Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. If you are using an earlier version (Word 2003 or earlier), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for earlier versions of Word, click here: Comparing Documents Top and Bottom.

Comparing Documents Top and Bottom

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 1, 2020)

Tina often needs to visually compare documents containing reviewers' comments. Word's "Compare Side-by-Side" feature works well for synchronous scrolling, but because the windows are vertically side-by-side, Tina can't see the comment balloons unless she shrinks the document to a zoom size that is too small to be usable. Tina wonders if there is a way to set the "Compare Side-by-Side" feature to use horizontal rather than vertical windows.

There is no way to make the feature use horizontal windows, but you can set up your system so that document comparison works just fine with horizontal windows. Follow these general steps:

  1. Open the two documents you want to compare.
  2. Make sure the View tab of the ribbon is displayed.
  3. In the Window group, choose the View Side by Side tool. Word displays both documents side by side.
  4. In the Window group, click Arrange All. Word now arranges the two windows horizontally.
  5. If it is not already enabled, click Synchronous Scrolling in the Window group.

That's it; both documents now scroll together, but in a horizontal layout. Just remember that when you use the Compare Documents Side by Side command, the two windows are just that—regular windows. This means that you can rearrange them or resize them as desired.

Which brings us to what may be the most satisfying long-term solution: Using two monitors with Windows. If you get two monitors and place them side-by-side, you can configure Windows so that it considers both monitors a single desktop. With so much horizontal room, you can compare two documents in Word in such a way that one document is on the left monitor and the other on the right. For those who do quite a bit of comparing, this is the optimal solution.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5962) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Office 365. You can find a version of this tip for the older menu interface of Word here: Comparing Documents Top and Bottom.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Turning Off Screen Updating

When working with macros, you can often speed up processing by turning off the updating of the screen. Best news is that ...

Discover More

ExcelTips: The Macros (Special Offer)

ExcelTips: The Macros is the definitive reference on how to use macros in Excel. You can stay at the top of your ...

Discover More

Deleting Additional Clocks

Windows can display up to three separate clocks so you can keep track of what time it is in various time zones. If you ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Selecting an Entire Paragraph

Paragraphs are an elemental building block for documents. This tip explains the different ways you can select entire ...

Discover More

When to Hyphenate Your Document

Want to add a finishing touch to your printed document? Hyphenating the words in the document can make your text read ...

Discover More

Quickly Moving Text with the Mouse

Drag-and-drop editing is a handy feature when you love to use the mouse. There are two ways you can move text using the ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is three less than 4?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the ribbon interface (Word 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.