Compare versions of a Word document in a document library

With Microsoft Office Word 2007, you can compare two versions of a document that is stored in a document library and display what changed between the versions. The document library must have versioning turned on and must reside on a server running either Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.

 Important   The ability to compare versions of a server document in Office Word 2007 is available only in Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007, Microsoft Office Enterprise 2007, and Microsoft Office Ultimate 2007, and in the stand-alone version of Office Word 2007.

In this article


Overview

When versioning is turned on in a document library, previous versions of a document are stored in the library. This helps you to better manage content as it is revised. Versioning is especially helpful when several people work together on projects, or when information goes through several stages of development and review, because you can compare the changes made between different versions.

You can use the integration between Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Office Word 2007 to compare a document with any of its previous versions. This integration provides the following options:

  • Major Version    This option compares the current document with the last major version of the document.
  • Last Version    This option compares the current document with the previous version. If the previous version is a minor version, you compare with that. If the previous version is a major version, you compare with that.
  • Specific Version    This option compares the current document with any previous version that you choose. When you choose this option, you can also change the settings that Office Word 2007 uses to compare documents. For example, you can choose whether to compare comments, formatting, or case.

The following illustration shows these options on the Compare button on the Ribbon, which is part of the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface. Note that these options are available only when you open a document that is saved in a document library that has versioning turned on.

Options on the Compare button

When you compare versions, by default Office Word 2007 displays the two source documents — the original document and the version that you are comparing it with — in separate panes on the right side of the window. These documents scroll synchronously with the compared document so that you can see the changes in context. Note that the source documents that are being compared are not changed in any way, and you cannot edit them in these panes while you are comparing them. You can hide these documents if you want by clicking Show Source Documents on the Review tab. The compared document appears in a third pane, and tracked changes indicate differences between the original document and the revised document. You can accept or reject these changes and edit the compared document as you normally would.

When you finish accepting or rejecting changes in the compared document, you can save the compared document as a new document. By clicking Save As on the Microsoft Office ButtonButton image , you can save the new, compared document to the document library. If you save the compared document to the document library, note that the newly uploaded document begins with a fresh version history, which does not incorporate the version history of either of the source documents.

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Compare the current document with the last major version

The document that you want to compare versions for must reside in a document library that has versioning turned on, and the document needs a version history with at least one previous major version. Find links to more information about versioning in the See Also section.

To compare the current document with the last major version:

  1. If the library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

If the name of your library does not appear on the Quick Launch, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your library.

  1. Click the name of the file that you want to open. The document opens in Office Word 2007.

 Note   You do not need to check out the file.

  1. In Office Word 2007, on the Review tab, in the Compare group, click Compare.
  2. Click Major Version.

Office Word 2007 opens the last major version and compares the versions in a separate document.

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Compare the current document with the last version

The document that you want to compare versions for must reside in a document library that has versioning turned on, and the document needs a version history with at least one previous version. Find links to more information about versioning in the See Also section.

To compare the current document with the last version, whether the last version is a major or minor version:

  1. If the library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

If the name of your library does not appear on the Quick Launch, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your library.

  1. Click the name of the file that you want to open. The document opens in Office Word 2007.

 Note   You do not need to check out the file.

  1. In Office Word 2007, on the Review tab, in the Compare group, click Compare.
  2. Click Last Version.

Office Word 2007 opens the last version and compares the versions in a separate document.

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Compare the current document with any previous version

The document that you want to compare versions for must reside in a document library that has versioning turned on, and the document needs a version history with at least one previous version. Find links to more information about versioning in the See Also section.

To compare the current document with a specific version:

  1. If the library is not already open, click its name on the Quick Launch.

If the name of your library does not appear on the Quick Launch, click View All Site Content, and then click the name of your library.

  1. Click the name of the file that you want to open. The document opens in Office Word 2007.

 Note   You do not need to check out the file.

  1. In Office Word 2007, on the Review tab, in the Compare group, click Compare.
  2. Click Specific Version.
  3. In the Versions saved dialog box, click the version that you want to compare with the current document, and then click Compare.

Office Word 2007 opens the selected version and compares the versions in a separate document.

Change the comparison settings

The Versions saved dialog box also contains a button labeled More. Clicking this button expands the dialog box to show the available comparison settings. These settings determine what elements of the documents are compared. By default, all the comparison settings are selected. Any changes that you make to these settings will then be used as the default settings in future comparisons.

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Applies to:
Word 2007