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 Document Versions.

Comparing Document Versions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated June 20, 2019)

3

Word includes a tool that allows you to compare two documents to each other. The document in memory is marked with revision marks to indicate the changes from the document on disk. You perform a comparison in this manner:

  1. Display the Review tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click the Compare tool and then choose Compare. Word displays the Compare Documents dialog box.
  3. Click the More button, if it is available. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Compare Documents dialog box.

  5. At the top-left of the dialog box, click the file-folder icon to select your first file.
  6. At the top-right of the dialog box, click the file-folder icon to select your second file.
  7. Change the comparison settings, if desired.
  8. Click OK.

When the comparison is done, Word shows the original documents and the compared document, which contains revision marks (using familiar Track Changes markup) to indicate what has changed.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9296) 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 Document Versions.

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

Alternative Ways of Creating Random Text

You can use a built-in Word feature (RAND) to create random text, but such text may not be to your liking. This tip ...

Discover More

Aligning Borders with the Page Margins

Add a border to a paragraph and you may find that it extends to the left and right of the regular text margins. To pull ...

Discover More

Selecting Drawing Objects

Excel allows you to create all sorts of drawings using a wide assortment of tools. When you need to take an action upon ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (ribbon)

Moving Master and Subdocuments

If you need to move master documents or subdocuments from one place to another on your computer, you have to keep in mind ...

Discover More

Word Count is Zero

If you use the Word Count tool and are surprised that it returns a count of 0, it could be because of what you selected ...

Discover More

Creating Multiple Highlighter Tools

Some people, while developing documents, like to use the Highlighter tool quite a bit. It can quickly get monotonous, ...

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 1 + 3?

2019-06-20 16:23:35

Lilli Hausenfluck

Max, You can create some "dummy" documents, I call mine 01doc and 02doc (the numbers keep them at the top of the list when browsing), and store them on your desktop or some easy-to-remember place. Select-copy and paste each selection of text in new documents and save them as 01doc and 02doc, then compare 01doc and 02doc.

By using the same two docs over and over, I don't have to fuss over where they are or what the name is when choosing the documents to compare. After a while, you get really fast at this: select-copy original text, paste in new doc and save as 01doc (replacing last saved version); select-copy revised text, paste in a different new doc and save as 02doc (replacing last saved version); then compare 01doc and 02doc using the instructions above.

Hope this helps.
(see Figure 1 below)

Figure 1. Compare doc settings


2019-06-20 09:51:07

Max Underwood

I wish Word had the capability to execute this "document compare" functionality at the "selection" level.

If I receive update from John that only include Paragraph 4.7.1 of the larger document in non-track change (frequent occurrence sadly) - it would be nice to compare the larger document's legacy paragraph 4.7.1 (only) against John's revised paragraph 4.7.1 input and note any changes as made by John. I'm not aware of anyway to do that - it becomes a manual word by word compare drill or a blind faith replacement of the legacy paragraph 4.7.1 with John's new one and hope he didn't delete anything that was important.

THAT would be a great macro to develop - but beyond my skills.

Thanks for all the help!


2016-10-27 11:55:38

John

Hello.
I have a question. If I save the Compared Document and close Word can I continue later on wit the saved Compared Documet, i.e. without having to start with a new Compared Document?


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.