Graphics Marked as Changed when Comparing Documents

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 26, 2022)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021


Grainne noted that when she uses Word's reviewing tools to compare two documents, it always marks all graphics as "changed" even though they're not changes. She wonders why this happens and if there is a way to make the document comparison tool ignore graphics.

The short answer is that this is apparently the way that Microsoft coded the tool, and they don't provide a reason as to why that choice was made. So, no, there is no way to make the comparison tool ignore graphics.

This does, however, present a potential workaround. If you are strictly doing a comparison to see what changed between two versions—in other words, you won't be using the marked-up version created by the comparison as your new "master"—then you can make copies of your original documents, delete the graphics from each, and then do the comparison. Since there are no graphics in either one, then there is nothing there to mark as changed.

Obviously this won't work in all instances, but it is a workaround approach that will work for the purpose noted. You can quickly find easy ways to delete all graphics by using your favorite search engine and searching for "delete all graphics in a word document," without the quote marks.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (12630) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, Word in Microsoft 365, and 2021.

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. ...


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What is five more than 6?

2022-12-09 12:30:42


Thanks. I was searching for a long time for this answer

2022-11-26 11:47:00


Further to my earlier comment, I managed to get the images identified as changed if I moved their anchors, but did not make any other changes.

2022-11-26 11:35:26


I was trying to duplicate Grainne's observation and found that in my case the graphics were not identified as changed. May be this is a different behaviour in the newest MS365. I have the Family version.

To do that I created a file with some in-line and floating images, some pasted, others as inserted pictures. I inserted also some Word Shapes, again floating and in-line. I saved the file then changed some of the text in several places and saved the resulting document as a second file. I closed the file. Then I compared the two files. The text changes were identified properly, but the graphics were not indicated as changed.

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