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: Comparing Document Versions.

Comparing Document Versions

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated November 25, 2017)

Word includes a tool that allows you to compare two documents to each other. The document in memory is marked with revision marks to indicate the changes from the document on disk. The way you compare documents depends on the version of Word you are using. Follow these steps if you are using Word 2002 or Word 2003:

  1. Load the newer version of the document into Word.
  2. Choose the Compare and Merge Documents option from the Tools menu. Using a dialog box that is very similar to a standard Open dialog box, you are prompted for a filename to use for the comparison.
  3. Select the file to which you want to compare the document.
  4. Click on OK.

If you are using Word 97 or Word 2000, you follow these steps:

  1. Load the newer version of the document into Word.
  2. Choose Track Changes from the Tools menu. Word displays a submenu.
  3. Choose the Compare Documents option. You are prompted for a filename to use for the comparison.
  4. Select the file to which you want to compare the document.
  5. Click on OK.

Regardless of the version of Word you are using, when the comparison is done the document contains revision marks to indicate what has changed. Typically, new text is underlined and deleted text is struck through.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1656) 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: Comparing Document Versions.

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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