Idea: Plagiarism software is but one piece of the puzzle to prevent and eventually detect plagiarism. PlagScan is a tool for finding similarities between documents. The final decision whether a document contains plagiarism or not has to be made by the user. These guidelines are aimed to help you with working with the (interactive) plagiarism report. For a general approach → see our About Plagiarism section.


Before the Analysis:

Before you run your first plagiarism analysis, it is worth to take a look into the settings. You find a comprehensive overview of the settings by visiting this page:

The most basic questions, you should ask yourself here are:

  • Data policy: With which sources do you want to compare? In particular, if you have several drafts of your documents in your account, you may want to switch off - “compare with your own documents”.
  • Sensitivity: The default is ‘medium’, which we recommend in most cases. If you are rather looking to find any matches (including more false positives) and source out later, you would go for ‘high’ sensitivity. With ‘low’ sensitivity you have the system only show severe cases of plagiarism.
  • Citation detection: PlagScan will mark direct quotations as green. You can decide, in what way you want to have those count towards the total percentage of matches (PlagLevel).
  • Whitelist: If you have certain content, as in specific text phrases or online sources, you can exclude them using the different whitelist options.

Organization users have additional control over the plagiarism checking settings with the global policies and group settings.

→ now you are good to go: upload your documents and start the analysis


After the Analysis:

After PlagScan has finished the analysis of the document, you are presented with a plagiarism report. The first and quickest impression you get from that is the percentage of text, which matches with other documents.

  1. The percentage is the machine’s result, which now requires a human to interpret/evaluate it.
  2. An overview, in which the document matches have been found, we provide you with the ‘PlagBar’, indicating with vertical red stripes the position in the document (just click on the bar, to jump to the respective page within your document)
  3. The findings are displayed using the color code red=direct match, blue=possibly rephrased and green=direct quotation. You have the power to edit the software’s finding by remove marking or marking them as correctly cited/quoted.
    1. Fully red passages: These are 1:1 matches between a source and the analyzed document. In order to decide, whether this is also plagiarism, evaluate accordingly:
      1. Self-plagiarism: If the source is actually from the same author, you may discard the match in terms of plagiarism.
      2. Copycats: Others have actually plagiarized the analyzed document, particularly likely if the source has a later publishing date.
      3. Common phrases/definitions: The software excludes the vast majority of common phrases from the report. The remaining ones shall be excluded manually
      4. Indirect quotations: Sources may be cited correctly, but still be reproduced 1:1. Depending on the policies of the proofreader, these matches may very well not be plagiarism and then be unmarked.
    2. Blue patchwork: This is the result of paraphrasing. If the source is cited, this may also very well be adequate. Whether the level of paraphrasing is sufficient, is to be decided from the human proofreader.
    3. Green: Direct quotations, which are indicated as not originating from the author.
  4. Tips for core features:
    1. Comparison view: If you are to investigate deeper, how a match shows itself in analyzed document and source, we recommend to make use of the ‘Highlight in source’ feature, allowing you to directly compare the matches within each text’s environment.
  5. Beyond the plagiarism report: Plagiarism checkers are not perfect for different reasons. While proofreading a text, it is still recommended looking out for certain particularities e.g. within document changes of above standard use of:
    1. tonality
    2. grammar
    3. loanwords/technical terms
    4. sentence structure
    5. argumentation

Also find an overview of the different types of plagiarism, and additional information by visiting the following page:


Analyzed document - the document uploaded to PlagScan
Source - documents, which have been identified as matching with the analyzed document