Office 2010 - Word

Lesson 10: Basic operations (2)

10/66 Lessons 

Comparing Documents

In the previous lesson, we’ve seen how to recover an unsaved document. Its generally not used, but I’ll explain what the second button, “Compare”, does.   The “Compare” button compares two documents, and determines the differences between both of them.

In this case, it compares the version of the file which wasn’t saved with the version of the file that was last saved.

When we click on the “Compare” button, the “comparison window”, opens.  We find the original document (1) at the top, on the right, which is the version that was not saved.

Below this, we find the modified document, that is maintained by Word (2).

In the middle, we have the whole new document where the changes are shown in red(3). The color of the changes depends on the modifications carried out. You may be unfamiliar with the colors, so, text that is added is red and if it has been changed it is blue and underlined. Text that is moved, is displayed in green. What color the text changes to does not really matter, because on the left of the window, a list describing all changes is displayed, anyways.

If you double-click a change in this list, you will immediately be transferred to the middle portion (3) of the window.

If you would still like to save the file, click the “File” tab and select either the “Save” or “Save As …” options. You can also click the “Save” button in the “Quick Access” toolbar.


In the above example I have discussed the option, of how a saved document is compared with an unsaved document, but you can also save both documents.

Select the “Review” tab in the ribbon, click the “Compare” button, and select the “Compare” option, again, from the pop-up menu.


This opens the “Compare Documents” dialog box.  In the box on the left, navigate to the original document, and in the box on the right, navigate to the document which is to be compared. It really doesn’t matter much. Any document, irrespective of the subject, can be compared, as long as the two documents that you want to compare, are placed in the same folder.
To navigate to the document, click the folder icon(3), but I think you already knew that.

By clicking on the “More / Less” toggle button (4), a dialog box with various options is opened or closed, and we can compare the documents, using various options which may or may not be activated.

At the bottom, we have the “Show Changes” section and we have two sub-sections in this section .
The first option in the first sub-section is, “Character Level”, which will display changes, per character.
The second option, “Word level”, will show changes per word.

In the “Show Changes in” section, we have the options to choose between “Original Document”, “Revised Document” or “New Document”.

The last option is the one that is preffered the most.
In this way, we are still retain the other two documents.

Click the “OK” button when you’re done.

This brings us to the comparison window.
At the top, on the ribbon, we have the buttons which can be used to either accept or reject changes.
We also have to move the arrow buttons to navigate through the previous and next changes.


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