I started by spell-checking each column on a letter by letter basis: the As, the Bs, the Cs... It really demanded added concentration because I had to check each column, row by row. And the content of each column is very distinct from the another: English word followed by the corresponding Portuguese sound followed by the meaning(s) in Portuguese.
At the end of the letter E, I decided to change my strategy, hoping to simplify it. First I copy-pasted all the English words into a separate Excel sheet and did a spell-check... Done! Any editing was also inserted in the master sheet.
Finally, I copy-pasted the meanings of all the words of that same letter in another sheet and carefully spell-checked each word myself, because I don't have a Portuguese dictionary in my software. :-(
This seemed like a good strategy. It worked well. There may be others, of course, but it was the first time that I was doing this type of proofreading, so I had to decide what felt more efficient, easier and practical.
As you can imagine, I had to be 100% focused on each part I dealt with. It was kind of looking at each word of each column through a magnifying glass. I took regular breaks in order to disconnect or distance myself for a few minutes, which seemed to help me notice typos more easily. Naturally, this doesn't guarantee that there won't be any.
It took me weeks to proofread the dictionary. Every time I thought I had finished, I’d notice some mistake that would make me go over several other similar things that could also be incorrect.
Then came the final part of the formatting. When I finished the intro in English and Portuguese, I converted each file to pdf and merged the three files into one in Acrobat Pro (the free trial).
When I previewed it, several things weren't right with the dictionary file. Only two columns, not three, showed in the page. The third one showed in a separate page. Noooo!!! Besides, the file had double the number of pages. Of course! So I had to find the right page layout fit. First I tried landscape, but it was totally different from the portrait layout of the intro. Then I tried changing the right and left column width. It worked. The three columns showed.
In addition to all this, there were spaces between rows where there shouldn't be. I had to go over the whole file in Print Preview (close to 80 pages) and format many cells. There was always something wrong, so it took about four runs of the entire file to apparently get it right. Notice that I say "apparently". ;-)
What does this mean? That the user of my e-dictionary will need to help me. Be very observant and get back to me about typos and whatever else may not be right. I promise to update the document and upload a new version.
Remember, this was a one-woman job! As much as I tried to totally concentrate when proofreading, something is bound to be overlooked. I hope the user is tolerant of unintentional typos and formatting mistakes.