Your Document Emergency Room

You can count on Copy Doctor to handle your document emergencies! We have the latest, high quality, digital equipment. Our experienced staff is passionate about customer service and will always make the process of designing and printing your materials as efficient and effortless as possible.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Proofready Quiz - Answers

How did you do on last week’s proofreading quiz?

by Stephen Wilbers

In last week’s column, I offered 11 techniques for foolproof proofreading. On the assumption that people learn more effectively when given the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills they are being taught, I included a number of intentional errors in my copy – nine, to be exact – and I invited you to find them.

How did you do? Did get help from a colleague?

Most of the errors were obvious, but some may have been hard to spot. At least one was inconspicuous. I suspect that only the most skilled proofreaders among you found all nine.

Here are the errors as they appeared, beginning with the misspelling in the headline.

Error 1: “How to proofread and never miss a single errror”

That’s an easy one. “Errror” should have a double rather than a triple “r.”

Error 2: “All too often, however, the errors are obvious and painfully embarassing.”

For some odd reason, “embarrass” is correctly spelled with a double “r,” whereas “harass” is spelled with a single “r.” Inconsistencies of this nature were slipped into the English language by unscrupulous lexicographers for the sole purpose of making life difficult for the rest of us. If you’ve ever met an lexicographer, you know how diabolical they can be.

Error 3: “In fairness to the word processor, however, it must be acknowledged that these wonderful machines and their marvelous spell-checking programs have led to a dramatic reduction in mispellings.”

I’m embarrassed by this one. I can’t believe my spell-checker didn’t catch it for me. As I’m sure you noticed, “mispellings” should be spelled “misspellings.” I confess: spelling will always be a mystery to me. And here I was preaching to you about the importance of getting it write.


Error 4: “In other words, affective proofreading is still an important and necessary skill.”

There’s another one! That should be “effective,” which means producing a decisive or desired effect, as opposed to “affective,” which means relating to feelings or emotions. If you have trouble knowing when to use “affect” or “effect,” just memorize this phrase (and note that the two words are in alphabetical order): To affect something, you must have an effect on it. Remember: “Affect” is almost always used as a verb; “effect” is almost always used as a noun. The only common usage for “effect” as a verb is in this phrase: “to effect change.” Otherwise, if you’re looking for a verb, the safe bet is “affect.”

Errors 5, 6, & 7:

“5. Check for consistency in format (in headings, spacing, punctuation, layout, etc.)

7. Watch for common errors (like “it’s” for “its,” or missing quotation marks and parentheses – especially the closing marks.”

There are three errors contained in these two points of advice. If you found the first one, which is hardly noticeable, you are to be commended as a very fine proofreader indeed: Item 5 is the only item in the list that does not end with a period. In addition, the numbering is faulty (number 6 is skipped), and item 7 is missing its closing parenthesis.

Error 8: “Check not only for typographical errors but for common word-processing errors like repeated, missing, repeated, and misplaced text.”

Ah, the electronic gremlin strikes again, leaving a chunk of “repeated” text where it doesn’t belong.

Error 9: “Answers will appear in next weeks column.”

Watch out for apostrophes when forming the possessive. They are easily omitted. In this case, an apostrophe is needed to form the possessive of “week,” as in “next week’s column.”

Well, I hope this little exercise wasn’t too painful for you. But who ever said writing was supposed to be fun, anyway?

By the way, if you want to share any of your favorite horror stories about proofreading errors, I’d love to hear them.

©Stephen Wilbers. Published with permission.

Proofreading quiz

How to proofread and never miss a single errror

by Stephen Wilbers

We all have horror stories we can tell about proofreading errors, about those times when, despite our best efforts, something slipped past our vigilant gaze.

Sometimes these lapses are relatively harmless. Other times, if we’re lucky, our readers don’t even notice. All too often, however, the errors are obvious and painfully embarassing.

Four years ago this May, for example, the University of Wisconsin awarded nearly 4,000 diplomas with the name of the state spelled “Wisconson.” Amazingly, six months passed before anyone noticed and brought it to the University’s attention. “We do proofread the diplomas,” said one official, “but we concentrate on the name and the degree. We usually consider that the standard information is correct. It just didn’t occur to us that this could happen.” But it did happen, and the printing company ended up paying for replacements.

