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I am using svn for version control and want to be able to compare 2 revisions of a MS Word doc side-by-side. I am aware of Araxis Merge but this converts the doc to text and compares which is more clever than I need it to be. I would like a tool that would allow me to visually compare the files preserving the formatting, images, etc. that may be present in the doc.

I know MS Word has a compare docs feature using track changes but this requires 2 copies of the document to be present on your drive. I want to directly compare revisions in the svn repository db without having to revert my local copy, change the filename and then compare to another working copy.

Is there any tool (free or commercial) that can do this?

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migrated from stackoverflow.com Aug 5 '09 at 19:51

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4 Answers 4

just svn export the older file elsewhere and then use the M$ Compare Changes tool.

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Try just getting two revisions together from the repository, then use Word to compare them.

In the Windows version of Word, this could be even configured into TortoiseSVN - you could select 2 versions of a DOC file to be compared, and Tortoise would open Word in a ready compare mode. I guess it was done via OLE or a command line switch.

In the Mac word, I know of no comparable thing but if it's an occasional need, you should be able to get by "manually".

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How are you interacting with your svn repository?

I use Versions.app to interact, and it provides a nice way of comparing files via Xcode's FileMerge utility.

Admittedly, it doesn't handle 2007-2008 files at all (*.docx) but it can do basic comparisons between files saved in the *.doc format. (Unfortunately, all the 'back-end' information is displayed too, since the files aren't ASCII.

I think that any OS X tool you use will be reliant upon the tools inside Xcode - and thus, limited to ascii files. Let me know if you find differently though!

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I asked another question on diffing (comparing) files a while back. You might pick some recommendations of from here:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1075708/diff-utility-works-for-2-files-how-to-compare-more-than-2-files-at-a-time

Wikipedia always helps as well:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_file_comparison_tools

For regular work though i usually end up using vimdiff (and there is a vim for mac). All you do to vimdiff (up to 4 default) files is vim -d file1 file2 file3 or gvim -d file1 file2 file3

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