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Correcting proofs with Adobe

Image: Using Adobe

Taylor & Francis offer you a choice of options to help you make corrections to your proofs. The PDF proof files have been enabled so that you can mark up the proof directly. If you use this method, please do not also send corrections by email or using the CATS correction form. This helps us make sure that all your corrections are included.

If you have Acrobat/Reader XI or later, please ensure that all corrections are marked up using the Annotations tools in the Commenting pane and not via the Edit Text and Images pane. Any edits that are made directly to the PDF proofs using this method will not be visible to us and cannot therefore be incorporated into the final published article. Taylor & Francis cannot be held responsible for any corrections that were not included due to PDF proofs being edited in this way.

PLEASE NOTE: The CATS system only supports Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome browser software. If you have upgraded to the latest version of your browser and it does not appear to be fully supported, please set it to use compatibility mode for the CATS website. Please check the Troubleshooting section for guidance.

If you are using a different browser or an operating system other than Windows, these instructions may not be relevant. In this instance, if you are having difficulties, please contact the CATS Helpdesk.

Some frequently asked questions have been answered below, but if you have any suggestions for other useful information we could provide, please contact our Author Services department.

Frequently asked questions

How can I check that my computer is set up correctly?
Check which version of Adobe Acrobat/Reader you have on your computer. You can do this by opening the program, clicking on the "Help" tab, and then "About".

If Adobe Reader is not installed, you can get the latest version free from

If you have Adobe Acrobat/Reader 10 or a later version, click on the "Comment" link at the right-hand side to view the Commenting pane. If you initially only see the Comment categories, click on "Annotations" to expand the menu.

Commenting functionality is available from Adobe Reader 8.0 onwards and from Adobe Acrobat 7.0 onwards. The Troubleshooting section contains directions for accessing the user guides for these software versions.

Acrobat/Reader XI and later include an Edit Text and Images pane. Any edits that are made directly to the PDF proofs using this method will not be visible to us and cannot be incorporated into the final published article. Please ensure that all corrections are marked up using the Annotations tools in the Commenting pane.

How can I mark up corrections in the text?
Almost all the tools you need to mark up text in Acrobat Reader are contained in the default "select" tool which you can see in the top left of the screen.

With the select tool selected, click and drag to select the text you wish to edit. With the text selected:

Image: select tool
Image: Undo mistakes
  • Press "delete" or "backspace" to mark the text for deletion. This is shown by a red line struck through the text in question.
  • Press "insert" to replace the text. This will mark the text with a blue line struck through it and a small blue insertion caret, and open a pop-up box for you to type the replacement text into.
  • Alternatively, you can right-click on the selected text for a variety of options.

Highlight Text highlights the selected text, which is helpful when marking out multiple occurrences of a correction. Cross Out Text and Replace Text perform the same function as the "insert" and "delete" keys respectively. Add Note to Text highlights the text and opens a pop-up for you to type a note into. (This is useful for marking out text which needs to be formatted differently, i.e., in italics). Look Up "word" connects you to an online dictionary.

You can also click in the document with the select tool to produce a movable cursor similar in appearance to the typing cursor in Word or Outlook, and movable using the same keys. If you press "Insert" then it will create an insertion caret (and pop-up) where the typing cursor is so you can add text there. You can also use delete and backspace to delete text from the position of the cursor.

The right-click menu works without text selected as well: if the typing cursor is visible you will have the option to "Add Text" at the Cursor which lets you insert text where the typing cursor is (not the mouse pointer). This opens the Typewriter tool, creating a new text box at this place in the document. More generally you can right-click anywhere and select "Add Sticky Note" which adds a note in the place where you right-clicked.

Alternatively, text editing tools may also be selected from the Comment pane, which is found on the top left. From here you can select options for deleting, replacing and highlighting text that you have selected, in addition to inserting sticky notes or attaching individual files within the PDF.

Image: Comment pane

How should I insert or replace text?
If you wish to replace text, select the portion of text that you wish to remove, and press the Insert button. This will cross out the old text and launch the Insert text box.

The Comments pane will then display this as one correction. When inserting or replacing text, you will be typing into a pop-up box that appears when you press Insert.

You can close the box by clicking the minimize symbol in the top-right and open it again by single-clicking on the correction in the text (the strikethrough or caret). See example (right).

Image: Undo mistakes

The text in the box should only be what you want to see inserted. However, sometimes you will need to clarify inserted text or add some additional commentary. This should be done in a square-bracketed statement added after short corrections or before longer ones - for the sake of clarity, put a blank line between the commentary and the actual correction. See example (right).

