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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?

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All Answers

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Google does know.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 9, 2013 1:19 AM PST
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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


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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.

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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.


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