There are certain features in Google Docs that everybody seems to know about, yet there are others which are hardly known. One such hardly known feature will be helpful for times when you need to revise a document. It’s built right into Google Docs and allows a user to look at two versions of the same document side by side and compare them. Google Docs highlights all of the differences so that it’s super simple to see. To give you an example of how this works, I went to Wikipedia and pulled up the entry for “Steve Jobs.” Wikipedia keeps an archive of changes that have been made, so I pulled up two different versions of the article and copied a paragraph that had been changed. Here’s how it worked for me using Wikipedia:

  • First I opened up a new document and pasted one version of the Steve Jobs article. Then I saved it.
  • Next I went back to Wikipedia and pulled up an earlier version of the same article and then went back to the original document I had created and pasted the new content over the previous content. Then I saved it.
  • Finally, I went to the Revision tab in Google Docs and selected the two different file versions (they list them based upon the time it was changed) and clicked “compare checked.” The results I received are displayed below:

google docs comparison

At first glance, it looks like a bunch of gibberish, but it’s actually not. I’ll point out that there were only two minor variations between the two different revisions.  The first was in the first paragraph where it says “Jobs was born in New York…” Notice that starting with New York, a whole paragraph is crossed out? Now look to where it says “San Francisco” highlighted in green. This was the first variation. It reads, “Jobs was born in San Francisco” (not New York). Most of the third paragraph is crossed out because it reads exactly the same as the 2nd paragraph.

Of course the example I gave using Wikipedia isn’t exactly realistic, but it helped demonstrate the feature. Using this comparison tool would be useful if you had two versions of a single document that you wanted to compare and revise.

Source: Digital Inspiration