Once during my days as an administrator at the University of Minnesota I was serving on a search committee. Of the more than 130 applications, one stood out. The application letter began with a reference to the position of “associate vice president for student affairs at the University of Minnesota” and concluded with a statement about “the real reason I want to come to the University of Maryland is . . .” The committee members recognized the gaffe as a word-processing error, an illustration of both the power and the risk of electronically produced text, and we had a good chuckle. Needless to say, however, the applicant didn’t get the job.

In fairness to word processors, it must be acknowledged that these wonderful machines and their marvelous spell-checking programs have led to a dramatic reduction in mispellings. No longer is it commonplace, for example, to see “accommodate” spelled with one “m,” “commitment” spelled with a double “t” after the “i,” or that formerly much-abused word, “occurrence,” misspelled three different ways in a single attempt: with one “c,” one “r,” and an “a” rather than an “e.” But even the wizardry of computers won’t prevent you from using the wrong word, correctly spelled – like “effect” when you mean “affect,” or “complement” when you mean “compliment.”

In other words, affective proofreading is still an important and necessary skill. To help you sharpen that skill, I recommend the following techniques:

1. Read slowly and fixate on each word.
2. Sub-vocalize (or, better yet, read out loud).
3. Read one line at a time (try holding a ruler or sheet of paper beneath each line as you read it).
4. When you find an error, reread the entire sentence (for some reason, we tend to assume that a sentence will have no more than one error).
5. Check for consistency in format (in headings, spacing, punctuation, layout, etc.)
6. Watch for common errors (like “it’s” for “its,” or missing quotation marks and parentheses – especially the closing marks.
7. Pay special attention to headings (their authoritative appearance can fool you).
8. Check not only for typographical errors but for common word-processing errors like repeated, missing, repeated, and misplaced text.
9. Have someone who was not involved in the preparation of your text check it over.
10. Because certain errors can be caught more readily by the author, be sure to proofread your own copy when someone else is doing your typing.

Finally – as recommended in 1978 by the National Secretaries Association – “Proofread tomorrow what you worked on today.”

Now, as you have doubtless noticed, this column is studded with errors. I did this intentionally to give you some practice applying the proofreading techniques I am recommending. Not counting “Wisconson” for “Wisconsin,” there are nine – at least, I think that’s how many there are. (Let me know if you find more!) Can you find all nine? Work with a colleague if you like. Answers will appear in next weeks column.

Happy hunting!

©Stephen Wilbers. Published with permission.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy 4th of July

We wish you a very happy and safe 4th of July weekend.  We are celebrating, with you, the Glory of our Nation and the freedom that we share. May your weekend include lots of family, friends, and fun.

Our stores will be closed Saturday, July 2nd -Monday, July 4th.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Are You Using QR Codes?

This is a QR Code.  Your smart-phone has the ability to scan it to take you immediately to a website where you can learn more about our services.  Go to the app store for your phone and search "QR code reader".
What is a QR Code

QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) are the latest in high tech marketing.  Businesses large and small are using them because they are an inexpensive way to direct your customers to your marketing information, or to the information you want them to know and have at their fingertips.  They improve the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns by linking your branded messaging.  They are a call to action that makes the action easier for your customer.  And, they are measurable and track-able, making the return on your marketing investment clear.

You are on the go, and so are your customers.  And your customers are using their smart-phones more and more to gather instant information, and to conduct business.   QR Codes eliminate the need to type in a long web address to get to a website, or to type in your phone number.

A QR Code is scanned with your smart phone camera.   Google “QR Code Reader” to find any number of free (and instantly down-loadable) apps for your phone.  Apple iPhone users will find several Apps available in the App Store.  Then a quick scan with a smart phone camera and you connect print marketing (magazines, postcards, brochures, flyers, product tags, and more) to mobile & online websites (your website, Facebook, Twitter, a special offer, or a product page).  A QR Code printed on your business card can initiate a call from your customer’s mobile phone to you!  It can also create an effortless way for your customer to save your information to their contacts.   You could even create a QR code for every product you sell, linking to that products detail information page.   One recent customer printed a QR Code on their event invitation, linking to a map of the venue.  The choices are endless.

Although used primarily on printed materials, QR Codes can be scanned from a computer screen too.   Try scanning the one above.  It should take you to the Copy Doctor website!

