How to Merge Multiple Word Documents in Microsoft Office

Although Microsoft Word now supports multi-person collaboration on documents (either through the web app or an Office 365 subscription), there are still times when you’ll need to merge multiple Word documents together.

Of course, you can simply copy and paste the contents of one document into another, but this is not the most practical way to achieve the desired result.

Fortunately, Word offers a few ways to merge multiple documents together.

how to merge multiple word documents

This article discusses four different methods for easily merging your Word documents.

These methods will definitely help you avoid some of the tedious work associated with merging different files or text in Word. Above all, if you really want to master it, you should download some good word templates and experiment with the methods listed.

1. Merging Two Versions of the Same Document

If you have two slightly different versions of the same document, it can be tedious – if not impossible – to spot the minor differences.

Word provides a way to compare the differences between the two and then merge them into a single file.

comparing the two versions

Before you merge, it is prudent to study the differences between the two files. You may decide you don’t want to add them at all. We’ll walk you through the process using two versions of a BBC News report about the Mars probe.

Word will automatically open a new document. Revisions are shown in a column on the left (1), compared documents are shown in the center panel (2), and the two originals are displayed in a column on the right (3).

You can hide source documents by following Compare > Show source documents > Hide source documents.

merge two versions

Now you’ve got all the differences neatly displayed in a single file, but it’s still a mess. How do you determine which changes you want to keep and which you want to discard?

You have two options for that. You can manually go through the document and edit each change to your liking (remember, added text is underlined, deleted text is shown with a strike-through).

Editing a document like this is fine for short documents, but if you’re working on a longer document such as a book, you may still lose something.

A more efficient method is to use the revision list in the left-hand column. You can either right-click each change and select Accept or Reject, or you can place your cursor over the text under each listed revision and make revisions accordingly. Word will automatically update the text in the main document as you work.

As you can see in the image below, we have worked on all the changes. The revision counter is reset to zero, and we now have a document in which we’ve accepted or rejected all of our changes. You can now save the final document as normal.

2. Merging Multiple Versions of the Same Document

It’s easy to compare two versions of a document and merge two versions. But what if you have multiple versions of the same file, perhaps because you sent it to multiple people for their input?

Once again, open the original document and go to Review > Compare. This time, you’ll need to select Combine instead.

Place the first document you want to merge in the Revised Documents field, and label the changes. Click OK.

Once you have the combined document, go to Review > Compare > Recombine. Place the fresh combined file in the Original Version field, and add the revised version to the next document. Please note that you will need to keep repeating the process for each copy of the file, making sure that you give each modified document a unique label.

When you’re finished, you’ll have a combined document that shows each person’s changes in a different color. As before, right-click each change and choose Accept or Reject to make your final copy.

3. Merging Comments, Formatting, and More

Merging documents can go beyond simple changes to text. You may want to merge and retain comments, formatting, headers, footers, and more.

Unfortunately, Word makes the process painless. The method for comparing and/or combining documents is the same, but when you have navigated to Review > Compare > Compare, click the More >> button.

You will be presented with an extensive list of options. When you have selected your preferences, click OK. You can proceed with accepting or rejecting the changes as before.

4. Merging text from several different documents

The final part of this tutorial will look at how to merge text from completely different documents.

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