How to Merge Word Documents and Track Changes


Combining multiple revisions of a source document into a new, single document is a potentially difficult task, especially for large documents and those with many revisions. Word's document merge and change-tracking features simplify this task by scanning through the revisions and original document, then logging each deletion or insertion made to the original. When working on a document over a period of time, use Word's merge and change-tacking features on a regular basis, to keep the red reviewing marks that Word displays to a manageable number.

  • Open any existing Word document, then make any change to it. For example, your original document could contain the sentence "Jack and Jill went up the hill." You might change this to "Jack and Jill climbed the bluff." The shorter the original document and the fewer the number of changes you make to it, the easier it will be to see the effect of merging the documents.

  • Click the Office button, then click the "Save As" item. Type a new name for the document, then click "Save" to save it. You now have two different versions of the document, which you'll now merge and track changes from.

  • Click the "Review" menu heading, then click the "Compare" button in the "Compare" panel. Click the "Combine" item. Word will display a dialog box allowing you to select the two documents to merge.

  • Click the name of the original file in the left dropdown box, then click the name of the revised document in the right box.

  • Click the dropdown box labeled "Display for Review" in the top right corner of the "Tracking" panel. This box lets you choose which versions of the document to view, and whether to track changes made to the original document.

  • Click the "Final showing markup" item. Word will display your revision to the document, along with crossed out and underlined words. The crossed out words show the words in the original document that you deleted. The underlined words show the words you added. These two sets of red-colored words make up all the changes that Word has tracked.

  • Click the Office button, then click the "Save" item. Type a name for the new document, which contains the original document merged with its revision.

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