How to Compare Differences in Two Word Documents: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever been in a situation where you need to compare two Word documents to find out the differences? It can be a daunting task, especially if the documents are lengthy. But don’t worry, Microsoft Word has a built-in feature that makes it easy to compare and contrast two documents. In this article, we’ll walk you through the simple steps to compare differences in two Word documents.

Step by Step Tutorial to Compare Differences in Two Word Documents

Before we dive into the steps, let’s talk about why you might need to compare documents. Maybe you’re working on a team project and need to see what changes have been made since the last version. Or perhaps you’re a teacher grading student essays and want to ensure they haven’t plagiarized. Whatever the reason, comparing documents can save you a lot of time and effort.

Step 1: Open the Review Tab

Open both Word documents you want to compare and go to the Review tab on the ribbon.

The Review tab is where you’ll find all the tools you need to review and revise documents. It’s also where the Compare feature is located.

Step 2: Click on Compare

In the Review tab, click on the "Compare" button, then select "Compare" from the drop-down menu.

The Compare feature allows you to compare two versions of a document and see the differences side by side.

Step 3: Choose the Original and Revised Documents

In the Compare Documents window, choose the original document and the revised document you want to compare.

Make sure you select the correct documents. The original document should be the older version, and the revised document should be the newer version with changes.

Step 4: Review the Comparison

Once you’ve selected the documents, click "OK" to start the comparison. Word will open a new document showing the differences between the two documents.

The new document will have a revised side and an original side, with changes highlighted and marked up for easy review.

After completing the steps, you’ll have a clear understanding of the differences between the two Word documents. You can then accept or reject changes, merge the documents, or save the comparison as a new document for future reference.

Tips for Comparing Differences in Two Word Documents

  • Use the "Track Changes" feature when editing documents to make comparing versions easier.
  • If you’re comparing lengthy documents, use the "Find" feature to quickly navigate to specific changes.
  • Customize the comparison settings to show only the changes you’re interested in, such as formatting or content changes.
  • Use the "Reviewing Pane" to see a list of all the changes in one place.
  • Save the comparison as a new document to keep a record of the changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the documents are in different formats?

Word can compare documents in different formats, but it’s best to convert them to the same format before comparing to avoid any issues.

Can I compare more than two documents at once?

No, the Compare feature only allows you to compare two documents at a time.

What if I don’t see the changes after comparing?

Make sure you’ve selected the correct documents and that the changes aren’t too minor to be detected by Word.

Can I compare documents in different languages?

Yes, Word can compare documents in different languages, but it’s best to have both documents in the same language for the most accurate comparison.

Can I compare documents that are password-protected?

You’ll need to remove the password protection from the documents before comparing them.


  1. Open the Review Tab
  2. Click on Compare
  3. Choose the Original and Revised Documents
  4. Review the Comparison


Comparing differences in two Word documents doesn’t have to be a headache. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can easily spot the changes and make informed decisions about your documents. Whether you’re collaborating on a project, grading assignments, or just wanting to see the evolution of your work, the Compare feature in Word is an invaluable tool. So the next time you need to compare documents, remember this guide and make your life a little easier. Don’t forget to utilize the tips and FAQs provided for additional context and troubleshooting. Happy comparing!

Get Our Free Newsletter

How-to guides and tech deals

You may opt out at any time.
Read our Privacy Policy