How to Compare Two Documents in Microsoft Word

This tutorial explains step by step how to compare two documents in Microsoft Word so that you can quickly review all of the differences between the two.

Microsoft Word is an excellent program to manage your documents. With Microsoft Word, not only can you create and edit documents, but you can even compare two documents for differences. For example, if you are a student and have two versions of the same essay, you can easily view and compare the two docs.

  1. Open Microsoft Word and create a new blank document. Select Review from the menu bar and then click the Compare button.
  2. the Microsoft Word toolbar with arrows pointing at Review and the Compare button

  3. Now select Compare… from the menu.
  4. an arrow pointing to the Compare... option

  5. The Compare Documents dialog box will open. Click the small folder icon on the right-side of the Original document field to select the first of the two documents you want to compare.
  6. the compare documents dialog box in Microsoft Word

  7. Navigate to that document, select it and click the OK button.
  8. selecting a document to open in Microsoft Word

  9. This time click the small folder icon on the right-side of the Revised document field.
  10. the compare documents dialog box with an arrow pointing at the revised document folder button

  11. Select the document you want to compare to the document you chose in step #4 and then click the OK button.
  12. selecting a document to compare to the first one in Microsoft Word

  13. Enter a short name you’d like to appear next to the changes in the document in the Label changes with field and then click the More > > button.
  14. an arrow pointing to a button titled More

  15. Place check marks in the boxes next to the data types that you want to compare and then click the OK button.
  16. selecting options to compare in two Microsoft Word documents

  17. This will open a window that displays the comparison results. It will have a series of columns and panes. The ones to focus on are Compared Document, Original Document and Revised Document.
  18. two documents in Microsoft Word side by side
    click to enlarge

  19. Use the Revisions panel to view all of the differences between the two documents.
  20. the Revisions panel in Microsoft Word
    click to enlarge

Now that you know how to compare two documents to each other, check out our other Office software tips, tricks and tutorials.


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