How Do You Compare Two Documents?

Microsoft Word: Review and Compare Documents

When many people work together, there may be problems with different versions of the same document as it is edited in different offices. How do you compare two documents? How do you combine different versions?

Before You Begin : Create Two Similar Files

This lesson works if you have two versions of the same document: the one you changed and the original report that you started with. In this example, several changes were made to the original report. The version with the changes is open.

Do This, First: Save the Changed File
Go to File-> Save As
Type a new file name: Charlotte Quarterly Report EAN, where EAN are your initials.

Do This: Open a Copy of the Original File
Go to File->Open.
Browse to the Documents folder.
Select: Charlotte Quarterly Report 2013.docx

1. Try it: Compare two documents
Go to Review ->Compare.
Click on Compare.

Keep going…

Compare and Merge

2. Try This: Select Two Documents

The process begins by selecting the two documents that you want to compare. Click on the yellow folder icon to browse and open the similar documents.

The original document is on the left. The revised document is on the right. You can label the changes with the name of the author if you wish.

Comparison Settings: You can Show or Hide the Comparison settings by clicking on the button that says: More or Less.

What Do You See? You have the option to show the changes in the Original document, a Revised document or a New document.

Select New Document.

Click OK. Keep going…

The Reviewer’s Desktop

3. Try This: Review the New Document
There should be a New document. It may have the name Compare Result 1.

What Do You See? On the left side of the screen is a summary of the revisions. There are 18 revisions in this example.

The Revisions Task Pane is similar to the Navigation Pane when you use Styles. You can use the items listed in the Revisions Pane to go to the matching sections in the new Compared Document.

The revisions are also linked to the same material in the Source documents on the right, so that you can see the information in context of the rest of the document.

Keep going…

Show Source Documents

At first, the screen may appear very busy. On the left you should see the Reviewing pane. You should see the original Source documents in little windows on the right side.

4. Try This: Show Source Documents
Go to Review->Compare.
Click on Show Source Documents.

What Do You See? You can Show or Hide the Source Documents as you compare the original and the revisions.

The options include:
Hide Source Document
Show Original
Show Revised
Show Both

Select: Hide Source Documents.

Keep going…

Track Changes

You can Track the changes in the new comparison document, “Compare Results,” if you wish. Here are the steps.

5. Try This: Track Changes
Go to Review-> Tracking.
Click on Track Changes.

What Do You See? In this example, the text has been deleted and new text added.

What Else Do You See? At the top of the Revisions Pane, there is an Update button. When you click on Update Revision Count, Word scans your document and counts the new revisions.

Keep going….

Review the Comments

6. Try This: Review the Comments
Go to Review-> Comments-> Next.

What Do You See? Everyone’s Comments are also listed in the Revisions Pane. You can use the Next and Previous Comments to skip to a specific part of the document.

Keep going…

Save the Revisions

Before You Begin: Accept (or Reject) the sample changes that you Tracked. Review the Comments and delete them.

When the review is done, please save a copy of this revised document.

7. Try This: Save Your Revisions
Go to File->Save.
Location: Documents
Name: Charlotte’s Quarterly Report Revised EAN, where EAN are your initials.

Done and Done. Please Close all documents.

Here is a video on YouTube that shows these steps and more:

So, Did it Work? These tools should be very useful as you compare and review your documents. Please let me know if I answered your question.


Elizabeth Nofs, the Computer Mama

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