Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 2007, 2010, and 2013. 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 June 29, 2013)

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, and 2013. 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

Backwards Date Parsing

Enter information into a worksheet, and you come to anticipate (and count on) how Excel will interpret that information and ...

Discover More

Conditionally Formatting for a Pattern

Conditional formatting is a great tool you can use to customzie your worksheets. When you want to test whether a value in a ...

Discover More

Displaying a Number as Years and Months

How do you display a number of years, such as 3.67 years, as a number of years and months? It's simple to do with a formula, ...

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)

Inserting Different Dashes

Dashes have a lot of different uses in writing. Word supports three types of dashes, as discussed in this tip.

Discover More

Speeding Up Cursor Movement

If you use the arrow keys to move the insertion point through the document, you may have noticed that it can be slow going at ...

Discover More

Smart Quote after Em Dash Faces Wrong Direction

When using smart quotes in your typing, Word tries its best to figure out which way the quote you just typed should face. ...

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 one more than 9?

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.