Comparing two documents to figure out the changes between them can be a time-consuming task. Especially when the documents run across several pages. Imagine having to compare documents side-by-side using two monitors?
When your work involves comparing documents as a part of a structured review, every change matter.
Earlier we have shared a detailed guide on the best software to compare two documents. However, if you are explicitly looking for PDF comparison software, this is the guide you need.
The tools listed in this article help you analyze and compare two PDF documents in no time. Some of the tools also offer merge functionality.
While all the tools are capable of PDF documents, you can use these tools to compare other types of documents when supported.
- Price – Free trial / Premium starts at $169
ABBY FineReader is a powerful document comparison tool that supports multiple file formats. It is a premium tool, but you can try the free trial for a limited time to try the software without any risk.
One interesting feature offered by ABBY FineReader is the ability to compare two files of two different format.
For example, you can compare a PDF file and a Word document of the same file side-side by the side without having to convert it to one specific file format.
ABBY FineReader also offers document editing and conversion feature. You can edit scanned images or PDF Files and any necessary information or correct typos directly from the ABBY FineReader editor.
The scanned documents and images can be converted into multiple formats including Word, Excel, searchable PDF and more.
In addition, ABBY FineReader comes with proofreading feature, and it can recognize decorative fonts for accurate results and support for creative Ebooks by converting the documents to EPUB and FB2 format.
ABBY FineReader is a robust document comparison tool. While the price tag is little on the higher side, it can be justified with the features on offer.
KIWI PDF Comparer
- Price – Free / Premium
KIWI PDF Comparer is a PDF document comparison software that comes in both free and paid version. The software can be used to detect changes in text and images. It can also show differences in movements, insertion and deletion and more.
If you don’t want to compare a complete PDF file, you can specify a region and KIWI will only compare the documents for changes in that region. It is a cross-platform program; as a result, you can run it on Windows, macOS and Linux computers.
It comes with two comparison modes, Text compare, and Compare Pixel to Pixel. The first one finds matches and differences in text and image files irrespective of the page. The Pixel to Pixel compare finds different between pages like they are images.
On the customization front, you can leave header, side margins, and footers from comparison and also select what pages to compare in case the document has multiple pages.
The software is easy to use and offers an intuitive user interface. To compare a file, simply load the PDF documents and customize it as per your requirement. Click on Compare to initiate the scanning process.
The changes are highlighted across the documents. You can change the thickness and color of the mark and other things to highlight the text over a complex background.
The free version of KIWI only supports up to 100 pages comparison. For extended features like Image comparison and print result, you need to upgrade to the premium version.
- Price- Free / Premium
Draftable is a cloud-based PDF document comparison solution. You can also download the standalone version of the tool to your PC, but that comes with only 14 days of a free trial.
Draftable online is free to use and a better option if you have a few pages of information to compare and also if the documents are not confidential.
To compare the documents, visit the website and upload your old and new documents that you want to compare. Click the Compare button to upload and start.
The online version accepts a maximum of 10 MB upload with 300 pages of documents.
The offline version of Draftable, on the other hand, offers more privacy but is not free. Both the version supports multiple file formats including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Similar to FineReader, Draftable also supports comparison of documents of different file formats.
- Price- Free trial / $34.99
ExamDiff Pro is a premium PDF file comparison software that offers a multitude of features to advanced users. Apart from document comparison support for PDF and Office file formats, ExmaDiff Pro also support comparison between programming codes, executable files and more.
Using the tool, you can perform two-way and three-way difference and merge the document. It also offers Line Inspector panel for easier recognition of differences within lines.
The file differences can be saved to a dynamic HTML web page or take a print out. You can also add manual synchronization points to a text file, compare directly from Explorer menu, etc.
The Advanced Ignore option allows you to ignore case, line break styles, comments, trailing, leading and more. To extended functionality, you can download third-party plugins to add support for Doc formats, Fetch Remote File and compressed file formats.
ExamDiff Pro is a powerful tool and one of the most useful utilities that you can have as a programmer or web developer/designer.
- Price – Free trial / Premium
Araxis Merger is another file comparison tool that helps you to compared text from Microsoft Word to PDF file with ease. It can also spot changes between source, HTML, XML, and even other text file revisions.
The file can be accepted, merged, edited or deleted directly from the editor. The Pixel comparison feature allows you to compare image-based files for text changes.
It also supports a 3-way comparison and automatic merging, but the feature is only limited to Pro users. Other feature offered by Araxis Merger includes folder comparison and sync, direct access to SCM, portable report, printing and automation and plugin support for extended functionality.
Araxis Merge is available for both Windows and Mac computers. You can download the free trial for 30 days before opting for the premium license.
WinMerge + xdocdiff plugin
- Price – Free
Note: WinMerge is a document comparison tool and does not support PDF format by default. You need to use xdocdiff plugin with WinMerge to use it for PDF doc comparison.
WinMerge is a free and open source document comparison software for Windows. The software can compare both files and folders and present the differences in visual text format. And xdocdiff is a free plugin for WinMerge that enables it to compare PDF documents.
As the name indicates, apart from offering a document comparison feature, it also allows you to merge the document to create a final copy. While the software is only available for Windows devices, it can read Unix and Mac tax file formats.
WinMerge offers 3-way file comparison. The editor offers syntax highlighting, line number and word-wrap feature. It also highlights differences inside lines while the current differences are shown in two vertical panes in the Difference pane.
For folder comparison, you can use regular expressions-based file filters to include or exclude items, compare using file properties like size and data, compare a folder or include all the subfolder and view folder comparison results in the tree view.
WinMerge support multiple languages, but you need to install the language pack during installation by selecting appropriate options.
After installing WinMerge, download and extract xdocdiff plugin. You need to move the extracted plugin file to WinMerge installation directory. Read the read.txt file included in the xdocdiff plugin folder for more instructions.
WinMerge is an excellent tool for document comparison. However, the lack of a built-in PDF feature does make it less intuitive to use.
File comparison tools are not only handy for law firms and office work but also extremely useful for web developer and designer, programmers and publishing professionals to compare source files, drafts, and web pages.
For the basic needs, the free PDF document comparison tools offer enough features to find all the differences between the two documents.
However, if you want a multi-purpose tool or have thousands of pages to compare, the premium tools in the article come with advanced features to compare any types of files.
Have you used any of the PDF comparison files before? Do let us know your pick in the comments below.
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