Oops, I forgot to track changes – how to compare documents in Word

Hilary Cadman Update Leave a Comment

It is easy to get part way through a project and suddenly realise that you forgot to turn on Track Changes. Or perhaps you turned off tracking partway through for some reason and forgot to turn it back on.

In such situations, Word’s Compare function is your friend. It’s a neat way to create a new document that includes all your tracked changes. Comparing documents in Word can also be helpful if someone has sent you a revised document where they haven’t used Track Changes to make their edits (yikes!).

Here, I’ll take you step by step through the process of creating a document with your changes tracked.

  1. Go to the Review tab in Word and click on the arrow under Compare, then from the list that appears, select the Compare… option.

  2. The Compare documents box will open – simply click on the folder icon to select first your original document (on the left) and then your edited document (on the right).
  3. Before clicking ‘OK’, you can choose:
    • how you want to label the changes in the revised document
    • what changes you want to show (one that I usually untick is ‘Formatting’)
    • where you want the changes to show (I recommend putting them into a new document).
  4. If you had any tracked changes in either document, Word will give you the message shown below. Just click ‘Yes’ to continue with the comparison.
  5. Word opens a new document with your changes tracked.

So, a quick solution to that annoying problem of forgetting to track your changes is to simply compare documents in Word. And of course, a great way to remember to Track Changes is to pop the shortcut on the Quick Access Toolbar, where it will light up if tracking is turned on.


If you’re keen to learn more about tools to help you save time and improve the quality of your editing, you might like to take a look at my courses in PerfectIt, EndNote and a variety of editing tools. You can also book a coaching call with me to hone your skills in MS Word or EndNote.

Hilary CadmanOops, I forgot to track changes – how to compare documents in Word

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.