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Pimp Your Work

Doh! Two Word docs and someone didn’t track changes, what now?

by Tris Hussey on March 30th, 2007

You can’t tell me this hasn’t happened to you.  You’re working on a document with folks and someone forgets to turn on “Track Changes”.  Now you have two docs and don’t know what’s different.  It can get worse if you’ve got several people working on the doc.  Let’s not go there right now.

What do you do?  Personally I’ve had okay results with Word’s build-in tool.  Lifehacker points to an article from Codejacked with some alternatives:

You can use a built-in comparison feature of Word itself, an external program like WinMerge, or go all command line on Microsoft’s butt and use catdoc in Cygwin. In the midst of editing chapter 10 of Lifehacker the book, I realized tracking changes wasn’t enabled, but I had great success using DiffDoc to re-track ‘em. — Gina Trapani
Source: Microsoft Word Tip: How to compare two documents for differences - Lifehacker

Looking at the alternatives, I’d suggest a pass.  This is “pimp your work” not “drive you nuts at work”.  The idea is to use tools that you already have and use them better.  I looked at what was suggested and really, it seems just way too intense.  That’s my gut feeling on it.  Yes, I know that the Word compare function has it’s issues.  And you have to make sure to get the order right.  However, it’s built into Word and it’s worth your time playing with it.  Take an old doc that you have lying around that you have a couple versions of.  See what happens.  Since it’s an old doc, and you’re going to make a copy for safety (yes, you are), you can experiment and get a feel for the tool without the pressure of having to get something out the door.

Playing with new tools on old, no-pressure docs is a great way to really boost your software skills.


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POSTED IN: Cool tools, Word, Cool downloads, MS Office, General work pimps

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