Twins - Image source Pixabay.comWe have all at some point had the arduous task of comparing two documents that should be the same but are not due to various reasons. It is so time consuming and heavy on the concentration that Microsoft have a solution for just this problem.

Here are two documents that have been updated by two different people. Spot the differences.

Document 1.
Document 2 Document 2.Doc 2At first glance all you see is that the second has a Table of Contents. But is that all? One way of finding out is to read it out to somebody else and they follow on the other document and hopefully will notice a change that you read out. But it is not fool proof.

How to compare two documents.

You do not need either document to be open before you start. It is however, beneficial not to have other documents open, just an empty one perhaps.

  • Select the Review Tab.Review tab with Compare Tool
  • Select the Compare Tool and then select Compare from the list.

This dialog box will appear where you need to select the two documents in question.

Here I have selected the original document and will select the other for the revised document. Compare docs dialog box

Select OK.

After a little while this is what you are presented with. Three windows for the three documents. On the left is the comparison document with the latest alterations. On the right the two documents being compared. At the top the first or original document. At the bottom the changed and latest version. These three panes synchronously scroll.

At the very far left there is a pane which shows what has been changed. In my example you can see in the first screen shot that the table of contents has been added. In the second screen shot you can see what text has been deleted and subsequently added. You can quickly jump to a place in your documents by clicking on one of the changes in this pane. You can also change the formatting of the inserted items but not the context.

In the comparison document on the left you can make more changes to the document including updating the table of contents.

I cannot say this feature is any better than Track Changes but if you have not implemented track changes then this is a good alternative.Compare Result 1Compare Result 2
Once you are happy with this document select Save. You will be directed to give this document a name and location automatically.



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