Collaboration is incredibly useful, but it can be tricky to manage. How can you keep track of what your colleagues have changed? And how do you know if they’ve gotten a little trigger-happy with the delete key? If they forget to hit ‘Track Changes’ then precious data, wording, or structure may be lost to the abyss. But did you know Microsoft Word has a handy feature that let’s you merge two versions of a document so you can keep all the information you need with minimal hassle?

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide to merging two versions of a document.

Step 1

Open both versions of the document and save them locally (preferably in the same folder, if you like things neat and tidy!).

Merge two versions of a document

Step 2

Go to your original document, then click on the Review tab at the top. Then, click on the little arrow under Compare, and select Combine.

Step 3

A dialog box will open. In the two fields at the top, enter the two different files that need combining. Make sure you show changes at character level and combine both in a New Document. You don’t need to modify the other options. Click OK.

Merge two versions of a document

Step 4

Using Accept and Reject, go through the different edits to select which versions you would like to keep.

Step 5

Once you’re done, you can save your file as the new version and speak sternly to your team about using Track Changes.

One final note on version control

This handy trick takes the fear out of collaborative work, but be aware that it’s only available in Microsoft Word. If you get your presentation outline into PowerPoint without any hiccups, you’ll have to rely on everyone’s favourite ‘Save As’ option to keep version control in line. Lots of companies have different ways of keeping this in check – some use the date, others use initials. We, however, think the simplest way to keep track is to use a numbering system beginning at 01. That way all of your files will display in order when you arrange them by name; if you edit a file twice in on one day it won’t get confused with another version; and you don’t have to work out whose initials are whose to find the last person who edited the file.

For an interesting approach to collaborative presentations, see what Hannah said about teamwork using Google Slides.

Leave a comment
Written by

Ingrid Mengdehl

Senior design consultant

View Ingrid Mengdehl's profile

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Join the BrightCarbon mailing list for monthly invites and resources

Tell me more!

This is awesome! You guys are great to work with and we will absolutely recommend you to others.

John Capuano Lone Beacon