How to diff Word documents

Buck Hodges

John Lawrence responded to someone’s question about how to diff MS Word documents, and I thought the answer would help a few more folks.

Team Foundation enables you to specify different diff and merge tools for different file types.

We don’t have a built in compare tool for .doc files but I did a quick search and found quite a few available for download (e.g. I don’t know if we have any specific recommendations.

I installed DiffDoc (because it was free… and configured it to be my diff tool for .doc files:

  1. Navigate to Tools->Options->Source Control->Visual Studio Team Foundation
  2. Click the Configure User Tools button
  3. In the dialog that pops up, click Add
  4. Enter ‘.doc’ (no apostrophes) in the Extension field to indicate you’re adding a comparison tool for .doc files
  5. For the Command field, click “…” and navigate to your diff tool exe (in my case “C:Program FilesSoftinterface, IncDiffDocDiffDoc.exe”)
  6. Then enter the command line parameters to drive your specific diff tool. %1 expands to be the original file, %2 expands to the new one. In this case, enter “/M%1 /S%2” in the Arguments text box (without the quotation marks).

That should do it – next time you try and view a diff of .doc files, it will launch this tool and you should be able to compare them.


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