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I am using Tortoise SVN to work with a repository that contains some documentation saved as Word documents. On my old computer, with Office 2010, I was able to compare with previous revisions. Tortoise would open Word in compare view so I could see the differences between the files.

I have installed Office 2013 (final version from Technet, not the preview version) on my new laptop for testing and now I can no longer compare Word Documents. Tortoise pops up a generic error that it was unable to compare the two files.

Tortoise uses a JScript file to interface with Word, so I ran that file through a debugger and found that the actual error is:

The Compare method or property is not available because this command is not available for reading.

Some Googling followed by some testing revealed that the error is caused by the first file opened (in this case, the previous version) being opened as Read-Only. If I change the JScript code to open in normal mode, and I find the file on the system and un-check the "Read Only" property (if necessary), then the comparison opens as expected.

I was unable to find any documentation about this change to Word on any Microsoft site.

Does anyone know why this has been changed, and if it is intentional and not a bug, what the benefit is of requiring the file to be writable in order to compare it with another?

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Thanks so much for posting this - I have an application that invokes compare and it suddenly stopped working with office 2013. I have changed the code to not open read-only and it's working again, hopefully the tortoise developers will do likewise. As for documentation about this, I wouldn't hold your breath, I've been working with office apps for a while and sometimes things just get changed, there's no release notes and no comeback, you just have to live with it (e.g. between 2000 and 2003 they swapped round the old and new for the comparison then changed it back for 2007 - no explanation) –  Andy Apr 16 '13 at 13:07
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Until clarity arrives from Microsoft (when porcine aviators appear overhead, likely), suggest you make a script to copy the desired R/O file then open the copy with Word.

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