How to Compare Documents in Google Docs

How to Compare Documents in Google Docs

Google Docs is rapidly moving up the ranks to give Microsoft Word stiff competition by constantly introducing new features. One of these recent additions is the ability to compare documents. This feature comes in handy when you are working collaboratively with other people on a document.


How to compare documents in Google Docs

The compare function will represent the changes made as suggestions, making it easier to create a final document. It’s a handy tool for teachers and editors to see what has changed by comparing before and after versions.

So, without further ado, let’s see how to compare documents in Google Docs.

Compare documents in Google Docs

For comparison, you’ll need two separate documents in Google Docs. If you want to compare it with a Word document, you will need to convert the DOCX document to GDOC format.

To note: Converting DOCX to GDOC may cause formatting issues.

Step 1: Open the document you want to compare in Google Docs. Now click on Tools on the top menu bar and select “Compare Documents”.

Compare documents in Google Docs


Compare documents in Google Docs

2nd step: In the pop-up window that appears, click on the ‘My Drive’ option to retrieve the comparison document.

Step 3: Find the comparison document using the four tabs (My Drive, Shared with Me, Favorites, or Recent) at the top. You can also use the search bar to quickly locate the file. Once you find the preferred document, select it and click Open.

Select a document to compare


Select a document to compare

Step 4: Now you will also have the option to assign differences to a specific user. It is convenient to collaborate on a document or if the original author of the document is someone other than yourself. To import the document with comments, check the box “Include comments from selected documents” and click Compare. Then click Open when the comparison is ready.

Compare Document pop-up window


Compare Document pop-up window

To note: The comparison time will vary depending on the size of the document. If it is a set of contracts or reports containing hundreds of pages, the comparison may take a little longer.

Then a new document will open in a separate tab showing you the differences between the two. In addition, Google Docs will automatically save it as “Comparison of” followed by the names of two documents.

See the comparison

In the compared document, you will see all the differences between the documents appear as highlighted text. For text that has been deleted from the document, you will see magenta colored bars over it.

In the right pane, you will be able to see the changes and the name of the person who made them. Each modification appears as a suggestion in the document. Conveniently, you can choose to accept or reject this change by clicking the check mark or the “X” mark in the right pane.

See your comparison


See your comparison

In addition to that, you can also view or add comments on a particular suggestion in the right pane. To add a comment, select the suggestion and the “Reply or add other people with @” box. This is useful for adding the reasons for the change.

Add comments on suggestions in Google Docs


Add comments on suggestions in Google Docs

Bonus: How to View Google Docs Version History

Besides the compare feature, Google Docs also has a great “Version History” feature similar to the “Revision History” feature in Microsoft Word. It allows you to find old versions of the document in case you want to review them.

Here’s how to revert to the previous version of a document.

Step 1: Open your Google Docs document. Now click on the File option in the top menu bar. Go to “Version history” then click on “View version history”.

Or, use the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + Shift + H to quickly open the version history.

Version history on Google Docs


Version history on Google Docs

2nd step: In the right pane, you will see the list of available document versions with date, time and author name. You can click on a particular version to view it. If you want to revert to a version of your choice, click on the three-dot menu icon and select “Restore this version” from the list.

Restore a version in Google Docs


Restore a version in Google Docs

Again, changes between versions are displayed as highlighted and strikethrough text. To remove them, uncheck the “Show changes” box. Additionally, you can rename a version by clicking on the three dot menu icon and selecting the “Name this version” option from the list.

Also on Guiding Tech

Understand the difference

While you can see the differences between multiple versions using version history, Google Docs takes it a step further with the ability to compare documents. And like most of the features in Google Docs, it’s pretty straightforward to use even if you’re using it for the first time.

Did you find this feature useful? If so, check out these Google Docs tips and tricks for using it like a pro.

Last updated on May 14, 2021

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