chapter 5: comments, change tracking, and versions 189
The merging process described earlier in this chapter works well if all documents
have been edited using Word’s change-tracking feature. But often enough, you wind
up with two drafts of a document, one of which has been edited (by you or some-
body else). Word’s Compare Documents feature can help you see where edits have
been made—a feature that has saved the bacon of more than one lawyer in back-
and-forth contract negotiations.
To use it, round up both the edited version and your original or master copy and
proceed as follows:
1. Open the changed copy of the document. Choose Tools→Track Changes→ Com-
Word opens the Choose a File dialog box. Here’s where you select the original
document—the one you want to compare the edited version to. The original
could be the one that’s never been edited, or one that’s been edited with change
tracking or even merged. Just make sure that you’ve reviewed it and accepted or
rejected all tracked changes before you begin the comparing process.
2. When you locate the original version of the document, double-click it.
Word compares the two documents. Their differences are depicted as tracked
changes in the ﬁrst document you opened. In other words, text that’s in the ed-
ited version but not in your original appears in color and underlined; text that
somebody deleted from the edited version appears with strikethrough lettering.
If there were already tracked changes in either of the documents, Word ignores them
and gives priority to the actual, unmarked text. If either of the documents has
untracked changes, Word asks before proceeding with the comparing process. Usu-
ally, you’ll want to click OK and go ahead. The unmarked changes may be edits you
made to the document while you were writing it, before you started the reviewing
The File→Versions command performs a kind of temporary Save, by creating a snap-
shot of your document at a moment in time—without actually creating a new docu-
ment. All versions of a document are stored in the same ﬁle on your hard drive with
the same ﬁle name; even though it may contain eleven different drafts, you still see
only a single icon in the Finder.
Saving versions, in other words, creates listings in the Versions dialog box, not sepa-
rate document ﬁles. Thus, you can save as many versions as you like without losing
them or creating a mass of documents on your hard drive.