Comparing Two Documents in Word

No matter your practice area, there are times when you want to compare two documents and see the changes that were made.  There is software that does this, but it can be expensive.  The next time you want to compare two documents, try the built-in functionality in Word 2007 or 2010.  Here’s how:

Open Word and click on Review (on the ribbon) and then click on Compare.  Then click on Compare again. There are two choices – You will want to click on Compare two versions of a document (legal blackline). The Compare Documents box opens – on the left, you first need to choose which document is the Original document.  The drop-down arrow will show you the most recent documents you worked with.  If you don’t see the document there, click on the folder icon to browse for the document you want.  Click on More to choose more fields to compare (if you wish).  Click OK.

Now choose which document is the Revised document using the same procedure and click OK. A new window will open in the middle that shows the Compared Document with the changes redlined.  As you scroll through this, the top right-hand part of the screen will show the Original Document and the bottom right-hand part of the screen will show the Revised Document.  It’s easy to follow along because it automatically shows the same part of all three documents.

If you wish, you can save the Compared Document as a new document (just be sure to give it a unique name) and you will now have a separate red-lined document you can save and print!

It sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.  Give it a try and you’ll see! 

– Courtesy of Reba Nance, Colorado Bar Association