One way to compare two Google Docs documents is to open them in two separate browser windows, place them side-by-side, and sift through them to find the differences. However, as you can imagine, this approach works fine for small documents, and you’ll start struggling soon if you were to use it to compare long documents or ones with too many revisions.

compare documents in google docs

Fortunately, Google has a feature in Docs to help you in such situations. It’s called Compare Documents, and it lets you compare two Docs documents to track the changes made to them over time and the name of the person who made them.

Follow along as we guide you through the steps to use the Compare Documents feature to compare documents in Google Docs.

How to Compare Two Documents in Google Docs Using Compare Documents

Google Docs’ Compare Documents feature works with two documents. As such, you need to choose two documents. The first document you choose serves as the base document, while the second one serves as the reference document.

Follow these steps to use Compare Documents to compare two Docs documents:

  1. Go to Google Docs and log in to your account.
  2. Open one of the documents you want to compare. This will be the base document for your comparison.
  3. Click on Tools in the Docs toolbar and select Compare Documents. If the button is grayed out, make sure both your documents are Google Docs documents.
    enabling compare documents feature in google docs
  4. In the Compare Documents dialog box, tap the selection box under Select the comparison document and choose the other document, i.e., the document against which you want to compare the base document you chose earlier.
    selecting second document for comparison
  5. Click on the Attribute differences text box and enter the name of the user who will be labeled as the author of the edits in the comparison file you’re about to create.
  6. Hit Compare.
    running a comparison on two google docs documents

Wait for a few seconds for Google Docs to process both documents. When done, you’ll see a dialog box that says Comparison is ready. Click Open in this box, and a new comparison document will open in a new browser tab with a title that starts with “Comparison of” followed by the name of both your documents.

In this comparison report, you’ll see all differences between the two documents highlighted in maroon using strikethroughs. Look to the right; there will be a sidebar with all the edits made to the document since its creation.

google docs comparison tool highlighting differences between two documents

On each suggestion, you’ll see two options: Accept Suggestion and Reject Suggestion. If you like an edit suggestion, click on Accept Suggestion next to it, and the edit will be applied to your document. On the other hand, if you feel an edit suggestion isn’t worth adding, hit Reject Suggestion to remove it.

Additionally, if you want to comment on a suggestion, click on it, enter your message in the comment, and hit Reply. Or, to invite other people to check out a suggestion, simply tag the user by typing their name, like this @username, and hit Reply.

commenting / inviting others to check a suggestion

Identify Changes Between Documents Easily Using Google Docs Comparison Tool

If you use Google Docs to write essays, scripts, and assignments or simply to collaborate with others, you’ll, at some point, want to compare two documents, perhaps to check for differences or to identify duplicates.

Whatever the reason, Google Docs’s comparison feature can come in handy here. And by using it efficiently, you can easily compare two documents and track all the changes made to your documents over time efficiently.

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