How to Compare Two Versions of a Document in Word 2016

By Dan Gookin

Word 2016’s revision-tracking tools make reviews of your documents possible. You have the original copy of your document — the stuff you wrote. You also have the copy that Brianne, the vixen from the legal department, has worked over. Your job is to compare them to see exactly what’s been changed from the original. Here’s what to do:

  1. Click the Review tab.

  2. In the Compare group, choose Compare→Compare.

    The Compare Documents dialog box shows up.

  3. Choose the original document from the Original Document drop-down list.

    The list shows recently opened or saved documents. Choose one, or use the Browse item to summon the Open dialog box and hunt down the document.

  4. Choose the edited document from the Revised Document drop-down list.

    Choose the document from the list, or use the Browse item to locate the changed, altered, or mangled document.

  5. Click OK.

Word compares the two documents. The changes are displayed in a quadruple-split window, as shown here. This presentation is actually a third document titled Compare Result.

The shameful changes show up here.

The shameful changes show up here.

Look it over! Peruse the changes made to your pristine prose by the barbarian interlopers: Scrolling is synchronized between all three documents: original, edited, and compared. Click a change in the Reviewing pane (shown on the left) to quickly see which part of your document was folded, spindled, or mutilated.

  • Changed text is highlighted in two ways: Added text is underlined. Removed text is shown in strikethrough style.

  • You can confirm or reject the changes in the Compare Result document just as you would when tracking changes manually.