6 best document compare software to spot all the changes

Radu Tyrsina
by Radu Tyrsina
CEO & Founder
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  • If two or more persons are working on the same file, a document compare software becomes essential to keep track of all the changes.
  • A reliable document comparison tool scans documents within seconds, allows users to quickly spot the differences.
  • Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is one of the best software solutions you can use to compare documents. Check out the guide below for more document compare tools.
  • For more useful guides, visit our Document Management hub.
best document compare software

Programs that are able to compare documents obviously come in handy, and they can save your time and effort. The market is filled with such tools, and we picked five of the best tools for comparing two documents.

We recommend that you check out their extended set of features because they also include other really handy functionalities. After checking them out, you will be able to make an informed decision and pick the best program for comparing documents.

Best programs for comparing two documents

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC (suggested)

adobe acrobat pro dc compare documents

Adobe Acrobat Pro DC is an excellent tool to compare documents, and especially PDF files. You can use this feature to compare two different documents or multiple versions of the same document.

If several persons are working on the same document, keeping track of all the revisions can be quite difficult. With Acrobat Pro DC, you can quickly compare the text and other elements to quickly spot the differences.

You can visualize the files side by side to better identify the changes. Alternatively, you can also apply a series of filters so that Acrobat Pro DC highlights the changes regarding particular elements such as text, images, annotations, and more.

How to compare documents using Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

  1. Navigate to Tools
  2. Click on Compare Files
  3. In the left-hand pane, click on Select File to choose the file to compare
  4. Click on Select File this time in the right-hand pane to select the second document or the newer version of the same document
  5. Hit the Compare button to launch the comparison processadobe acrobat pro compare documents
  6. Select the Go to First Change option to review each different individually.

Download Adobe Acrobat Pro DC

ABBYY FineReader 14 (recommended)


Using this program, you will get the opportunity to find the differences in text between two versions of a document. This tool will eliminate the time-consuming line-by-line matching. The Compare Documents feature is able to identify the changes between the document’s versions in various file formats that include PDF, Word and more.

Check out the most impressive features that are included in this program:

  • With the help of ABBYY FineReader 14, you will be able to enjoy a comparison between files that will save you time and effort.
  • This software allows you to detect all the differences in a text between two versions of the same document in just a matter of seconds.
  • The software is incredibly intuitive, and you can use it to compare texts productively.
  • You will be able to compare two versions of a text across different file formats such as Microsoft Office files, PDFs, paper scans and more.
  • Of course, you will also be able to compare the same type of files.
  • ABBYY FineReader 14 supports text comparison in 35 languages, and the program is able to detect a document’s language automatically.
  • There will not be any change left to go unnoticed.
  • The changes are highlighted in the two documents, and they will be displayed side by side making them easy to notice.
  • Only the changes that affect the content meaning will be highlighted, and the irrelevant modifications are excluded.

The result can be saved in Word or PDF formats, and insignificant differences can be ignored and removed from the report before you finalize it.

You can check out more features that are included in this software and get the trial version by visiting ABBYY FineReader 14’s official web page following the link below.


This is a freeware visual file comparison tool that is able to detect file changes and more automatically. The freeware is compatible with Windows, and it’s ideal for file comparison. It is straightforward to use, and it comes with various functionalities that will turn out really useful.

Check out the best features that are included in this software below:

  • Using this software, you will be able to compare directories and binary files.
  • You can perform a three-way diff and merge, and you can also edit the files inside comparison panes.
  • You will get the ability to highlight diffs down the level of characters and words as well.
  • You can highlight syntax and ignore comments.
  • There will be no need to specify both filenames and all you have to do is enter a directory name for one of the files to be compared.
  • The software comes with an autopick feature in the Compare dialog box that is able to remember matching file pairs.
  • ExamDiff can automatically detect file changes and prompts the user to re-compare the files.
  • You will be able to use a drag and drop function for dropping one or two files into the software’s window.
  • The program comes with a fully customizable file extension filter.

The adjustable pane splitter with smooth synchronized scrolling will turn out a very useful feature.

You can check out more functionalities of this program by heading to ExamDiff’s official website.



WinMerge is an open source differencing and merging tool for Windows. The program is able to compare both folder and files and to present the differences in a visual text format that is effortless to understand and handle.

Check out the best features that are included in this software below:

  • WinMerge supports Windows, and it comes with a tabbed interface.
  • The program compares visual differencing and merging of text files.
  • This is a flexible editor with syntax highlighting, line numbers and word-wrap.
  • WinMerge is also able to show the differences in two vertical panes.
  • The location pane shows a map of the files that are being compared.
  • The regular expression based file filters allow excluding and including items.
  • The program is also able to compare one folder, and it can include all subfolders as well.
  • The results will be shared in a tree-style view.

Other essential features include shell integration, plugin support, localizable interface and an online manual as well.

To see even more features that come with this software you should go and check out WinMerge’s official webpage.

Araxis Merge


Araxis Merge comes in two editions, and it’s important to note that only the professional version provides a three-way comparison, three-way merging, and all related features. On the other hand, the standard edition is identical, but it features only two-way merging and comparison.

Check out more powerful functionalities that are included in this program:

  • A single license of the program will enable you to use both versions of Merge.
  • You will be able to compare huge files with the 64-bit version of the program, and you will also be able to take advantage of the massive amounts of memory that are available on the 64-bit systems.
  • You can identify removals, insertions, and all kinds of changes between various versions of source code, configuration files, text files and web files as well.
  • You can also compare and merge changes in two updated revisions of a file with their common ancestor.
  • The program offers you the possibility to save time by directly loading and comparing popular file formats.
  • You can also copy text from other apps and paste it into a Merge text comparison window.

To find out more features that are included in the extensive set of functionalities that come with this program, head to the Araxis Merge official website and check them out there.



GroupDocs allows developers to seamlessly enhance their web, desktop, and mobile apps as well having the ability to display, annotate, convert, compare, e0sign and also assemble documents.

Check out the best features that are included in the GroupDocs products family:

  • You will be able to get a difference summary report by comparing two versions of the same document using the file comparison API in any cross-platform app.
  • GroupDocs Comparison for .NET targets Windows forms and any type of app based on .NET Framework 2.0 or later versions.
  • You can download a free trial of this program just to see if it works for your needs.

For more information regarding the pricing plans of the software and the extended set of functionalities included in it, it’s best to visit the official website of GroupDocs and check them out.

These are five of the best options you have available for programs that are able to compare two documents. No matter which one turns out to be your choice, you will be able to enjoy a vast set of useful features while comparing your documents.

Make sure to visit the software’s official website to be able to analyze more details about the programs’ features.

FAQ: Learn more about file comparison

  • How can I compare two text files for differences?

To compare two text files for differences, install a tool that supports this feature such as Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, open the two files, and click on the Compare button to see the differences highlighted.

  • Can Word compare two documents?

Microsoft Word can compare two documents or text files. To compare documents in Word, open the respective documents, click on the Review tab and then click on the Compare button.

  • What is the best file comparison tool?

The best file comparison software that will save you a lot of time and boost your productivity are Adobe Acrobat Pro DC, ABBYY FineReader, ExamDiff, WinMerge, and Araxis Merge.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2019 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.