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What is online proofing?


We explain what is online proofing, who is best to use online proofing, what are the benefits it brings, and what to look for in the right solution for your organization.

 Does signing off creative work look a little chaotic? It can feel frustrating for everyone. Here’s why.

Without online proofing there is chaos.

Without an online proofing platform, the feedback and approval process to gather signoff on creative work is chaotic.

Stakeholders will find their own methods to ask for changes – printing out the artwork and scribbling change requests, phoning to verbally give instructions, emailing screenshots or poorly marked-up files, hustling to arrange meetings for when everyone is available to discuss creative over screenshare. Not only are these methods cumbersome, time-consuming, and frustrating, but comments and decisions are hard to collate and mistakes are often made.

No compliance. Lost productivity.

In attempts to gain approvals faster, creatives often try to involve fewer stakeholders – which is not ideal for marketing compliance. Voices that represent other areas of the organization won’t be heard due to restricting the number of reviewers involved. They will find alternative ways to give feedback – often after they see material released live.

In all these cases and more, feedback from your team, clients and peers will come from a variety of sources that are unproductive and in most cases unmanageable without a considerable amount of effort.


An online proofing system will eliminate chaos, and give everyone a voice.

Online proofing streamlines and simplifies approvals

Online proofing is where review of files takes place in one place – online. It eliminates feedback chaos. Reviewers can provide markup and comments on a single file, at the same time in real-time. Stakeholder decisions are captured in the same manner and allows reviewers to see who has approved the file, and who has not.

Online proofing is a way to give everyone in your team a voice, harnessing the brilliant diversity of thought within your organization and strengthening every piece of work it creates. By encouraging people to share and consider diverse thinking and unique perspectives – creativity is nurtured.


Review all kinds of creative

Online proofing allows all kinds of creative files – PowerPoint presentations, Adobe InDesign files, Acrobat PDFs, TV commercials, promotional videos, radio ads, websites and splash pages, web banners, documents, budgets in Microsoft Excel, storyboards, imagery, brochures, photography, logos in Adobe Illustrator – to be proofed in the same manner, making it easy for reviewers to look, review, comment, and approve the work.

An online proofing is for everyone, across all industries.

All organizations benefit

Online proofing can be used by any team in any organization to circulate work for review and approval. Typically the teams who see the most benefit of online proofing are those teams who produce large amounts of work – digital creative files, prototype designs, printed collateral, websites, video content, learning management modules, email direct marketing, social media posts, podcast content, and above and below the line advertising.

These teams include: digital design, marketing, web content delivery, UI and UX design, learning content management, inclusive design, event management, app development, internal design, communications, social media, storytelling, strategy, and more.

All industry sectors benefit

No matter what industry you might be working in, online proofing will be a proven tool to achieve many benefits. In particular, industries that require adherence to compliance and necessary audits such as: pharmaceutical, banking, insurance, food and beverage, telecommunications, government and councils, education, and manufacturing, to name a few, will require a formal process to manage approvals on creative work. Security of pre-release materials will be of utmost importance, and a secure, enterprise-ready online proofing solution is a must-have.

Here are some key benefits of online proofing, but there are many more.

PageProof CEO and co-founder Gemma Hurst

Reduced effort

When everyone is commenting on the same file, in real-time, the effort required by all involved to review the proof is reduced, and a higher quality of checking occurs.

There is no need to point out the same change that needs to be made on the proof if you can see immediately that another reviewer has already asked for this. Online proofing means less work for reviewers when many eyes are on the proof.

PageProof user avatar Chris

Improved clarity

Online proofing brings clarity – a single, clearly marked-up set of changes that need to be made. Opinions have been resolved before you’ve been sent a to-do list.

Designers can actually breathe a sigh of relief when they receive a to-do list as no time needs to be spent interpreting.

PageProof user avatar Janson

“Expanded brand knowledge

Online proofing facilitates an increased awareness of what is on and off-brand which spreads company-wide.

Take this example, Mark is asking “please use our black and white logo here” and the designer replies back ”I can’t sorry, our brand guidelines are to use the color logo in our communication pieces”. Now not only does Mark know why the change won’t be made, but other reviewers on the proof are educated as well.

PageProof user avatar Dean

Assured delivery

Online proofing ensures all your creative work gets through – video, websites, web banners, gifs, SVGs, Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple Keynote presentations, design prototypes, Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator files, HTML content… all those tricky file types that need specialized software that reviewers may not have, to open and view.

A cloud-based review and approval system that only requires a browser, will give a seamless experience for everyone to see all your creations.

PageProof user avatar Penny

Fewer versions

A simpler, more enjoyable collaboration experience will mean more feedback is gathered, many more eyes can look over the work to check all manner of content, and ultimately fewer revisions. This translates to cost savings, and time savings right across the organization.

For creative teams being asked to produce even more content in today’s hybrid marketing world, time savings are hugely important to enable even more content to be produced.

PageProof user avatar Rei

No leaks of pre-release material

When sending files attached to emails, control is lost immediately after you push send. Emails can be accidentally, or purposefully, forwarded – that confidential, pre-release marketing material you have spent hours/days/weeks designing can potentially give the upper-hand to a competitor.

Secure, fully-encrypted online proofing gives you visibility of exactly who has seen your work and you control who has access.

PageProof CTO and co-founder Marcus Radich

Marketing compliance

Online proofing gives full workflow control along with audit trails of actions. This level of detail is critical for many industries to provide to auditors and is a key benefit of having a formal process.

From small-medium sized businesses, right through to enterprise-level organizations, all have a need to ensure compliance is met during the sign off process of marketing materials.

How to choose the best online proofing solution?

The right software solution can accelerate the review and approval process of your creative work – saving you time and money, and even leading to more inspirational designs that enhance your brand.

This framework of choosing a simple, smart, seamless, and secure solution will create a guiding path for you. Selecting the right solution means your creative review process is future-proofed. Download the whitepaper today to future-proof your creative review process.