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The document review scenario has been significantly improved in Word 2007. It's pretty straightforward and powerful technology once you have the basic idea.
So let's start with getting a grasp around the difference between Word's two document review options: compare and combine. While they both tell you what changed in a document, there is a fundamental difference in the end goal they were each designed for. Compare tells you what changed where as combine tells you who changed what.
This enables two fundamental document review scenarios:
Note: The 'version' related buttons in screen shot above is feature of Word 2007 that becomes available when working with documents stored on SharePoint 2007. They allow you to easily see what's changed between versions of the document saved on SharePoint.
Continuing these scenarios, once you've decided what you want to do and click Compare or Combine, you are provided with a detailed set of options for what you want to see or track.
The 'Label changes with' box enables you to change the name that will be attributed to the revisions (imagine that your assistant is the one working with the document but you want the changes attributed to you) and the rest of the dialog enables you ignore or track a myriad of Word constructs (all those checkboxes), specify the granularity of revisions ('Show changes at'), and the context of the changes ('Show changes in').
After you click OK, you see a tri-pane view that shows the resulting document along with the source documents. A 'reviewing pane' can also be used to show all the differences between the two documents in a simple summary view. All views scroll synchronously. I.e. You scroll in the middle pane, and the other two panes scroll accordingly. You can then accept or reject changes in the resulting document and get on with your day.
The new Tri-pane review panel of Office Word 2007 (Compare )
(Combine showing attributed changes)
This is the basic idea but if you play around there is even more goodness.
-Reed and Jonathan
This has always been a mystery to me. I send a docx to A and B. Both edited and I combine. How then could Word tell whether a paragraph is added by A or deleted by B? Yet a handful of experiements show that apparently Word can really distinguish between the two...
Well, you say “Combine: You send a document to 10 people. You need to know exactly who did what”. But I don’t understand how can I combine 10 documents, while the Combine Documents dialog box enables me to open only two (original & revised)? Thanks a lot
Great question Mona. You are correct, the combine dialog only allows you to combine two documents. In the ‘send the document to 10 people scenario’ you can use combine to on the first two versions you get back, save the “Combined Document”, and then combine that combined document with the third version you get back…and so on until the 10th version is combined. -Jonathan (MS)
@Alex, this post explains the magic that allows Word to know which changes came from which editing session:
blogs.msdn.com/.../what-s-up-with-all-those-rsids.aspx If you're tracking changes when you edit, then there's even more information included in the XML stream, including the user name and a timestamp.
You say "The 'version' related buttons in screen shot above is feature of Word 2007 that becomes available when working with documents stored on SharePoint 2007." is there a way to get this fuctionality without SharePoint, I would like to be able to make changes to a document and keep different versions, as you could in 2003, is that possible in 2007?
Hi Richard – Unfortunately not. We removed Word’s versioning feature in the 2007 edition. Checkout the following link for more info: office.microsoft.com/.../HA102193321033.aspx -Jonathan(MS)
Well Sharing information on Comparing Documents. Very Nice review.
This is all great news, but there's an important point that may be overlooked- especially when combining 3 or more documents (as Mona mentioned). What is Word to do when multiple editors have edited(differently) the exact same word in the source doc? Whose edit makes it into the final version?
Yes, you can combine doc A and doc B, resave as doc C. Then combine doc C with doc D, save. Move on to doc E, etc.
You'd have to save your "favorite" editor for last in this sequence, though.
Example: editor A changes "good" to "best." Then editor B changes "good" to "spectacular." In the comparison doc, editor B's edit 'wins' over editor A's. Then, editor C comes along- he has changed "good" to "wonderful." His edit now wins over editor B. And this will continue until the last editor's changes are incorporated. Editor Z's edit will remain in the final document, even if he made the mistake of changing "good" to "terrible."
Any ideas how to overcome this?
I'd like to see answer to petegrille33. And if there is a way to revert back or recover the original after its been saved, in the event D's version is the one that should have won.
Modified pictures are not detected by the compare function.
Are there other limits in this process ?