Writing - Written by on Tuesday, January 18, 2011 5:49 - 0 Comments

Create a Track Changes Document by Comparing Two Microsoft Word Files

While collaborating with others or making many revisions to your paper, one of the most convenient features in Microsoft Word is the ability to track changes. The Track Changes feature allows you to keep track of your additions, deletions, and notes while editing a paper. However, if you or someone else didn’t track changes during the last editing session, you can create your own tracked changes document using Word’s Compare feature.

To create a tracked changes document, you need to compare two files: the original (before editing) and the revised (after editing). Using these two files, Microsoft creates a third document that is identical to the revised file except it has the tracked changes markups in it.

Suppose you have two files, one named mypaper1.docx (the original file before editing) and mypaper2.docx (the revised file after editing). You want to create a tracked changes document that shows the editing changes that took place in the creation of the mypaper2.docx file.

Open up Microsoft Word and click on the Review tab on the Ribbon. Locate a section of the Ribbon labeled Compare and click on the Compare button. In the drop down menu, click on Compare.

Compare Documents in Microsoft Word

You should now be looking at the Compare Documents window. Locate the section labeled Original Document and use the Browse for Original button (picture of a folder) to select the original document (mypaper1.docx in this example). Locate the section labeled Revised Document and use the Browse for Revised button (picture of a folder) to select the revised document (mypaper2.docx in this example).

Select Original and Revised Documents in Microsoft Word

Click the OK button and Microsoft Word will immediately open a new file that shows the tracked changes between the original and revised documents. Once you save the document with a new name, you will have an edited document just as if the Track Changes feature of Microsoft Word were turned on during the creation of the revised document.

Create a Track Changes Document in Microsoft Word

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John GargerJohn Garger is a copy editor, proofreader, dissertation coach, researcher, writer, and entrepreneur living in upstate New York, USA.

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