How to compare documents in Google docs

How to compare documents in Google docs

The latest and the most useful feature in Google Docs is “Compare Documents,” which allows Google Docs users to compare two Google Docs inline. Yes! It’s now easier to compare two documents in Google Docs.

How to compare documents in Google Docs? Below are the quick steps to compare two documents in Google Docs.

  1. Open your Google Docs document.
  2. Click on the Tools –> Compare documents.
  3. Select the Comparision document –> Click on the Compare button to compare.

When you want to compare two docs, Google Docs will create a new document that shows all the already existing suggested edits from both docs. This feature will show you the differences between the Google Docs as “Suggested Edits” in a new document. The changes are highlighted in magenta, using strikethroughs and a sidebar displaying clearly what are the changes made by whom.

How to compare documents in Google Docs

To compare the documents in Google Docs, follow the below instructions to flawlessly use a comparison document tool.

  • First and foremost, launch the web browser and fire up the Google Docs home page.
  • Now open up an already existing document that you are going to compare.
  • Once you opened the document, click Tools > Compare Documents to run the comparison tool.
compare documents in Google docs
  • A dialog box will appear, that allows you to select another document for comparison with the first document that you have already opened up.
  • This dialog box has three components. First, an option to select the comparison document, the second one is to include the actual owner of the document, and the last one is to choose including comments or not.
compare docs online
  • Click on “My Drive” to pull up the file picker.
  • Navigate to the file you want to use.
  • Click on the file, and then select the “Open” button to choose the document.
  • The name you enter into “Attribute Differences To” will show the person who made the changes in the final document as an edit.
  • Enter your name and click “Compare” to let Google compares the document.
  • If you did choose the wrong document, simply click on the second file and choose the right one. The Compare button will not turn blue (enable) until you have selected a second document to compare.
  • The moment the comparison is ready, Google Docs will show you a message letting you know.
  • A dialog box displaying the message “Comparision is ready” will appear.
compare two documents in google docs
  • When you see this dialog box, click on “Open” to open the comparison document.
  • The compared document will open up as a third file with all the highlighted suggestions that appears in red color in the actual body of the document. And the information about who made the document will be displayed on the right side.
  • The changes made and the timing of the changes will also appear.
  • The new feature will even tell you what text was replaced and what it was replaced with.
  • Each edit will appear as a suggestion that gives you the option to accept or reject. You can either approve or disapprove by using the signs.
How to compare two documents in google docs
  • To keep it, click on the checkmark, or to reject click on the “X”.
  • You are the decision-maker who can decide whether to keep or dismiss the edit in the comments section that appears on the right side of the document.

This way, you can able to compare two versions of Google Docs documents.

Why do you use the compare document feature?

This feature makes it easy for complex editing situations and to catch plagiarism. Comparing two unique documents is the actual purpose of why a comparison document tool is created.

Beyond simply comparing documents, the compare document tool is also used for complex editing situations.

Teachers and even Professors can use it to compare different essays and other assignments, to check if any of the students have copied them from somewhere. This ensures teachers and other educators save time when grading marks for students.

Business users and owners can use these Google Docs compare tools during contract negotiations to compare the terms that have changed during the negotiation process and to make a comparison between the initial version of the document with the final version.

Sometimes, you might notice that the “Compare Documents” feature is greyed out, or that Google docs compare documents is disabled.

compare documents in google docs greyed out

The issue could be due to the below reason.

The document you have opened might not be in Google Docs format. Could be a docx file.

Or, Your Google Docs document is an empty document.

To fix this issue, follow the below steps

  • Now Click on File > Save as Google Docs to save the document in Google Docs format.
  • Once, you will save the document in Google Docs format, the document will open in a new tab in Google Docs format. Now, you will find the “Compare Documents” feature is enabled for you.


Why compare documents in Google Docs?

Sometimes, it is quite difficult to find out the very minute differences between the two documents. It is easy to see different revisions in your documents by using the Version History (revision history) feature.

But it is really hard to compare an old document with a new one, especially, in a scenario, when your investor or client is trying to track changes, it will be very difficult.

To overcome this issue, Google has come out with a unique feature called “Compare Documents” which helps you to solve this type of problem in an efficient manner. It has multiple features, you can also able to track what has changed in a contract document. etc.

Who has access to compare documents?

Answer: The feature “compare document” can be used only by the document’s owner and those users who have edit access to Google Docs.

What are all the changes not tracked by the “compare document” feature in Google Docs?

Answer: There are two changes that can’t be tracked by the “compare document” feature in google docs. They are

  • Changes to column layout
  • Changes to table column width.


This web-enabled application enables users to generate and edit files online that can be collaborated with other consumers in real-time. The compare document feature in Google Docs helps you to easily compare documents in Google Docs thus a boon for users of Google Docs. We have also discussed here, the below topics.