluations are also useful if you need objective, independent evidence to help you persuade stakeholders of the need for a change in your organisation’s approach to writing.

Developed by the Foundation and refined over many years, this is our most comprehensive assessment service. We are the only organisation that offers this quantitative evaluation of writing performance against best-practice plain English indicators. We work with you to map your documents and gather an appropriate sample base. We then assess all the sample documents and give you a comprehensive report. The report includes an analysis of the findings, your overall score, an outline of how to reform your communications and examples to illustrate the benefits of change. 

'I was most impressed with your template super powers. Much appreciated!'

Program officer, professional council

'I love the way you transformed our rough draft into something of clarity and beauty.'

Director, public sector agency

'I was very happy with the way the Foundation clarified and streamlined the text to make it more accessible to a wider audience. We got great value for our investment.'

Project officer, insurance company

'We truly loved the document and the way it was put together. We were so impressed by how you simplified the content.'

Manager, banking industry

'The guide was well tailored to our needs, which means that staff will use it. This makes it priceless!'

Director, legal organisationy

'I really liked that the editors really took their time to understand our organisation and adapt the templates accordingly.'

Manager, state education agency
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