Comparing Documents That Look Alike

By Ian Darke

Have you ever found yourself with two versions of a file on your computer, and you can’t remember which is the most up-to-date? 

Two invaluable features for writers and editors in Microsoft Word are Track Changes and Compare. Track Changes is practical when two or more people are collaborating. You can track all revisions and enter editorial comments. Click on the Review tab, then turn on the Track Changes feature. As the document is revised or edited, the changes will be automatically noted.

But what if Track Changes isn't used? The handy Compare feature is located under Review (or Tools). Enter the location of the two documents, and the program automatically creates a third document highlighting the differences. You can choose which of the two original documents to keep, or create a third document.

Text editors, journaling software, word processors and writers’ tools are available in abundance for both PCs and MACs. Of course, there is no reason why you shouldn’t use Word or Pages, but sometimes they may seem too heavy weight to jot down ideas or develop an article.