Posts in Category "Document Comparison"

Comparing Scanned Documents Tips and Workarounds

Acrobat Pro includes tools that allow you to compare two PDFs to quickly spot the differences.

In Acrobat X Pro, the Document Comparison feature is available by choosing View>Compare Documents.

For a brief demonstration of this feature, click here.

Recently, I received an email from a law firm that was having trouble comparing two PDFs. The firm reported that during comparison, Acrobat couldn’t find any differences in the documents, even though visual differences were apparent during a visual inspection.

I was able to examine the documents and discovered that:

  1. The source documents were scanned documents
  2. One document was scanned in black and white. The other was scanned in greyscale.
  3. Documents were OCR’d

The difference in color space (black and white vs. greyscale) was enough to seriously affect Acrobat’s ability to detect changes. In effect, Acrobat saw these as being two completely different documents.

That’s probably a bug (I reported it), but we all still have a job to do. Fortunately, I was able to come up with a workaround.

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Comparing Two PDFs

Note: Acrobat 9 has an updated Document Comparison function which works differently than that of Acrobat 8 and prior. To see a short demo movie of how it works in Acrobat 9, click here.

The other side is strictly maintaining document control for the new agreement you are negotiating. Opposing counsel will only give you a PDF and now there are several revisions.

If you had the original word processing files, you could compare them using a tool like Deltaview or perhaps the built-in tools provided in your word processor program.

But…  you only have PDFs.

You need to find out what has changed.

What to do?

Fortunately, Acrobat Professional can create a side-by-side comparison report and to help you spot any changes.

Deletions are indicated with red strikethrough text:

Additions have blue underlines:

Read on to learn how to easily compare two documents using Acrobat.

Continue reading…