Google Docs gets a new feature to compare two documents
Google Docs, which started out as a pretty barebones online text editor back in 2009, has come a very long way since launch. While not as feature-rich as programs like Microsoft Word, Docs still boasts a wide range of capabilities. Given that Docs is primarily browser-based, Google has done a very good job of making a free product into an actually competitive word processing solution. The company is continuously adding to G Suite – the Office-esque bundle Docs is a part of – bringing it ever further forward.
The latest feature to be added to Docs is called “Compare Documents,” which allows users to compare two Google Docs inline. The feature is illustrated in the GIF below.
When you go to compare two docs, Google Docs will create a new document showing all existing suggested edits from both docs. Changes are highlighted in magenta, using strikethroughs and a sidebar showing who made what changes. The feature can be used, for example, by business users to track changes to contracts during negotiations. Or by educators to track revisions in essays.
Activating Compare Documents is easy. Open any Google Doc, which will become your “base” document. Then, from the toolbar, select Tools > Compare Documents. Choose whichever document you wish to compare against in the dialogue that comes up. For the “Attribute differences to field” option, enter the name of the user who will be labeled as the author of the suggested edits in the comparison output file. Finally, select “Compare.”
If you don’t see the Compare Documents option in the toolbar, it’s because Google hasn’t released the feature for all users yet. Rapid Release domains will be receiving the feature over a period of 15 days, starting June 11th, 2019. Scheduled Release domains will be receiving the feature over a period of longer than 15 days, and the rollout won’t be starting until June 25th, 2019. So it’ll likely be a while before most end users will get to see the feature.