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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Quickly Removing a Toolbar Button

Want to get rid of a toolbar button? There's no need to drag open the menus and dialog boxes; just use the shortcut described ...

Discover More

Using Different Colors with Tracked Changes

When changes are made in a document with Track Changes turned on, each author's changes are normally shown in a different ...

Discover More

Changes in Excel's Color System

The introduction of Excel 2007 included the introduction of a lot of changes to the venerable spreadsheet program. One of ...

Discover More

Do More in Less Time! Are you ready to harness the full power of Word 2013 to create professional documents? In this comprehensive guide you'll learn the skills and techniques for efficiently building the documents you need for your professional and your personal life. Check out Word 2013 In Depth today!

More WordTips (menu)

Conditional Calculations in Word

Word allows you to insert simple formulas, using fields, in table cells. You can also create simple conditional calculations ...

Discover More

Calculating Dates with Fields

Can you calculate dates using fields? Yes, but you probably don't want to except as a learning experience. An easier way is ...

Discover More

Implementing a Dynamic Document Control Table

Accurately and repeatedly referencing information within a document is a common task that needs to be done. One way to ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 3 - 2?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.