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

Comparing documents in Word is a useful skill to have, especially if you work with text a lot. It allows you to see the differences between two versions of a document, which can be handy for editing or collaborating with others. In less than 100 words, here’s how to do it: Open Word, click on the ‘Review’ tab, then select ‘Compare.’ Choose the two documents you want to compare, and Word will show you the differences side by side. It’s that simple!

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Compare Documents in Word

Before we dive into the step-by-step process, let’s talk about what we’re aiming to achieve here. When you compare documents in Word, you’re looking for the changes or differences between them. This could include added or deleted text, formatting changes, or even different comments from various reviewers. It’s an excellent tool for those working on a collaborative project or wanting to track edits made to a document over time.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Open Microsoft Word on your computer to get started.
Once you have Word open, you’re ready to begin the process of comparing documents. Make sure that the documents you want to compare are saved and closed before you start.

Step 2: Click on the ‘Review’ Tab

Find and click on the ‘Review’ tab at the top of the Word window.
The ‘Review’ tab is where you’ll find all the tools you need for reviewing and editing documents, including the ‘Compare’ feature.

Step 3: Select ‘Compare’

Within the ‘Review’ tab, click on ‘Compare.’
There are two options under ‘Compare’: ‘Compare’ and ‘Combine.’ For this tutorial, we’ll focus on ‘Compare,’ which allows you to see document differences.

Step 4: Choose the Original Document

Click on ‘Compare’ and select ‘Compare’ again, then choose the original document.
The original document is typically the earlier version, or the one you want to use as the basis for comparison.

Step 5: Choose the Revised Document

Choose the revised document that you want to compare with the original.
The revised document is usually the newer version or the one with changes that you want to review.

Step 6: Review the Comparison

Click ‘OK,’ and Word will generate a comparison of the two documents.
Word will show the original document, the revised document, and a combined version highlighting the changes. You can review this comparison to see what’s been altered between the two versions.

After completing these steps, you will have a clear comparison between your two documents. You’ll be able to see what changes have been made, which can be incredibly useful for editing purposes or for tracking revisions in collaborative work.

Tips: Enhancing Document Comparison in Word

  • Use ‘Track Changes’ in Word when editing documents. This will make the comparison process easier as Word will highlight changes as they’re made.
  • If you’re comparing documents with comments, make sure to check the ‘Show Markup’ options to see these in your comparison.
  • Make use of the ‘Reviewing Pane’ to see a list of changes in an easy-to-read format.
  • Remember that you can compare more than just text. Word can also compare tables, headers, footers, and even footnotes.
  • Save the comparison document as a new file if you need to keep a record of the differences for future reference.

Frequently Asked Questions

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.

Does Word highlight formatting changes in the comparison?

Yes, Word highlights all types of changes, including formatting differences.

Can I use this feature with documents that have been created by different versions of Word?

Yes, as long as the documents are compatible with the version of Word you are using to compare them.

Can I merge changes from two documents into one using this feature?

Yes, you can choose the ‘Combine’ option instead of ‘Compare’ to merge changes from two documents into one.

What if I only want to see specific types of changes?

You can filter the types of changes you see by using the ‘Show Markup’ options in the ‘Review’ tab.


  1. Open Microsoft Word
  2. Click on the ‘Review’ tab
  3. Select ‘Compare’
  4. Choose the original document
  5. Choose the revised document
  6. Review the comparison


Comparing documents in Word is a valuable skill that can save you time and help maintain accuracy in your work. Whether you’re an editor, writer, or part of a team working on a project, knowing how to effectively compare documents can streamline your editing process and ensure that no changes go unnoticed. With the straightforward steps outlined above, you’ll be able to quickly and easily identify discrepancies between two versions of a document. Remember to utilize the tips provided to enhance your document comparison experience and check out the frequently asked questions if you need further clarification. The next time you need to compare documents in Word, you’ll be prepared to tackle the task with confidence.

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