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Summary:

One of the banes of many writers’ existence (including my own!) is inheriting a slew of documents where the people working on them previously haven’t paid much heed to document versioning, leaving you trying to make sense of a mishmash of documents. On more than one […]

CompareMyDocsLogoOne of the banes of many writers’ existence (including my own!) is inheriting a slew of documents where the people working on them previously haven’t paid much heed to document versioning, leaving you trying to make sense of a mishmash of documents. On more than one occasion, I’ve been left hoping for a tool that would enable me to compare documents in bulk so I can get a mess of a documentation library under control before I can begin the real work on a project.

While word processors like Microsoft Word often include a one-to-one compare documents feature, what if you inherit a whole library of documents? Enter CompareMyDocs.com, a new web-based service from Nordic River, the makers of TextFlow, a version management tool. It enables you to compare multiple .rtf, .doc, and .docx documents.

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Unfortunately, while it’s still in beta beta, CompareMyDocs.com works best on text-only documents (word processing documents without a lot of formatting) without images or tables. Therefore, while the service would work better on my draft WWD posts, it’s not yet suitable for the technical documentation I create by day.

I did like the ability to compare multiple versions of documents via the web interface. Bonus points go to the easy upload routine. However, I would have liked to see a bit more clarity in the interface, because, as shown in the following illustration, I only had access to Bold, Italic, and Underline controls, but to nothing else — including help. I can only assume this is due to the beta nature of the service.

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Despite the limitations of the product in beta, CompareMyDocs.com is a promising tool that is worth a spot in every web worker’s bag of tricks when it comes to resolving document versioning issues, especially if you ever find yourself having to compare multiple documents at once where word processor compare documents features will take too long.

Have you tried out CompareMyDocs.com? Share your experience below.

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By Will Kelly

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  1. Make sure your documents have names that are different in the first 15 characters or so. Documents like “Calendar Working Group 10-Nov” and “Calendar Working Group 15-Oct” come out looking like “Calendar Working Gr….” which doesn’t make it easy to tell what revision is in what document.

    Definitely still beta software, what with formatting issues (even when there are no tables). But worth playing around with.

  2. Quickly Compare Documents | Lawyerist Sunday, November 15, 2009

    [...] Compare Multiple Documents With CompareMyDocs.com | Web Worker Daily [...]

  3. My overseas team uses Open Office, Neo Office, and my US based team uses MS Office. Too bad this won’t work for us.

    Luckily we follow some strict SVN with Trac integration. However once a while we get a document with “colored text” which drives the team insane.

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