Word: View two documents at once

March 7, 2008

Word 2003 (and later versions) has a very neat trick that allows you to view two documents side-by-side without using the Document Compare function. In other words, the documents aren’t compared and marked up as with Doc Compare—they are laid out side-by-side so you can do a visual check of them. And you can synchronize the scrolling of the documents too so that you don’t have to change focus or jump between each one as you work through them.

This feature beats arranging or splitting windows manually and trying to move through the documents at the same time. What used to take a while to do—and caused a lot of frustration—is now a snap!

Word 2003

  1. Open the two documents you want to view at the same time.
  2. Select Window > Compare Side by Side with [document name] from the menu bar.

The documents rearrange themselves on the screen so that they are equally spaced side-by-side and a floating toolbar displays. One of the buttons on this floating toolbar is the Synchronous Scrolling button—click it to turn it on and off.

Word 2007

  1. Open the two documents you want to view at the same time.
  2. Go to the View tab > Window command group.
  3. Click View Side by Side.
  4. On the Compare Side by Side window, select the document you want to compare this one to, then click OK.
  5. The first document opens on the left and the other opens on the right. On the View tab of the left document, the Synchronous Scrolling button is automatically selected. Click it to turn it off and on.
Synchronous Scrolling toolbar button

Synchronous Scrolling toolbar button

[This article was first published in the June 2004 CyberText newsletter; steps updated to incorporate Word 2007, 21 August 2008]


  1. Thanks a lot! I appreciate your help!

  2. Perfect!… Just what I was looking for.

  3. Thank you! This is so much better than Document Compare.

  4. It was a great help. Thank you very much.

  5. Thanks, this answered my questions.

  6. wow< thanks!!

  7. Hi. Can you tell me how to clear the saved files under Compare Documents–both Original document list and the Revised document list. I can identify files that I saved but I can’t find how I could delete this list and start fresh.
    B. Wilson
    San Rafael, CA 94903

  8. Hi B.G.

    I couldn’t find where you’d do this. However, the two lists of files seem to be alphabetical versions of the recent files list so the Registry deletion I documented in this post https://cybertext.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/word-2007-deleting-individual-documents-from-the-recent-documents-list/ may work. It’s worth a try anyway.


    I couldn’t find where these lists are stored.

  9. Wonderful guidance, thanks :-)

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