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

Comparing documents in Microsoft Word is a breeze if you know where to look. You’ll use the built-in ‘Compare’ feature to easily identify differences between two versions of a document. Follow the steps below to streamline this process and save yourself time and effort.

How to Compare Documents in Word

This guide will walk you through the process of comparing two Word documents to spot differences quickly. By following these steps, you can ensure you never miss any edits or changes.

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

First, open Microsoft Word on your computer.

Make sure you have both documents you want to compare saved and accessible.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Review’ Tab

Next, navigate to the ‘Review’ tab in the toolbar at the top of the screen.

This is where all the tools for tracking changes and comparing documents are located.

Step 3: Click ‘Compare’

Under the ‘Review’ tab, find and click on the ‘Compare’ button.

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

Step 4: Select Your Documents

In the new window, use the ‘Original document’ and ‘Revised document’ fields to select the two documents you want to compare.

You can browse your computer to find and select the correct files.

Step 5: Click ‘OK’

Once you’ve selected your documents, click the ‘OK’ button to start the comparison.

Word will now analyze both documents and open a new window showing the differences.

After completing these steps, Word will generate a new document highlighting all the differences between your original and revised documents. This makes it easy to see what changes have been made.

Tips for Comparing Documents in Word

  • Save a Copy First: Always save a copy of both documents before comparing to avoid any unintended changes.
  • Use Track Changes: Turn on ‘Track Changes’ to keep a record of edits.
  • Adjust Viewing Options: Use the ‘Show Changes’ options to customize how differences are displayed.
  • Check for Formatting Changes: Be aware that Word also tracks changes in formatting, not just text.
  • Review Highlight Colors: Customize the colors used for highlights to easily distinguish between types of changes.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of differences will Word highlight?

Word will highlight text changes, formatting differences, and comments.

Can I compare more than two documents at a time?

No, you can only compare two documents at a time using the ‘Compare’ feature.

Is the comparison feature available in all versions of Word?

The compare feature is available in most modern versions of Word, but may not be available in very old versions.

What if the documents are very different?

If the documents are significantly different, it might be hard to follow the comparison. Consider comparing sections at a time.

Can I save the comparison results?

Yes, you can save the comparison results as a new document for future reference.

Summary of Steps

  1. Open Microsoft Word.
  2. Go to the ‘Review’ tab.
  3. Click ‘Compare.’
  4. Select your documents.
  5. Click ‘OK.’


Comparing documents in Word is a simple yet powerful way to ensure consistency and accuracy across different versions of a file. Whether you’re editing a project, reviewing changes from a colleague, or simply ensuring no details are missed, using the ‘Compare’ feature in Word can save you hours of manual cross-checking. It’s like having a built-in proofreader that catches every little detail.

If you’re dealing with multiple drafts or collaborating with others, this feature is your best friend. Remember our tips for making the most out of this tool, and don’t hesitate to explore other functionalities within the ‘Review’ tab to enhance your document editing process even further.

Give it a try next time you need to compare documents, and see how much easier your workflow becomes. Happy editing!