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Did you know that Microsoft Word 2003 can compare two related but different documents and merge them nicely, creating a single document out of them?
What’s more, MS Word also gives you full manual control about the changes. You can accept or reject each change individually since they are all listed as red text balloons on the right margin of the new document, with the deleted items clearly linked to the exact location in the text where the change is made.
What’s important here is the ORDER in which the documents are merged and compared. MS Word will take the SECOND document as a base and will try to pour the FIRST document into the mold of the second one.
For example, let’s say we have two documents:
DOCUMENT A is a list of “10 things to do on Saturday.”
DOCUMENT B is a list of “5 things to do on Monday.”
Now, comparing and merging Doc A with Doc B will yield different results than comparing and merging Doc B with Doc A. (In the language of mathematics, the “compare and merge” operation is NOT commutative.)
If we first open Doc A and then select Tools > Compare and Merge Documents… and then browse and select Doc B and click the MERGE button, the merged document will have a list of 5 items.
If we first open Doc B and then select Tools > Compare and Merge Documents… and then browse and select Doc A and click the MERGE button, the merged document will have a list of 10 items.
By right-clicking on every change you can accept or reject Word’s suggestion.
This is a handy feature that can be useful in comparing two versions of the same document or two related lists with different features.