Sometimes when you’re collaborating on a word document with co-workers or editors, the number of copies, edits, and changes can quickly grow out of hand. This is why it’s helpful to have the option to combine two separate documents in Word, because a copy and an edited copy will not only merge, but you’ll also have the option to label which changes were made by a specific author and when.
Learn how you can easily merge two documents in Microsoft Word.
Merge the Two Documents
To start, open the first document you want to act as the primary document. Then, using the top toolbar, click on the “Review” tab, and find the button labeled “Compare.”
From here, click the option to “Combine …” from the drop-down menu.
This will open up a secondary box where you’ll need to select the two documents you want to combine from a drop-down list.
Choose the first document you want to act as the master. In general, you’ll want this to be the original copy, while the second document should be the copy with any edits from other people. Also, make sure you use the “Label unmarked changes” box to identify which users made changes to which aspects of the document.
If you click “More,” you can also control where these changes will be shown, either in the “Original document,” the “Revised document,” or in a “New document.”
Manage the Combined Document
Once the document is merged, you’ll be greeted by the following window.
Here you’ll see three independent sections – the left showing the “Revisions” made to the document, the middle showing the combined document, and the right section which will show both the original document and the revised document simultaneously.
If this amount of information is a bit too overwhelming, you can click the “Compare” button again, and scroll down to find the option labeled “Hide source documents.”
Click on this and bring the three sections down to two.
Merge in Additional Copies
If you’d like to add in more copies (such as in the example of having multiple edits per document), simply repeat the same process as you did above, but use the “Revised document” as your original copy, and then find the secondary documents you want to add in from the same list you used for the initial import.
Copy and Paste
Of course, if you want to cut down on all the complicated measures listed above, there’s always the trusty process of simply hitting Ctrl + C and Ctrl + V.
To use this option, find the source text that you want to import into your new document, and select anything you want to bring over with your mouse.
Next, either right-click the text and choose “Copy” from the drop-down menu, or simply use the key command mentioned above to cut the text and paste it into the new document you want to edit.
The way you choose to merge your two documents will ultimately depend on the amount of control you want to have over what gets imported, as well as how many edits are made available during the revision process. Luckily, Word includes several different options for merging documents, so you can use it however suits your personal case the best!