1. Double-Spacing. The biggest common error in preparing text is Double-Spacing at the end of a sentence. This practice is outdated and unnecessary with the result that your designer will be required to “Find & Change” all double spacing with a single space.
2. Multiple Tabs. Use of multiple tabs to indent text to a point where it appears to look good in your word processing software. This is also totally unnecessary and again requires the designer to strip out all multiples and replace with a single tab. So if indenting e.g. where you would like a list or bullet points, only use one tab. The designer will adjust the tab position accordingly. The only exception is when supplying text for the contents of a table (see item 7).
3. Paragraph Returns. A common error is using two (or more) paragraph returns at the end of paragraphs to create spacing, and also using a paragraph return in place of a manual line break. A separate control character called "manual line break" or “soft return” exists for forcing line breaks inside a single paragraph. All that is required is a single paragraph return at the end of each paragraph, and instruct your designer if you require any specific line breaks within a paragraph.
4. Styling the text file. Whilst it’s a good idea to style your document to indicate type hierarchy, provide this as a hard copy (or annotated PDF file) as an indication. There is no need to style the text document to send to your designer for production, unless your have pre-agreed styling titles which correspond to the design style sheets.
5. Hyphens. Using hyphens instead of En or Em Dashes or a minus sign. An em-dash is typically used as a an alternative to a comma or parenthesis to separate out phrases. An en-dash is used to connect values in a range or that are related, e.g. 1939-1945. If you send your designer a plain text document, indicate these on the hard copy. Also indicate any Pi characters, such as mathematical symbols.
6. Spelling. Read and spellcheck for spelling and grammar errors before you send the file. This should not only aid the designer with accurate copy fitting, but will also make proof reading simpler.
7. Text for tables. The best way to supply text for tables is to separate columns with tabs and rows with a paragraph return. This formatting is the standard way to convert text to a table in InDesign.