Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Understanding the COMPARE Field.

Understanding the COMPARE Field

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 23, 2013)

One of the fields that Word makes available for automating your documents is the COMPARE field. Most people don't use this field that much because it can be confusing to do so. The entire purpose of the COMPARE field is to do exactly what it says—compare values. All you need to do is provide the two values (along with the comparison operator), and COMPARE will return either a 1 if the comparison is true or a 0 if it is false.

For example, let's say you wanted to compare the contents of a bookmark to see if it was equal to a specific value. If your bookmark name is MyBook, the following COMPARE field will do the trick:

{ COMPARE { MyBook } = "TestText" )

If the bookmark (MyBook) is equal to TestText, then the COMPARE field returns a value of 1 (True). If it is not, then COMPARE returns a value of 0 (False).

As you might imagine, returning a zero or a one, by itself, may not be that valuable of a feature. Where COMPARE comes in handiest is when you use it as an argument for one of the other comparison fields. For instance, you might use COMPARE in conjunction with the IF field to specify conditional text for your document. When used in this way, the value of COMPARE is limited only by your imagination.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (551) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Understanding the COMPARE Field.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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