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How to use Excel to compare two versions of a legal contract

  michaelmilton's Photo
Posted Dec 03 2009 09:50 AM

I had a chance to use Excel for this purpose and thought you might want to see the technique. Be sure to watch it on full screen HD!

Michael Milton is the author of Head First Data Analysis and the upcoming Head First Excel, scheduled for publication in spring 2010.

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2 Replies

  martinhaeberli's Photo
Posted Dec 04 2009 03:45 PM

This is an interesting approach.

If one has Excel, one often has Microsoft Word as well.

I find that it is useful to use Tools / Track Changes / Compare Documents; this would have the advantage that, even if paragraphs are added or moved, Word can usually tell and give you an annotated comparison.

So, an alternate solution, as I propose here, is that Word can be used.

-Open the document corresponding to the "newer" version
-Select Tools / Track Changes / Compare Documents
-Select the "older" document
-Word creates a new document showing the changes.


 : Dec 04 2009 05:18 PM
I used to use something similar all the time for quick manual validation. You may personally dislike conditional highlighting, but I found it invaluable when blowing through tens of thousands of rows. It's particularly handy when you have more than just a true/false. Righteous screencast, BTW.