Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Word enables you to compare two documents, usually different versions of the same
document, using what Microsoft calls legal blackline . Basically, you feed Word two documents,
designating one as the original document and the other as the revised document. Microsoft
then creates a third document (the default setting) with markup indicating the changes.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this new document contains tracked changes, and you can use
Word’s Review tab tools to manage the document, to decide what to keep and what
In a nutshell, suppose that you have two versions of the same document, and the second
was accidentally edited without Track Changes turned on. The Compare feature enables you
to correct that “oversight” by creating a new document that shows what the original
document would look like if the revisions had been made with Track Changes turned on.
If you have only two documents you want to compare, and neither displays tracked changes, use the Compare
feature. If you have two or more documents that contain tracked changes, and you need to keep track of who
changed what and when, use the Combine feature, described later in this chapter.
To initiate the comparison, in the Review tab, click Compare in the Compare group.
Word displays the Compare dialog box. Click the More button to display the full Compare
Documents dialog box shown in Figure 11.21. When you ﬁ rst click the More button, you see
the default settings for Compare. By default, all of the Comparison settings are enabled:
Show changes at is set to Word level, and Show changes in is set to New document. Use the
Original and Revised document drop-down arrows to choose the documents you want to
compare. If the documents you seek aren’t in the alphabetical list of recent ﬁ les shown,
choose Browse, either in the list or by clicking the Browse button to the right of the
Under the Revised document choice, Label changes with is set to the current default user
name (from Word’s Popular Options). You can change that to whatever you like — it doesn’t
even have to be a user’s name.
Under Comparison settings, choose the elements you want included in the comparison. Under
Show changes at, you can choose to compare character by character or word by word.
Choose Character level if you want to see the exact edits that were performed. For example,
if the original document has “word” and the revised document has “world,” in which the “l”
was inserted, then the Word level setting would simply show you that “word” was replaced
by “world,” whereas Character level would show the fact that an “l” was inserted.