Ways to Use QR Codes

Add them to any print advertising, flyers, posters, invites, etc containing:
  • Product details
  • Maps to events or of a venue
  • Contact information
  • Event details
  • Special Offers
  • Twitter page
  • Facebook page
  • LinkedIn page
  • Website
  • Real Estate Listing Details
  • You Tube video link
  • Customer Surveys
  • Grow your mailing list
Tips for Getting Started

Design your marketing program, or print piece, and determine where you want your QR Code to take your customer.  Create your own QR Code at one of the many FREE QR Code Creator websites.  Just Google “QR Code Generator”.  Want help with this, just ask us!

Remember, this is NEW technology, and many of your customers don’t have a clue about it yet.  Educate them ON your marketing piece by telling them what a QR Code is and what they should do with it, like we did below our code above.

One final thing to remember; anything that helps drive traffic to your website helps you increase your sites ranking with search engines.  There is no “pay per click” with QR Codes.  Since you are already investing in print material, add a QR Code without adding any additional cost.  Call us today, and let us help you!

Friday, June 3, 2011

We love getting new stuff!!

Our New Toy!
Don't you? We just installed a NEW HP Designjet L25500 Printer!  It is the coolest thing.  Oh, the possiblilities! 

This machine uses UV resistant, eco-solvent inks, which reduce the impact of printing on the environment.  What this means for you is that your banners will hold up indoors or outdoors.  The ink wont run or fade.  Rain?  No problem! 

It prints up to 60 inches wide.  Need a 5ft tall banner?  No problem!

The colors are amazingly vivid.  

Retractable Banner $295 

We are so excited that we are offering 50% OFF vinyl banners for the entire month of June.

Call us today!  281-482-7500

Friday, May 27, 2011

Don, Rex and staff wish you a relaxing and memorable Memorial Day weekend!

© Alan Crosthwaite
Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer.  For the kids anxious for school to end, or staff who has been cooped up in the office, it is a welcomed break.  We hope you are headed out for a weekend retreat, a camping trip, or just to your own backyard to grill and hang out. 

But Memorial Day is, most importantly, a time for Americans everywhere to remember all those brave men and women who have given their lives for our liberty.  Don’t forget to stop and take a moment to honor their service to our country.

We will be closed on Monday, May 30th, so our staff can observe the day too.

We wish you a safe and relaxing Memorial Day Weekend.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Better Business Bureau Recognizes Copy Doctor with the Awards for Excellence Pinnacle Award

Copy Doctor received the Pinnacle Award at the Better Business Bureau Awards for Excellence luncheon held Wednesday, May 4 at the InterContinental Houston Near the Galleria.  This was Copy Doctor’s fourth time to be recognized by the BBB for service excellence.
The BBB Awards for Excellence recognizes businesses and non-profits for their achievements and commitment to overall excellence and quality in the workplace.  Proceeds from the event help fund the BBB Education Foundation which educates consumers about scams and fraudulent business practices in the Greater Houston area.
 Accepting the award for Copy Doctor was Sondra Broussard, Commercial Account Manager.  “This is a very nice accolade for our entire staff.  I am thrilled to take it back and share it with them,” said Broussard. 
When asked what it means to Copy Doctor to receive this recognition, Don Sowa, President of the locally owned and operated company said, “We work hard to provide top notch service to our customers and it is an honor to be recognized for our efforts.”
Copy Dr., Inc. is a locally owned and operated full service document solution center serving customers in publishing, healthcare, advertising, retail, technology, financial services, home based businesses, non-profit organizations, and many other industries.  The company has two locations, 3814 Bissonnet at Law Street, and 1101 S. Friendswood Dr., in Friendswood, TX. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday, February 25, 2011

Do you Need to Bleed?

On of the most often used element of design is a bleed.  What is a bleed?  It is any part of your graphics that comes right off the edge of your page.

Just like your home printer, all of our copy machines and presses leave a white margin on the paper.  To achieve a bleed, we must use paper which is larger than your finished size.  For example, an 11x17 print with a bleed must be printed on 12x18 paper, and then cut down to 11x17.  Including a bleed in your design will usually increase the cost of your print job, but materials printed with bleeds are simply more visually attractive and professional looking than materials printed without bleeds.

Art with Crop Marks.  The area outside the dotted line will be trimmed.
The secret to success with your design that will bleed is to place the elements so that they overlap the border edge of your page by ¼ inch.   Then, when you create your PDF file that you will send to us for printing, use the option to show printer marks or crop marks.  Most design software has this capability.  You will not see the crop marks until you open the exported PDF file.

