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Microsoft Word includes two powerful features that let you compare versions of a document. The first, the Legal Black Line Compare feature, compares two documents and then opens a third new document to show you the changes between the two. The two original documents are not changed. The second feature, Combine, compares changes from a number of reviewers. You use the Combine feature to incorporate revisions from different authors into one document.
So first, let's take a look at the Compare feature. On the Review tab, in the Compare group, let's choose Compare. We are going to choose a policy that we sent out for review and the policy that was returned to us from our lawyers. So, we are going to select our original document, which is the Current Policy in our Exercise Files in Chapter 12. Now, we'll Browse and go choose the Legal Review that was sent back by our attorney.
We're just going to put Legal here for how we'll label the changes. So, the Current Policy is the Original, the Legal Review is the Revised document. We are going to say OK. Word is going to compare these two documents. Here, we see the Revised Document that was sent back by Legal. Here, we can see the document that it's been compared to. There were total of 10 revisions made, 4 insertions and 6 deletions and we can easily see those. Now, we want to be able to take this document and save it, so that our internal people could review it.
When we do that, what will be saving is we will be saving this Compared Document along with all of the changes. So, we'll choose File, and we'll save this. It asks where we want to save it, and it's picking up, of course, SECTION 1 right here. We're going to say "Original Policy with comments from legal," just like that, and Save this document. So, rather than having someone look at each document and decide what's different, Word can do this for you.
Now if we wanted to, we could also simply go through this Compared Document and accept all the changes or reject them. We can proceed at that point. But let's send it out and have our internal folks review that first. I am going to close this document. We are now going to take a look at the second comparison feature. That's called Combine. Combine has a slightly different use because the assumption here is that we have different people who reviewed a document without having track changes on. It might be that we asked them to review it, and they each took a copy and made their own versions or their own changes, or it might be that at the same time one or more authors spontaneously reviewed some content.
But what they are sending you back is their finished version, not a version that includes markup. So, it's hard for us to know what it is they changed. The Combine feature will allow us to make the comparison. It will allow us to create one single document that shows everybody's proposed edits. So, let's start by choosing Combine, and then were going to choose our Original document. In this case, what we want is we want the original Story of Two Trees that's currently in our draft employee handbook, and that was created by our marketing department.
This is simply the original Draft. Now, two people have looked at this document and reviewed it. The first person who did a review of this document was Hector. So he has some edits that we'd like to incorporate. We are simply going to mark his as being changes that came from our Director of Operations, Hector. I'm going to say OK. Automatically, we create this Combined Document here, where Hector has made some specific changes, adding the word "extra fine" before olive oil, for example, updating the number of employees, because as Operations director, he has a handle on that, then adding some simple text, replacing an ampersand and so on.
So, we can save this document if we wish. So, we'll save this as our "Draft Story with Hector Edits," or we could save this as any other name we wish. Now, we are going to combine again. So, the first document we want to use in combination is the document that's currently on the screen: "Draft Story with Hector Edits." So, I'm going to Browse and select that again. We will mark this as Draft.
Then I'm going to Browse and select Maria Ann's edits and mark her's with her initials. So, now what we have is one document that shows the insertions and deletions by both Hector and Maria Ann. For example, Maria Ann suggested the addition of "a small village in central Italy." Hector suggested the insertion of "extra" in front of "fine olive oil." Items that were deleted from the Draft, for example the 3000 to 3200 change here, show as Deleted from the Draft.
But mostly, this is a conversation between Hector and Maria Ann about this document. Between the two of them, they've created a very interesting document that's a fine story that we can forward. But it's worthwhile now, since they've done their work separately, to actually take this document and save this combined result of both authors working on the document. We can then circulate that back to both authors and get their final sign-off on this before we print copies of the new employee handbook.
So, I'm going to Save this document. We'll save this as "Story with all comments." After, it's been circulated and people send me back their comments one more time, we can go through and Accept or Reject all of the comments to create our final version of this document. The Compare and Combine features are two of Word's most powerful but least used collaboration features.
Anytime you forget to turn on Track Changes, or someone spontaneously offers you a new version of a document, don't despair. You can always use either Compare or Combine to view or integrate changes from one or more authors or reviewers to create one final document.
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