Comparing two word documents is required when you need to find what changes were made by another author to the original document and later combine both the documents if you find changes acceptable.
Microsoft Office Word comes with an inbuilt tool which lets you compare two documents based on Insertions, Deletions, Moves, Comments, Formatting, Cases changes, White Space, Tables, Header and Footers, Fields, Text-boxes, Footnotes and end notes. All the changes are marked automatically against the last author who edited the document but if you want to change to a more appropriate name it can be done.
The advantage of using this tool is that even if revision history is not maintained in your documents, the word comparison tool can find the difference which makes it true file comparison tool.
Details of the Comparison Tool in MS Office Word :
- Launch Word and choose the Review Tab in the Ribbon Menu.
- Look for a button which says “Compare”
- Here you have two options. Compare and Combine. Both the options will launch the same tool but when you choose combine, the tool gives you option to add Editors name in both the document which is not possible when you choose compare.
Where and how you want to show changes :
This is an important aspect of the tool and depending on your requirement you should choose your options wisely.
- At Word or Character level i.e. if you choose the latter, an change inside a word is reflected ( if sord is changed to sword)
- If you choose to show changes in Original Document or Revised Document, the benefit is you can save the changes in the same document instead of saving it as new document.
The Comparison Window :
- Once you have selected the required options in comparison settings, click on Ok and it will open a detailed comparison window in the same document. This window will highlight all the changes marked in red.
- The comparison window is divided into three sections. Left hand pan helps you navigate through different sections of the word document like header, footer etc. This makes sure you do not miss to notice any changes. The middle window gives you a merged view of both the documents and right hand pane gives you separate view of original and changed document view.
- The top left of the document view gives you detail on how many revisions, insertions, deletions, movies, formatting and comments are available in the changed document.
How to accept or reject changes in Word Document ?
- You can mouse hover the changes ( marked in red ) to find who made the changes.
- Make a right click on the change and you can select Accept or Reject Changes.
- Also you can use the changes section under Review tab to navigate between changes and if you are happy with all changes, you can do accept all changes in one click.
Overall the comparison tool of Microsoft Office Word is very simple and smart enough to find out all the changes made in the document. All you need is to make sure you have chosen the required things in the tools option because if you have a huge document reflecting everything is not required most of the time.