How to Compare Documents in Microsoft Word

In Brief...

It is often helpful to compare one version of a document to another to see what has changed. To compare two documents in Word, follow these four steps.

This feature works the same in all modern versions of Microsoft Word: 2010, 2013, and 2016.


  1. From within any Microsoft Word document (it does not have to be one of the ones you are comparing, but it can be), click on the Review tab and then click the Compare command.
    Compare Command

  2. Select Compare.
    Select Compare

  3. In the Compare Documents dialog box, do the following.
    • Choose the original and revised documents you wish to compare.
    • In the Label unmarked changes with boxes, Word will suggest who to attribute changes to. You can edit this if you want.
    • Under Comparison settings, deselect anything you do not wish to check. By default, Word checks for all types of changes. If necessary, click the More>> button to display the Comparison settings.
      Compare Documents Dialog Box
    • In the Show changes section, you can choose to show changes in the original document, the revised document or in a new document. The default selection is a new document.
      Show Changes Section

  4. Click OK to compare the documents. Differences will show up as tracked changes. The image below shows what they might look like.

Author: Dave Dunn

Dave Dunn joined Webucator as Chief Operating Officer in early 2009. He has served as a CFO and COO for numerous small and medium-sized companies, including Summit Software Company, Insight Research Group, Avalon Consulting, and HealthcareOne. He has expertise in business development, financial management, marketing and human resources and particularly enjoys working with rapidly growing companies.

Dave received his Bachelor of Arts from Hamilton College and his MBA from Syracuse University. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Montessori School of Syracuse since 2001.