How to Do a Document Compare in Word: Step-by-Step Guide

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you need to compare two documents in Word, but you’re not quite sure how to do it? Well, don’t worry, because I’m here to guide you through the process step by step. It’s actually pretty straightforward once you know what you’re doing. So, let’s dive in and get started!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Do a Document Compare in Word

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about what we’re trying to achieve here. Comparing documents in Word allows you to see the differences between two versions of a document. It’s a super handy tool for when you’re collaborating with others or just need to track changes.

Step 1: Open Word

Open Microsoft Word on your computer.

When you open Word, you’ll be greeted with a start screen where you can choose to open an existing document or create a new one. For this task, you’ll want to open one of the documents you want to compare.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Review’ Tab

Navigate to the ‘Review’ tab on the Word ribbon.

The ‘Review’ tab is where you’ll find all the tools you need for reviewing documents, including the ‘Compare’ feature we’re looking for.

Step 3: Select ‘Compare’

Click on the ‘Compare’ button, then choose ‘Compare…’ from the dropdown menu.

This action will open a new window where you can select the two documents you want to compare.

Step 4: Choose the Original Document

Select the original document using the ‘Original document’ dropdown menu.

You’ll need to browse your files to find the first document you want to compare.

Step 5: Choose the Revised Document

Select the revised document using the ‘Revised document’ dropdown menu.

Just like with the original document, you’ll need to find the second document you want to compare in your files.

After you complete the action, Word will generate a comparison document that shows all the differences between the two versions. Deleted text will be marked in red with a strikethrough, and inserted text will be marked in red underlined. This makes it super easy to see what’s changed at a glance.

Tips: Enhancing Document Comparison in Word

  • Use the ‘Show Source Documents’ option to view the original and revised documents side by side with the comparison document.
  • Take advantage of the ‘Track Changes’ feature to keep a record of edits made during the review process.
  • Customize the comparison settings by clicking on ‘More’ in the compare documents dialog box to choose what types of changes you want to track.
  • Use the ‘Previous’ and ‘Next’ buttons in the ‘Changes’ section of the Review tab to quickly navigate through the differences.
  • Save the comparison document as a new file to avoid overwriting the original or revised documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the documents I want to compare are in different formats?

Word can only compare documents that are in the .doc or .docx format. If your documents are in a different format, you’ll need to convert them to Word format first.

Can I compare more than two documents at a time?

No, Word’s compare feature only allows you to compare two documents at a time. If you need to compare multiple documents, you’ll have to do it in pairs.

Will comparing documents in Word highlight formatting changes?

Yes, Word will highlight formatting changes such as font size, style, and color.

Can I compare documents that have been password protected?

You’ll need to remove the password protection from both documents before you can compare them in Word.

Can I use the compare feature on a Mac?

Yes, the compare feature is available in Word for both Windows and Mac.


  1. Open Word.
  2. Click on the ‘Review’ Tab.
  3. Select ‘Compare’.
  4. Choose the Original Document.
  5. Choose the Revised Document.


Comparing documents in Word is a powerful tool that can save you a ton of time and effort when you need to spot differences between two versions of a document. Whether you’re an editor, a writer, or just someone who needs to keep track of changes, being able to do a document compare in Word is a skill that will definitely come in handy.

Remember to follow the steps outlined in this article, and don’t forget to check out the tips section for additional tricks to make your document comparing even easier. With a little practice, you’ll be a pro at comparing documents in no time!

If you have any further questions, feel free to revisit the frequently asked questions section. And now that you know how to do a document compare in Word, go ahead and give it a try! Who knows what kind of interesting differences you might find?

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