How to Run a Redline Comparison in Word: A Step-by-Step Guide

Running a redline comparison in Microsoft Word is a helpful way to track changes between two documents. It allows you to see differences in text, formatting, and more. To do this, use the "Compare" feature in Word, which highlights the changes in a new document. Follow these steps to perform a redline comparison efficiently.

How to Run a Redline Comparison in Word

By following these steps, you’ll be able to compare two Word documents and see exactly what’s different between them. This is particularly useful for reviewing edited drafts or collaborating on a project.

Step 1: Open Word

First, make sure Microsoft Word is open on your computer.

You will need to have both documents that you want to compare accessible. It’s easier if you save them in a location you can quickly find.

Step 2: Go to the "Review" Tab

Navigate to the "Review" tab located on the ribbon at the top of the screen.

The "Review" tab contains tools for editing, commenting, and comparing documents. It’s where all the magic happens for comparing files.

Step 3: Click "Compare"

In the "Review" tab, click the "Compare" button.

This will open a dropdown menu, giving you the option to "Compare" or "Combine" documents. Select "Compare."

Step 4: Select Your Documents

In the dialog box that appears, choose the original document and the revised document.

You need to select the correct files to make sure Word knows which documents to compare. This is crucial for accurate results.

Step 5: Click "OK"

After selecting the documents, click "OK" to start the comparison.

Word will generate a new document showing all the changes. You’ll see additions, deletions, and formatting changes clearly marked.

Step 6: Review the Redline Document

Take your time to go through the new document with the changes highlighted.

You will see different colors and strike-throughs indicating what was added, deleted, or changed. This makes it easy to review and understand the differences.

After completing these steps, you will have a new document that clearly shows all the changes between your original and revised documents. This new document will be your redlined comparison.

Tips for Running a Redline Comparison in Word

  • Make sure both documents are saved and closed before starting the comparison.
  • Use meaningful file names to differentiate between the original and revised documents.
  • Customize the comparison settings to focus on specific changes like text, formatting, or comments.
  • Review the redline document thoroughly to ensure no changes were missed.
  • Save the redline document immediately to avoid losing any work.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a redline comparison?

A redline comparison highlights the differences between two versions of a document, showing what has been added, deleted, or changed.

Can I compare more than two documents at once?

No, Word’s Compare feature only allows you to compare two documents at a time.

Can I customize what changes are shown?

Yes, you can customize the comparison settings to show specific changes such as only text changes or only formatting changes.

Is the redline document editable?

Yes, the redline document is fully editable. You can accept or reject changes directly in the document.

Does Word keep a history of comparisons?

No, Word does not keep a history of comparisons. You will need to save the redline document if you want to keep a record.


  1. Open Word.
  2. Go to the "Review" tab.
  3. Click "Compare."
  4. Select your documents.
  5. Click "OK."
  6. Review the redline document.


Running a redline comparison in Word is a straightforward yet powerful tool for anyone working with multiple document versions. Whether you’re a student tracking changes in an essay or a professional reviewing contract edits, this feature can save you a ton of time and help ensure accuracy. By following the steps outlined above, you can quickly and efficiently see all the changes between your documents, making it easier to collaborate and finalize your work.

After completing the comparison, don’t forget to save your redline document and review it carefully. If you’re frequently using this feature, consider customizing the settings to better suit your needs. For more advanced features and options, check out Microsoft’s official documentation or online tutorials.

So, next time you need to see what’s changed in a document, give Word’s Compare feature a try. It’s a handy tool that can make your editing and review process much smoother.