Image: Undo mistakes

The text you type into the box can be made bold, italic, underlined, superscript or subscript just as if you were typing in any other application. You can select the word and right-click, then select "Text Style" on the menu that pops up, then select your chosen option; or you can use the following keyboard shortcuts:

  • Ctrl + I = italic
  • Ctrl + B = bold
  • Ctrl + U = underline
  • Ctrl + Plus = subscript
  • Ctrl + Shift + Plus = superscript

You can also copy and paste text from and into the blue boxes. What you type in the blue box will be reproduced exactly. Please check it for spelling mistakes!

How do I stop deleting and replacing running together?
When trying to delete or replace multiple pieces of text with only a small gap between them, Adobe may join the deletions together over anything in between. For example, if you are trying to turn "(a)" into "a" then if you delete each parenthesis individually Acrobat will extend the deletion to cover the "a" as well. It may be best to select the whole section that you want to change and do a single replace rather than several small deletions.

How do I add spaces?
Acrobat has a built-in indicator to show when all that is needed is an added space. If you just hit insert, then the space bar, then click elsewhere or close the pop-up box, you'll get the caret-underscore symbol shown on the left in this example:

Image: Undo mistakes

The example on the right is a more certain way of getting the correction you want.

How do I add hyphens and dashes?

Unlike Word, Acrobat/Reader do not automatically distinguish between dashes of various lengths. When inserting dashes, use one for a hyphen (-), two for an en-dash (–), and three for an em-dash (—). If the dash should be spaced, add spaces either side.

You can also add clarification each time, just to make sure.

Image: Undo mistakes

How should I delete a hyphen?
Deleting hyphens and other conjoining elements can be problematic. To avoid uncertainty, it is best to replace the whole construction rather than just delete the hyphen.
For example:

Image: Undo mistakes

How do I add paragraph breaks?
Like spaces, paragraph breaks have their own symbol. If you just press insert, then enter, then close the box, you’ll get the symbol on the left. A more certain method is shown on the right.

Image: Undo mistakes

How do I add uncommon symbols?
There are three ways:

  1. If you know the Alt-key shortcut for an uncommon letter or symbol, you can type that into the box and the symbol will appear as it should. For example, Ctrl+Alt+4 will produce a Euro (€) symbol or Alt-142 will produce Ä.

  2. Open Word, click on the Insert tab, and then "Symbol" on the right-hand end of the toolbar. Find the symbol you want and double-click it to insert it into the blank Word document. Then select the symbol in Word, copy it, and paste it into the text box in Acrobat/Reader. If you need to use the symbol again you can copy and paste from within Acrobat/Reader.

  3. If you know the LaTeX code for a symbol ("\alpha" for "α", for example) you can use that and the symbol will be correctly inserted before publication.

How do I change the format of the text?
If you want to change the format of text, select the text you want to modify, then "Add Note to Text" from the right-click menu. Then write your instruction in the pop-up box:

You can put any instruction in there that applies to the highlighted text: make it bold, change the font, change the font size, etc.

Image: Undo mistakes

How can I make changes to the layout?
Layout changes are best handled by sticky notes with detailed instructions. Other useful tools for enacting layout changes are the line, box, and arrow tools which can be found in the "Drawing Markups" section of the Comment sidebar. Remember you can use Ctrl-Z or delete the markups if you make any mistakes.

How can I make changes to figures?
You cannot make changes directly to figures – any modifications should be marked on to the relevant figure(s) with sticky notes. This includes occasions when figures are replaced: a note with the instruction "replacement figure X" tells us to look for the replacement figure which you have uploaded with your corrections.

Adobe XI includes a tool to replace figures directly, but these changes will not be visible to us: please do not use it.

Is there an easy way to make many similar corrections?
In cases where you want to make the same correction a great number of times - bolding the letter R where it appears in mathematical formulas, for example - you can place a single sticky note on the first page of the article with the instruction "Make R bold where highlighted" and then highlight each occurrence of R where it should be bold. This is much faster than issuing a separate instruction for each instance.

If you have Adobe XI installed, then a ‘Find and replace’ text option is available via the Find tool. We strongly advise that you do not use this; any changes to words or phrases made using this tool will not be visible to us.

