Comparing two documents is challenging at the best of times, let alone when you have a deadline fast approaching. Take this scenario: you arrive at the office and are immediately greeted by an email that has a new version of the contract you’ve been working on. You now have the unenviable task of comparing it to the previous version to identify all the changes Mr Smith has made without highlighting them for you. The feeling of panic starts to set in; your chest feels a little tight, and the beads of sweat begin to form. The words all blur together into a garbled mess, and you resign yourself to the task in hand, which you’ll no doubt be working on right down to the wire. What a great start to all too familiar day.
Keep Calm, Compare and Carry On
When faced with this situation, it’s important to remember to stay calm; you’re only human, and rushing the job is more likely to result in mistakes that you’ll have to go back and rectify later. The solution is to get organized and work through the versions methodically. Although you may think that handling multiple tasks at once makes you more productive, many psychological studies show that the brain does not operate as efficiently when multitasking.
Don’t Lose Your Cool
Track Changes in Word can be a useful tool – it is built into the software and is therefore easily accessible. However, it should be approached with caution. Track Changes creates a red-line copy that is often intimidating, disorganised and chaotic, hence making changes one at a time is especially important here. But doing so ultimately prolongs the task, making an already time-consuming process more inefficient.
Use The Right Tools
So with Track Changes offering such a flawed approach, is there a better alternative? Unlike Track Changes, document comparison software offers the most efficient, no fuss approach to comparing files. Shortening document comparison cycles by 70%, Workshare Professional 9 shows all comparable versions in one browser window to reduce your number of open tabs, and organizes suggested corrections into categories to simplify navigation between them. You can compare the most complex documents that Track Changes wouldn’t be able to handle, no less accurately than a simple plain text document. Professional 9 also takes care of metadata, removing it from documents so you don’t have to worry about sensitive information being accidently shared.
The World is Your Oyster
Ultimately, increased productivity in the workplace makes for increased efficiency across the whole of your organization. Saving time comparing documents means you’ll be able to spend more time hitting your billable hours, developing client relationships or, if you fancy it, whittling a canoe!