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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Compare documents: 97 vs. XP (2002)

    I've had Office XP for a while but up until recently I stuck to 97 to ensure maximum compatibility and avoid dealing with more learning curves than necessary.

    To save hard drive space on my laptop I only installed XP. Now I find that Word 2002 does a very poor job at comparing documents: it shows whole paragraphs, even whole chapters, as if they were completely different, i.e. the whole paragraph is marked as new and the whole old paragraph is marked as deleted, when in fact there are only a few minor differences (e.g. plurals, or capitalization). I've tried doing the comparison on text documents to make sure the formatting wasn't getting in the way (tables have been a nightmare), but that doesn't seem to work.

    My solution for now was to go back to 97 - installed on another PC - and it worked a charm.

    Does anyone know of any way to get this feature to work properly in 2002? I don't really want to have to rely on 97 forever...

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: Compare documents: 97 vs. XP (2002)

    If you really need accurate document comparison, you'll probably have to get a third-party comparison utility - there will probably be other Loungers who can provide recommendations.

    (I generally find the comparison feature in Word 2002 adequate, but my needs are simple)

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Compare documents: 97 vs. XP (2002)

    I remember this regression was introduced in Word 2000. I assumed it had something to do with the major changes to tables. I haven't done any comparisons recently to say whether Word 2003 or Word 2007 is better. Meanwhile, if you are looking into third party products, I copied this from an April thread:
    <UL>These are the principal products I hear about:

    Workshare Deltaview from Workshare Technologies
    http://www.workshare.com/products/wsdeltaview/

    Long available only through site licensing the company has bowed to demand and introduced individual licensing. Prices are, um, not low, but people say this is the gold standard. An upmarket product named Workshare Professional has been introduced, but I don't understand the differences.

    Diff Doc from SoftInterface
    http://www.softinterface.com/MD/Document-C...on-Software.htm

    Program caught on when LEXIS-NEXIS discontinued CompareRite and Workshare was charging a fortune. Prices are about the same as for Deltaview.[/list]Earlier this year, someone asked about iRedline, but no one had tried it yet.

    There are various freeware/open source comparison tools, but all the ones I've used are oriented toward text files and will not preserve Word formatting.

  4. #4
    Lounger
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    Re: Compare documents: 97 vs. XP (2002)

    Thanks for the info.

    I would love recommendations for a free or reasonably cheap text-only comparison tool, if usable (I have ExamDiff, for instance, but it only compares whole paragraphs as far as I can tell - useful for code, I guess, but I need to see changes in phrasing).

    I guess I'll have to make do with my old Word97 install to check for format changes whenever I spot Word 2002 highlighting whole paragraphs as new when I know the changes have been minor. I don't do this often enough to spend 200 dollars or more.

    DiffDoc costs 199 a pop for the standard version, which lacks many features; DeltaView has been subsumed into a far more expensive product, Workshare Professional ($419 for a lifetime license, or $472.50 for a 3-year subscription) and iRedline doesn't even give pricing info on its website and apparently requires you to schedule an online demo before prices even get discussed. iRedline does provide a broken link to a comparison article (no direct comparison, though - 3 separate users each discuss the product they use). I managed to google the stored HTML version, though. That article mentions another product called ChangePro , but that's 300 bucks for a single-user license.

    Thought this info might help others...

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Compare documents: 97 vs. XP (2002)

    For text file comparison, you could try GrigSoft CompareIt! I tried it a couple years ago with some very large files and it did a pretty good job. The comparison format is an HTML document that will show changed areas side-by-side. More info here: Compare It! 3.0.

    More recently I've used the open source program WinMerge, but the version I have does not offer any useful output format. Perhaps it has been updated since then? (Try http://winmerge.org/)

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