5 Essential Tools For Tech Editors

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1. A WAY OF ANNOTATING PDFS

Some designers may want you to work with a text editor but I find that working that way leads to a lot of compatibility issues. (Don’t ask me about the time I sent a file to a client and all the commas disappeared when she opened it!) Evernote is my preferred software but you do have to pay for the premium service. The other option that I love is iAnnotate. This is an app for iPhones and iPads — great for if you like to edit on the go!

WORD OF WARNING: If you use an Adobe product to annotate PDFs your notes may not show up when the designer opens it in a different program. There are usually ways to “flatten” the notes to avoid this problem and something you should definitely test out with a friend first!

2. A WAY OF TRACKING TIME

I am a massive fan of the pomodoro technique. I think this works great for managing your workflow because it’s so simple. If you have to give a time estimate I think it’s really easy to underestimate but judging how many chunks of time it’ll take gives a more reasonable estimate. So I give each editing job an estimate in terms of pomodoros and then I look at how much time do I have to work on editing jobs each day. This helps me estimate which jobs I can fit in and when. I then time myself (you can use a timer on your phone or a special pomodoro app) and see how accurate I was. This also lets me know how much time to bill the client for!
TIP: Make sure to include the time it takes to email the designer in your estimate, even if you don’t bill them for this time.

3. A WAY OF INVOICING

I send all my invoices using Paypal and this works fine for me. I simply download my reports every month and add my income into my financial spreadsheet. If you want something with a bit more functionality, a service like Harvest can work great.

4. A WAY TO MAKE CHARTS

If offering charts is something you want to do then Stitchmastery is the way to go. It’s a highly respected chart making software used by many knitting magazines and book publishers. The nice thing about Stitchmastery is that it generates the written instructions for the charts which is super handy. It also exports the charts to a wide variety of formats including .SVG and .PDF.

5. A WAY TO MAKE SCHEMATICS

Offering to make schematics for designers is another service you might want to consider (and something that can be required if you work with yarn companies or magazines). You can use programs like Adobe Illustrator, but in this case there is an excellent free alternative —Inkscape. I have a tutorial here on how to use Inkscape to make schematics or you can purchase my bundle of premade schematics which you are welcome to use with clients. (You will of course have to learn how to modify and tweak them to fit the design but they serve as a good starting point.)

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