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How to compare two documents in Word

The Compare Documents tool in Microsoft Word is rarely used. However, it is a very cool feature that allows you to compare two versions of the same document and highlight all the differences.

To compare two documents in Word, go to the Review tab, select compare from the Compare drop-down. The Compare Documents dialog box will appear, browse for both the original and revised documents you wish to compare. then click on the OK button to compare and see all the differences between the documents.

Compare two documents in Word.

For a more detailed step by step guide on this matter, obey the instructions below.

To compare two documents in MS Word:

  • Go to the Review tab.
Go to the Review tab
  • In the Compare group, click the Compare drop-down list and choose Compare.
On the Review tab, click Compare>Compare...
  • Word will display the Compare Documents dialog box.
Compare Documents Dialog
  • Click the More button to display the default settings for the compare command. All the comparison settings are checked by default.
Click More for advanced document comparison settings
  • Now, use the Original and Revised document drop-down or browser to choose the documents you want to compare.
  • Under the Revised document side, the Label changes with textbox is set to the current user-name. You can change this to anything you like – it doesn’t even have to be someone’s name.
how to compare two documents in Word
  • The Comparison settings has all the elements checked. Uncheck and leave the elements you want to be part of the comparison.
  • Under the Show changes category, select Character level to see the exact edits that were performed or select Word level limit the comparison to changes made to the individual words. For example, if the original document has the word write and revised document has the word wrote, then the Word level option would simply show you that write was replaced by wrote. However, the Character level would show the fact that a letter i was changed to the o letter.
  • After making all the necessary settings, click on the OK button to now compare the two Word documents.
Final result of comparing two documents in Word

As seen in the screenshot above, Word will arrange the compared document, the original document as well as the revised document all into a document window, alongside the Revisions pane.

  • Press Ctrl+s to save the compared results as a new document.

NOTE: On the review tab, the compare drop-down also has the Combine command. It works similarly to the compare feature, but rather than just compare the two versions, it merges the changes from both versions into a single document.