Tip of the week # 623
28 September 2020

Spot the difference between two documents (Microsoft Word) *

Like lots of companies I recently had to change my business plans. Not what I had expected to do, but you have to adapt and pull yourself together and develop easy to understand and fun ways to tackle time-consuming and frustrating day-to-day tasks ... using webinars. Over the recent months lots of people told me that one of the best Word tips was about comparing two copies of a document. At the time it was written (May 2005) the steps applied to version 2000; so time to dust it off and write how to spot the differences between two documents using Word 2007 onwards.

Here's how:

  1. Open the documents that you want to compare. (Not really necessary, but I find that the easiest way.)
  2. On the Review tab, in the Compare group, click Compare.
  3. Select Compare from the drop-down list.
  4. Select the first version from the drop-down arrow under Original document.
  5. Select the modified document from the Revised document drop-down list.
  6. Click OK.

A new third document will list all modifications as tracked changes and the two documents that were compared are unchanged.

If you want to compare changes from a number of versions, select Combine rather than Compare in step 3. (Note to oneself ... write a tip about this at some point.)

Related tips

  1. Quickly spot whether change tracking is on or off - tip_586.php
  2. Warn before printing, saving or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments - tip_584.php
  3. Show changes and comments inline instead of in balloons - tip_514.php
  4. Make reviewer names anonymous - tip_449.php
  5. Inspect your document for tracked changes - tip_385.php
  6. Remove - not just hide - tracked changes - tip_381.php
  7. Comparing two copies of a document - tip_112.html

* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.