If you are using design software that does not have this option, design your document ½ inch taller and wider than the finished page will be.  For example, if you want your document to be 8.5x11 after it is printed and trimmed, design it 9x11.5, making sure there is no text or necessary image in the additional .25 inch margin.

Finished art after trimming.
After we finish cutting down your prints, none of the printer marks or crop marks will be visible.  You will simple have a beautiful, high-quality print.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Great Tips from iStockphoto on Image Enlargements

Great advice copied from monthly Tip email from

During more than a few episodes of crime shows like CSI, you can observe "experts" take a grainy, low-res photo, press a few buttons and magically create a crisp blown-up version that clearly shows who the bad guy is.

This is, of course, patently ridiculous.

The magic "clean it up" button has no basis in reality. If you upscale an image you will always lose quality. This is because when you upscale an image, either you're increasing the size of each pixel or you're adding new pixels that your computer more or less has to guess at. If you need a larger image, your best bet is to buy an one that's already big enough. Unfortunately, that's not always an option, so let's take a look at how to minimize the damage when you have to upscale.

In Photoshop, click on "Image > Image Size" in the menu. Under the "Document Size" section, you can modify the size of your image by inputting new values into the width and height boxes. For best results, increase by a percentage instead of using exact dimensions. Also, it's generally believed you can optimize the results by increasing the image size through multiple smaller increments instead of a single large one. If you need to boost the image to 150% of the original size, try doing it 10% at a time (or even 1% — create an Action in Photoshop to speed the process along). This way you can monitor the quality loss as the image grows, and determine exactly when enough is enough.
It's important to make sure your image resampling is set to "Bicubic Smoother," which is more clearly marked in the latest version of Photoshop as being "best for enlargement."
If you're planning on printing the image when you're done, the professional standard resolution is 300 ppi. However, you can usually get away with 240 ppi, and if your project doesn't need perfectly crisp images upon close inspection, you can get it down as far as 200 ppi. (If you're just printing personal photos to stick to your fridge, 140 ppi might even be enough for you.) This cheating can score you precious size for your upscale.
You can try to hide problems that do arise in the boosted image through a combination or sharpening and blurring filters, though there's no hard and fast rules as to what works, so it will require some trial and error on your part.

Finally, if you're enlarging the image for large-format printing, keep in mind that if the poster or banner is being viewed from a distance, a lot of the defects (especially blurriness) won't be readily visible. Basically, if there's some physical distance between the image and the viewer, the upscaling is a lot more forgiving.

Hopefully this will help you get the most out of upscaling. Again, it'll never be perfect. It's just not possible. At least not until those CSI "clean it up" machines become a reality. 

Copyright © 2010 iStockphoto LP. All rights reserved. iStockphoto®, iStock®, iStockaudio®, iStockvideo®, iStockalypse™, Vetta® and CopySpace® are trademarks of iStockphoto LP. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Can you print responsibly? Let us help you!

We all want to be good stewards of our resources. Right?  And can you consider the environment, your Green Initiatives, and still use printing in your business or organization?  The answer is YES!  And here is how:
• Be smart in your design saving paper, ink and money; use standard paper sizes, avoid bleeds that require trimming and paper waste, and limit ink usage by avoiding large solids.

• Utilize our “Print on Demand” document services. Print only what is needed - when you need it. This eliminates unneeded pages, the expense of printing storage, and allows you to revise the content as required.

• Proof your job online whenever possible to save the time and gas of driving to the shop, and the cost and waste of printing a proof.

• Drive traffic to your website, blog, twitter account, or Facebook page with your printed pieces, making the most efficient use of multiple communication medias.

• Use recycled papers whenever possible. If 100% recycled costs too much, shoot for 30% post-consumer waste. List this fact on your printed piece. Copy Doctor carries a large selection of recycled papers.
Our paper salesman uses this statement on the bottom of his emails:
Notice: It is OK to print this email. Paper is a biodegradable, renewable, sustainable product made from trees. Growing and harvesting trees provides jobs for millions of men and women, and working forests are good for the environment, providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat and carbon storage. When you don't need it anymore, be sure to put it in a bin designated for recycling, and it will come back to us as new paper or paperboard!
He is sort of a comic, but what he says is true.  You CAN print responsibly!