How to Compare Two PDF Files

By Jen Miller

With Adobe Acrobat, you can convert many different file types to PDF format, which can be viewed on almost all operating systems. PDF files retain the format of the original documents so electronic information can be viewed consistently on all platforms. Adobe Acrobat also contains many other features, such as adding annotations, inserting and extracting pages and setting PDF security with passwords. You can also use Adobe Acrobat to compare two different PDF files. When you compare files, Acrobat shows the changes that were made between two documents, such as added or deleted text.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe Acrobat Pro Extended, Pro or Standard

Compare Two PDF Versions

Step 1

Open Adobe Acrobat, click "Document" and choose "Compare Documents." The "Compare Documents" dialog box appears.

Step 2

Select the older document and newer document you want to compare from the "Document" drop-down boxes. The documents appear only if they are open in Adobe Acrobat. If a document does not appear in the drop-down box, click "Choose" and select the appropriate file.

Step 3

Type the first page and last page of the pages you want to compare in the "First page" and "Last page" fields.

Step 4

Select the document description that most closely represents the documents you are comparing and click "OK."Acrobat compares the documents and creates two comparison files, one for each PDF, which it displays. Each comparison file shows content and page changes and deletions.

Step 5

Hide annotations, choose which changes you want to show and specify other display preferences in the "Compare" pane.

Compare Signed PDFs

Step 1

Open the signed PDF in Adobe Acrobat.

Step 2

Click "Advanced" and choose "Sign & Certify."

Step 3

Select "Compare Signed Version to Current Version." Acrobat generates a comparison file that displays changes made since the PDF was signed.