track changes vs compare documents

I would like to understand the difference in the results of track changes and compare documents. From my own testing, it looks like most of the changes are shown the same way in track changes and compare documents.

However, in compare documents, sometimes entire paragraphs appear to be treated differently. In those cases, the older version of the paragraph is entirely deleted and the newer version is entirely inserted. Thus, the individual changes aren’t shown. Could this be caused by too many changes in a paragraph?

To see what I am referring to, I have attached an extract. You can see three paragraphs with the edits shown. This is followed by deleted versions of the original three paragraphs. combined Health Benefits Analysis cc 9-11-17b.docx

Should the results of track changes and compare documents look the same? If not, how do they differ? Is there a work-around for the problem of entire paragraphs being changed? Any insights would be appreciated.

Hello @catbill,

individual changes can only be seen if the user has enabled "Edit : Track Changes : Record", before making the changes.

Else only the final differences can be seen via "Edit : Track Changes : Compare Document...".

see: Comparing Versions of a Document

EDIT 2017-09-12:

“Compare Document” only looks at the textual differences between Text 1 and Text 2 at this time.

It does not care by which changes those differences came to be, but it just marks all portions that are in Text 2 but not in Text 1 as “insertions”, and all portions that are in Text 1 but not in Text 2 as “deletions”.

Note that these are not actual insertions and deletions, but they are just marked as such.

A better conceptual name for these portions would perhaps be: “surplusses” instead of “insertions”, and “shortcomings” instead of “deletions”.

Hi Librebel,

Your answer seems to say that there is a difference between individual changes and final changes. If that is what you mean, what is the difference?

My question might not have been clear enough. I was not saying that no individual changes can be seen with compare documents. Rather, the issue is that sometimes entire paragraphs are either deleted or inserted rather than showing the individual changes in each paragraph.

You could compare 2 entirely different documents.

Let’s say you compare a poem from Samuel Taylor Coleridge to a poem from Wordsworth, then you see the differences, but these differences aren’t changes.

I was not clear enough. I am talking about two versions of the same document, not entirely different documents.
Again: Should there be any difference between the results of tracked changes and compare documents? If so, what? What could cause entire paragraphs to be deleted and replaced (rather than showing individual changes)?
What do you mean by individual changes and final changes

These paragraphs are not actually deleted and inserted, please see the updated answer.

We are still failing to communicate but I appreciate your hanging in there.

I have edited the question to attach an example of what I am talking about. There are three paragraphs showing the edits correctly. This is followed by the original version of the same three paragraphs but they are all deleted. Is this how compare documents is supposed to work or could there be corruption?

One more time, I would really appreciate an answer to the main question: should there be any difference in the results of track changes and compare documents?

To be clear about why I am trying to get an answer: Working with track changes significantly slows performance. If I can achieve the same results with compare documents, then why not use that option?

It would be great if someone could please look at the attachment to see what I am talking about.

  1. Does anyone know of a way to prevent this?
  2. Are there any other glitches that may appear with compare documents?

Just commenting again with the hope of inspiring someone to actually look at the attached document to see what I am talking about.
It would be quite helpful if there is a work-around (but I doubt there is) so that I don’t have to use track changes.