Can I add my corrections to those of a co-author?
If you are sharing the proof correction process with a colleague, you can add further corrections of your own or you can select, delete, and/or edit their changes if you need to. If one author has used a non-Adobe product to add their comments to a PDF, you will need to copy these across manually, e.g. by using sticky notes. Otherwise, you can follow the instructions below to automate the collation process.

How can I collate corrections from multiple sources?
If you receive corrections on the same PDF from multiple authors:

  1. Open one version of the paper. In the Comment sidebar, open the Comments List panel and select the button on the far right (labelled "options" if you hover the mouse over it). You should get the following drop-down menu.

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Click "Export All to Data File" and save the file somewhere easy to find, such as your desktop.

  1. Close that PDF and open the second one. In the same menu, click "Import Data File" and select the file you just saved. Now all of your corrections are in one place. (You can delete the data file now, as you do not need it any longer.)

Note: If the same thing is flagged in multiple sets of corrections Acrobat will "overlap" them in the final collected document. To avoid any confusion, it is best to check through any PDF you’ve collated in this way to make sure all the corrections still make sense.

How do I return multiple correction files?
If you wish to return multiple files (.e.g replacement artwork and a marked-up PDF), you will need to zip them together to upload them to CATS. If you have more than one correction file, you will need to zip the files together and then upload the zipped file to CATS in order to ensure that all of the files are received by Production.

Instructions on how to zip files together can be found here for Windows and here for Mac (OS X Lion).

How can I make the comment bar move?
If you find the text in the comment list is too small to read, but you still want to use it, click the Edit menu, then Preferences, then select "Commenting" from the menu. In the middle of the options list is a box that says "Hide comment pop-ups when Comments List is open." Make sure this is unchecked. Now, whenever you click a comment in the comment list Acrobat will jump to the matching entry in the document and open the pop-up, allowing you to read it in a larger font.

With Acrobat XI, it is possible to detach the Comments List from the Comments pane, and then resize and reposition it to better suit your working preferences. To do this, go to "Comment", then "Comments List", and select "Undock Comment List" from the Options menu. When you next undock the list, Acrobat will remember the last size and position you used.

Note: If the text in the pop-up boxes is also too small, you can change the font and size in the same Edit-Preferences-Commenting screen. If you do this, you may wish to set the larger size as default. If you right-click on a comment for which you have changed the font and size, then select Make Current Properties Default, all new mark-ups that you make of that type will use your chosen settings.

How can I undo my mistakes?
Click to select the correction. You should see the dashed blue highlight box as illustrated here.

Then push the delete key. That removes the whole thing. Note that the backspace key doesn't work for removing corrections: it has to be the delete key. Alternatively, right-click on the correction and select delete.

Image: Undo mistakes

I find looking at the screen tiring. Is there anything I can do about this?
If you are concerned about glare or eye-strain while editing proofs on screen, you can tone down the whiteness of the PDFs. Click the Edit menu, then Preferences, then select the "Accessibility" option. Go to "Document Colors Options." Check the box "Replace Document Colors" and you will have a number of options to change the color of the background and the text. These changes are not made to the PDF: they are purely display options that affect how your computer presents the document.

Make sure the "Only change the color of black text or line art" box is unchecked. Otherwise the text may not change color.

These options may not display properly in PDFs that contain a lot of artwork; it will not work at all within scanned PDFs with hand-written corrections.

Good practice

  • It is not necessary to highlight corrected text, add sticky notes, or add arrows to flag up corrections that you have marked up using the Insert/Delete tools. These will clearly display within the Comments pane.
  • Please contact the journal’s production editor if you have any queries about your proofs; do not incorporate these queries into your corrections. You should work with the production editor to resolve them before returning your corrections.
  • If you wish to return multiple correction files (e.g. replacement artwork and a marked-up PDF), you will need to zip them together to upload them to CATS.
Please see the Checking proofs page for detailed instructions on how to check your proofs.

Acrobat help
Reader help
Full user guides for earlier versions of these programs are available from the Adobe Help pages by clicking on the link "Previous versions" under the "Help and tutorials" heading from the relevant link above. Commenting functionality is available from Adobe Reader 8.0 onwards and from Adobe Acrobat 7.0 onwards. Guides for Mac users are also available

Internet explorer users: If you are using the latest version of Internet Explorer and are having difficulties using CATS, it may be necessary to use compatibility mode. Please see the Windows support website for instructions on adding the CATS website to a list of pages for which to use this.

Firefox users: Firefox’s inbuilt PDF Viewer is set to the default; for instructions on how to use this and to download the PDF to your hard drive please see the Mozilla support website.

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