About comparing and merging documents

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When you use the Compare and Merge feature to compare any two documents, Microsoft Word shows the differences between them as tracked changes (tracked change: A mark that shows where a deletion, insertion, or other editing change has been made in a document.).

Track Changes with balloons

Callout 1 Balloons show insertions or deletions, formatting changes, and comments.

Collaborate on documents

If multiple reviewers return changes and comments (comment: A note or annotation that an author or reviewer adds to a document. Microsoft Word displays the comment in a balloon in the margin of the document or in the Reviewing Pane.) in separate copies of the original document, you can merge all their changes into a single document, and then you can review each change from the single document. You can continue to work on a document after you send it for review; Word will show both what you added and what the reviewer changed.

Although it's best for reviewers to work with Track Changes (Tools menu) enabled, Word will detect and show changes even if a reviewer didn't turn this feature on.

Comparing documents side by side

Sometimes viewing multiple users’ changes in one document can be overwhelming, but now you can use a new approach to compare documents. Comparing documents side by side allows you to determine the differences between two documents without having to merge multiple users’ changes into one document. You can scroll through both documents at the same time to identify differences between the two documents.

Use merge commands to specify a baseline document

When you select a document to compare with the document that is already open, you use one of three merge commands to specify which document to use as the basis for the comparison. Differences between the documents are shown as tracked changes in the baseline document.

Merge

Results of merge are displayed in original document

Callout 1 Changes to the document that is already open (red) are shown as tracked changes in the document you selected in the Compare and Merge Documents dialog box.

Merge into current document

Results of merge are displayed in currently open document

Callout 1 Changes to the document you selected in the Compare and Merge Documents dialog box (blue) are shown as tracked changes in the document that is already open.

Merge into new document

Results of merge are displayed in new document

Callout 1 Changes in both documents are merged into a new, third document, with differences shown as tracked changes.

Compare with Legal blackline option

When you use the Legal blackline option, Word displays a new, third document in which tracked changes in the baseline document are accepted and changes in the selected document are shown as tracked changes. The documents being compared are not changed.

 Note   If you want to compare changes from a number of reviewers, do not select this option. Use one of the merge commands instead.

 
 
Applies to:
Word 2003