PC Applications forum


Compare and markup pdf files

by Marion5683 / January 7, 2013 9:43 AM PST

I'd like to be able to compare two pdf files, and have the differences highlighted, something similar to Word's compare documents. Does anyone know of a utility that does this?

Answer This Ask For Clarification
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Compare and markup pdf files
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Compare and markup pdf files
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
Google does know.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 9, 2013 1:19 AM PST
Collapse -
Google sort-of knows
by Marion5683 / January 14, 2013 12:28 PM PST
In reply to: Google does know.

Hi Bob,

Thanks for your reply and the links. I did a Google search before coming onto the forum and got pretty much the same results.

The third party utilities found in the first search are great for adding comments, graphics etc to a pdf, along the lines of editing in Word with track changes on. However, they don't actually allow me to compare old and new versions of a pdf and highlight the differences. The only ones I've found that purport to actually "compare" two pdf files are similar to Word's synchronous scrolling - they simply allow the user to move through both files side by side on the screen. The user then has to play "spot the difference".

Adobe Acrobat XI will do it - not perfectly but not too badly. Most of the documents I'd be comparing are in tables. I've discovered through the trial version of Acrobat that if the column width changes, and some words in the first line of a cell are now pushed onto the second line, this is flagged as a deletion and an insertion, even though nothing has really changed. I could live with this, but since I don't need anything else that Acrobat has to offer, I was hoping not to have to pay $200+. Ok, call me a cheapskate Happy


Collapse -
Is it worth doing?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 15, 2013 2:46 AM PST
In reply to: Google sort-of knows

For some folk, no. There is a brutal fact that some forget so I'll note it.

PDF is not the way to go when you want to store documents. You turn them into PDFs to thwart others from altering and using your work.

Hope this clears that up.

Collapse -
Thank you
by Marion5683 / January 15, 2013 6:16 AM PST
In reply to: Is it worth doing?

Hi Bob

Thanks for your comments, and believe me if I could avoid using pdf files, I would. Unfortunately this is the format in which we obtain the information, eg the ASIC website's fees and forms from various government departments which we reproduce in Word under licence.

When they're updated we have to proofread a sometimes 20+ page form to find that only a few words or figures have changed. So the bottom line is that for me yes, it's definitely worth doing.


Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,224 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,453 discussions
Laptops 20,090 discussions
Security 30,722 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,937 discussions
Windows 10 1,295 discussions
Phones 16,252 discussions
Windows 7 7,684 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,215 discussions


Roku Streaming Stick 2016

Roku has the most apps, the simplest interface and the best search, making it CNET's favorite way to stream Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, HBO and all the rest.