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Saturday, November 9, 2013

Comparing Documents Of Any Type Side-by-Side

As a writer, I've often felt the need to have two documents side by side. I generally copy/paste all my research onto a Word document. I compare this with my final draft just to ensure I won't be accused of plagiarism.

Opening two adjacent documents for comparison is very easy to do in Word. Just install the view side by side icon to your Quick Access bar. Here are the steps.

Comparing Two Word Files
1. File - options - Quick Access Toolbar. (You can also do this by clicking on the dropdown arrow in your quick access tool bar).
2. From the drop down list, choose 'All Commands'. Scroll down the list until you locate 'view side by side'.
3. When you click on it, the 'Add' button is activated. When you hit 'Add' the 'view side by side' icon gets transferred to the 'Customize Quick Access Toolbar' column.
4. Now click 'ok'. You'll now find the icon in the  Quick Access Toolbar of your Word Document.

You can just click on this icon whenever you want to compare two active (activate a document by clicking at any point inside it) documents.

Comparing Two Excel Files
In Excel, the steps are slightly different.

A.  For viewing different sheets from the same workbook side by side
  1. Open the View Tab 
  2. From the Windows Group, first select 'New Window' and then click on 'Arrange All' and choose the 'vertical' radio button.
  3. These activities activate the view side by side icon. Click on it. You can now choose the sheets you want to compare by clicking on the names of the sheets. Multiple sheets can be viewed simultaneously this way.
B. For comparing sheets from different work books 
  1. Open the workbooks from the 'File Menu'.
  2. From the Windows Group of the View tab choose 'view side by side'. That's it.
C. For easy comparison of any two windows

When I am writing for clients, I put all my notes on a Google doc and share it with them. The clients use this for input and instructions. I cross out the notes in the Google doc as I cover them in my Word Document. So, I need the Google doc and the Word file side by side.

There have been occasions when I've had to copy the contents of a small segment in an Excel file to a table in Word. In an effort to have the relevant portions of both documents easily readable, I used to do a lot of resizing.

Is it possible to have an Excel file and a Word document or for that matter any two windows from different applications side by side for easy comparison, without having to constantly resize? Yes. It's easy and unbelievably quick.
  1. Open the first application and click inside it to activate it. Now hold down the Windows Logo key and simultaneously press the left arrow button on your keyboard. Your document obligingly moves over to occupy the left half of your screen. 
  2. Now open the next application and activate it. Hold down the Windows Logo key and simultaneously press the right arrow to delegate the file to the right side of your screen.  
Makes life easier doesn't it?