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

Comparing two documents in Word can be a lifesaver when you need to spot differences or track changes efficiently. Open Word, select ‘Review,’ then ‘Compare,’ and choose the documents you want to compare. Word will do the rest, highlighting the changes for you.

How to Compare Two Documents in Word

Want to know the nitty-gritty of how to compare two documents in Word? Follow these steps to see the differences between your documents laid out clearly:

Step 1: Open Microsoft Word

Make sure you have Microsoft Word launched and ready to go.

Whether you’re comparing essays, legal documents, or research papers, having Word open is your starting point. It’s also helpful to have both documents you want to compare saved and easily accessible.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Review’ Tab

Navigate to the ‘Review’ tab in the top menu of Word.

The ‘Review’ tab is where all the comparison magic happens. From checking spelling to tracking changes, this tab has tools for editing and revising your documents.

Step 3: Click ‘Compare’

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

The ‘Compare’ button usually sits around the middle of the toolbar. Clicking it opens a dropdown menu with options to compare two documents.

Step 4: Choose ‘Compare…’

From the dropdown menu, select ‘Compare…’.

Once you click ‘Compare…’, a new dialog box pops up, giving you the option to select your original document and the revised one.

Step 5: Select Your Documents

Select the original and revised documents from your files.

In the dialog box, you’ll have two fields: one for the original document and one for the revised document. Browse your files and select the appropriate documents for each field.

Step 6: Click ‘OK’

After selecting your documents, click ‘OK.’

Clicking ‘OK’ activates Word’s comparison feature. A new window will open, showing both documents side-by-side, with changes highlighted.

After you complete these steps, Word will display the differences between your two documents in a new window. You’ll see deletions, additions, and other changes clearly marked, making it easier to review and edit.

Tips for Comparing Two Documents in Word

  • Keep backups: Always save a copy of your original documents before starting a comparison.
  • Use Track Changes: Enable ‘Track Changes’ feature to monitor edits in real-time.
  • Adjust settings: Customize the comparison settings for a more detailed analysis.
  • Review pane: Utilize the review pane for an overview of all changes.
  • Save comparison results: Save the comparison results as a new document for future reference.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I save the comparison results?

You can save the comparison results by clicking ‘File’ and then ‘Save As’ to create a new document with the changes highlighted.

Can I compare password-protected documents?

Yes, but you’ll need to enter the passwords for both documents during the comparison process.

What types of changes does Word highlight?

Word highlights additions, deletions, formatting changes, and comments.

Can I customize the comparison settings?

Absolutely! You can customize which changes to track in the comparison settings dialog box.

Is it possible to compare multiple versions of a document?

While Word primarily compares two documents at a time, you can compare multiple versions by repeating the comparison process for each version.

Summary of How to Compare Two Documents in Word

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


Comparing two documents in Word is a straightforward process that can save you loads of time and hassle. Whether you’re a student, a lawyer, or anyone who deals with multiple drafts, knowing how to compare documents efficiently is a valuable skill. With just a few clicks, you can see all the changes and make informed decisions about your edits.

If you found this guide helpful, you might want to explore more features in Word’s ‘Review’ tab. Tools like ‘Track Changes’ and ‘Comments’ can further enhance your editing process. Don’t forget to save your comparison results for future reference—it’s like keeping a map of all your document’s journeys. Happy comparing!