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  1. #1
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    Compare Documents/ Merge Documents (97Sr2)

    I am trying to figure out the best way to merge documents/track changes when one of the reviewers didn't use track changes. I understand about compare documents, but when I use that (and I followed the MSK instructions), it seems that it doesn't mark the changes properly if the changed part is in a table.

    For instance, Original Document has Jan 2003 in a table cell.
    Reviewer one changed it to November 2003.
    After compare documents, the entire row was deleted and then reinserted with Jan 2003.

    When comparing documents, I thought you opened the original and then found the document to compare it to. Not the other way around. Start with the original, right? I've tried it both ways, and yet it doesn't seem to be working right.

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    Re: Compare Documents/ Merge Documents (97Sr2)

    Melanie,

    I haven't really had to use the Compare Documents feature in a while, but I think you open the Revised document first and compare to the Original from there.

    The behavior you're reporting with changes in tables is the way the Compare Documents feature marks revisions in tables - if there is as much as one revision in a cell, the entire row gets marked as changed - this does leave a lot to be desired, particularly when you can mark an individual change in a cell when using track changes manually.

    If you need to do a lot of these compares, best bet is to get hold of DeltaView - this will do what you want and give you a lot more flexibility. The output comparison file can be saved as a Word document, so reviewers don't need to have DeltaView installed in order to review the compared document.

    Gary

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    Re: Compare Documents/ Merge Documents (97Sr2)

    Hi Melanie:
    Gary is correct--compare documents compares the document in memory (the open one) with a document on disk. The revision marks are added to the document in memory (the open one). Therefore, the revised document should be the one that is opened.

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    Re: Compare Documents/ Merge Documents (97Sr2)

    Do NOT trust Word doc compare! It just does not work, especially if track changes has ever been turned on in one of the two documents.
    When I have to do a comparison, I save the files as WordPerfect 10 wpd files, then use WordPerfect to compare them. WordPerfect document compare works fine using any version from 8 up. (This is a Corel product and is not too expensive).
    I have also heard that doing the same thing with pdf files and using Adobe Acrobat to compare the pdf files will work. (The main program, not the viewer).
    There is also a program called CompareRite which used to be sold by Lexis but no longer is. I understand it will work with Word 97 but not necessarily when you have big tables. It converts both documents to rtf before comparing them and in the process strips out a few of the problems in the Word files. This program was mainly used by law firms and I have been looking for a copy. There should not be any copyright problems since Lexis has abandoned the product. If you find a copy, please let me know! There also are some high end document comparing programs that are only sold on a site basis to corporations and big law firms, I believe the minimum purchase is $800 or so for 10 seats. I assume you would not be interested in that. I mention that only to prove to you that Word doc compare does not work. If it did, big law firms would not be paying big bucks for a third party solution.

    There is a 1999 article called the Ten Commandments of Comparison of a Legal Document in Word 97 at www.microsystems.com/publications.htm

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    Re: Compare Documents/ Merge Documents (97Sr2)

    What an inspiration, using WordPerfect to compare. Of course, I don't have WP (unless you count version 5.1 for DOS and Windows)... how does it mark inserts and deletes, and does that convert back to "tracked changes" in Word?

    As for why law firms use the expensive DeltaView product, it seems that there is no competition in the market for comparison software that hooks in nicely with document management systems... maybe the OpenOffice.org folks should get to work on that. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Compare Documents/ Merge Documents (97Sr2)

    You can customize the markings. I think the default is strikeout for deleted and double underline for added. It also can mark moves, which I don't think Word even attempts. In fact, if I recall correctly, Corel bought the markup engine for WordPerfect from CompareRite or somebody like them, which is why WordPerfect works so well. (Never get a lawyer started on Word vs. WordPerfect unless you have several hours available for the discussion).

    I don't actually compare two docs much anymore because if Track Changes has been used from day one on a contract, it has more or less the same functionality. The tracked changes do get confusing after a while and my preference is to have a set of versions with just the changes, for instance, from version 5 to version 6; whereas with Track Changes the changes from version 1 to version 2 are still there and not easy to distinguish. That can be done, of course, by accepting changes before the next round of tracked changes.

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