Monday, 1 June 2015

Editing: Comparing two documents in Microsoft Word

I'm currently editing my latest novel, The Better of Two Men. I have several people who read and edit the manuscript before publication, but somehow I have to combine all the edits and make them on the master file, then send that master file off to my proofreader.

There are two features in Microsoft Word which make the process a little easier.

The first allows you to open two Word documents side by side and as you scroll through one, it scrolls through the other at the same time, so you're always on the same page on both. 

To do this open both documents and click the 'View Side by Side' icon in the View menu. 

The second feature will compare the two documents using the Tracked Changes feature.

Go to the Review menu and click Compare, then select the two documents you wish to compare. This will bring up three panels, two with the documents selected and a third with the two documents combined but with the differences in Track Changes so you can work through accepting, rejecting and making any changes you need. 

And there you go ...

JD Smith, is the author of the Historical Novel Society Indie Book of the Year Award Finalist Tristan and Iseult, The Rise of Zenobia and The Fate of an Emperor, editor of Words with JAM and Bookmuse, and the mother of three mischievous boys. 


  1. I knew about the track changes comparison, but not viewing side by side. Thanks for this tip.

  2. It's a great tool. If you've got too many differences and notes on a document it makes it really easy to visually compare and make changes on your master doc.

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