How to Compare Two Word 2007 Documents

By Anni Martin

Being able to compare documents is a common need for many professionals who deal with customer changes to contracts, revisions from other coworkers or tweaks from a proofreader. Microsoft Word 2007 can speed your review by providing a side-by-side comparison so you can look at two documents simultaneously on-screen. Another option is to use Word's "Compare" feature to highlight the differences between the documents in a third document. With "Compare," you can see document differences and choose whether to keep the resulting file or not.

View Side-by-Side

Step 1

Open Word and click on the "Microsoft Office" button. Click "Open" and navigate to one of the documents to compare. Select the filename and click "Open."

Step 2

Click on the "Microsoft Office" button again. Click "Open" and navigate to the comparison document. Double-click on the filename.

Step 3

Click on the "View" tab in either document. Click on the "View Side-by-Side" link in the Window group to see both documents horizontally. Switch the view from vertical to horizontal by clicking on the "Arrange All" button in the Window group in the View tab. Click "Reset Window Position" to go back to vertical viewing.

Step 4

Move back and forth between the documents by clicking on the "Switch Windows" button in the Window group in the View tab. You can also click in the document window on either file to move back and forth. By default, synchronous scrolling is turned on so as you move through one document, the other document moves also. To turn this off, click on the "Synchronous Scrolling" in the Window group in the View tab.

Step 5

Return to one view by clicking the "View Side-by-Side" icon in the Window group in the View tab. When you turn on the "View Side-by-Side" feature, the link becomes an icon with two pages on it.

Compare Feature

Step 1

Start Word and click on the "Review" tab. Click on the "Compare" drop-down menu in the Compare group. Click "Compare" from the menu. Click on the "Original Document" drop-down field and select a file to use. If the filename is not there, click on the "Browse" icon (it looks like an open folder) to the right of the Original document field and double-click on the filename to select it.

Step 2

Click on the "Revised Document" drop-down field and choose a file or click on the "Browse" icon to locate the file.

Step 3

Select the comparison options such as comments or formatting changes. Click "OK" when you are done selecting options. The comparison results appear on the screen in several task panes. The middle task pane shows a new document with the results of the comparison. The right task panes show the original and revised documents while the left task pane shows changes and comments. Once you are finished reviewing, you can choose to keep the comparison document as a new file or close the documents without saving changes.