The article below is an excerpt from the industry guide, '10 reasons why Microsoft Word can't compare to file comparison software'. Get your copy to learn more about seeing the difference when comparing legal documents.
Microsoft Word has always had a comparison feature, but Microsoft Word, as part of Office 365, now boasts an improved capability. Law firms upgrading to Microsoft Office 2016 or Word will be looking to evaluate this new feature in the hope that it meets their comparison needs.
However, questions will need to be asked. Is Microsoft Word really the best tool for the job? Can it really meet the demanding requirements of legal comparison?
Microsoft Word native comparison capability, no matter what the version, is no substitute for a specialist comparison tool and here’s why:
Users have found Microsoft Word doesn’t accurately show changes in Tables, Headers/Footers, Footnotes, and Tables of Contents, which makes the technology difficult to rely on.
Lack of specialist knowledge
Since Microsoft closed its specialist legal team, much of the expertise needed to support and develop comparison has been diluted, meaning it hasn’t kept up with the pace of change.
Many law firms have their own style and formatting that they apply to documents. Microsoft Word cannot create, save, and edit Rendering Sets for different presentation choices.
Document comparison software is most efficient when integrated with document, case, and practice management systems. Microsoft Word does not integrate.
Limited output options
Microsoft Word creates comparison reports showing what has changed using Track Changes, a type of metadata that contains a high level of risk if not managed properly. Some firms prefer a report marked up with redline, eliminating the risk of revealing metadata and ensuring a consistent report for clients or co-counsel.
No cross-format comparison
Microsoft Word only compares Word documents, yet law firms don’t work exclusively with Word documents. Firms needed a comparison tool that compares PDFs, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, and image-based documents produced by scanners.
Support for legal workflows
A document comparison solution needs to support typical legal workflows to reduce complexity and inefficiencies. Microsoft Word does not, for example, support an email as Word or PDF with source documents attached workflow.
Print changes only
Changes Only Reports provide a document containing only those pages that have been changed. Microsoft Word does not have 'print pages with changes only’ option.
Cannot compare image-based documents
Legal professionals work with scanned documents. A document comparison solution should have OCR capability to enable legal professionals to compare image-based scanned documents.
For example, you should be able to compare a scanned document to the original soft copy and output the changes in Word. This workflow is not available in Word’s comparison tool.
No summary reporting
It is important to have summary reports of statistical differences between two files, as well as listing all settings and options applied to a comparison. Microsoft Word does not have summary report options for statistics on the comparison
Fill in the form to continue reading. In addition to showing the differences in results between Word and our document comparison solution, compareDocs, the interactive report also comes with the original documents for users to run the tests within their own environment.