Document Comparison Adds Incredible ROI to your Document Management System or Application

The Problem

Managing and tracking electronic documents effectively is critical for any organization. Since digital files are so easy to edit, companies often find themselves trying to sort through multiple versions of the same document, each of which may contain slight differences in order to learn the differences and changes. That’s why document management systems need to have document comparison capabilities integrated into their document viewing functionality.

What Is Document Comparison and How Does It Work?

When we talk about “Document Comparison”, we are discussing the process of comparing and contrasting two versions of a document in order to identify changes made by different contributors. These differences could include minor formatting modifications, such as font or spacing changes, or more significant verbiage or grammatical changes. The most important differences may be the addition or omission of words, sentences, or clauses on the document that can have significate implications.

Document comparison is essential when two parties are negotiating contracts. Any alterations that might have been made to the contract by one of the parties maybe not be obvious to the other. Additionally, accidental deletion of content my have occurred, which could go unrecognized by both parties. A change can affect the entire meaning of the contract, and missing it could mean a financial loss due to the deal, your company’s reputation, or even your job.

Another reason for document comparison is to consolidate changes into a final version of the document. This could occur when a group of people working on the same document are not sure which version of the file is the most up-to-date. If just one person marks up the wrong document, another contributor may never see those edits when they begin to work on the file. By the time everyone is done leaving comments, there could easily be multiple versions of the document, each one slightly different from the others while also containing multiple redundancies.

Why Use a Document Comparison Tool?

While most word processing tools have a built-in markup/tracking feature, this tool are only effective when everyone is working from the same document. If someone downloads, copies a document, or saves the document with a new name, it becomes much more difficult to compare the changes they make to the original, especially if they elect not to use the markup features. Also, if some people are working from Microsoft Word files, others from Google Docs, and still others are making annotation edits to a PDF, it can be difficult to consolidate those changes.

Comparing documents manually by viewing them side by side on a computer screen, is not an effective strategy for spotting differences especially if the document is hundreds of pages. Not only is this approach a strain on resources, but it’s also incredibly susceptible to human error. Minor changes are easy to miss during manual review, but even major differences can go unnoticed if the person doing the review is fatigued or believes they recalled content being there but was in the non-latest version.

A document comparison tool is able to automate the comparison process to ensure that even the smallest changes are flagged for closer review. While a reviewer might skip over an omitted word, misread words, or misplaced punctuation, the automated comparison will detect them when comparing the current version of the document to the original. The tool can also check multiple documents at much higher speeds, which is vital for larger documents that may include thousands of pages.

Document Comparison Use Cases

There are a number of business applications that can find some benefit in utilizing a document comparison tool:

Without these features, you can encounter behavior such as slow rendering high server memory consumption, network data transfer issues, and most of all, your users waiting for documents to render after each operation such as scrolling and panning across, and zooming into content.

Test the document viewers at an appropriate usage, common document sizes, and server load. Some solutions perform excellently when tried on a small number of documents and users but impose unexpected hidden costs when later scaled up.

  • Insurance: Underwriters can easily reference previous versions of policies to see what changes have been made over time.
  • Legal Services: Document comparison makes it easy to review contracts to identify changes that have been made or still need to be made.
  • Government: Easily compare different versions of legislation or regulatory guidelines to determine what important changes still need to be made.

What to Look for with Document Viewers that Provide Document Comparison

As organizations look for viewers that have document comparison, there are a few important considerations they should keep in mind.

  • Readability of Documents: The most important feature is readability. Being able to identify discrepancies is useless if it’s impossible to determine where they’re located. Viewers that have the best OCR engines will be able to read and identify changes in documents the best.
  • Commenting: The ability to let another editor know why you made a particular change is another convenient communicative tool, especially when working in a remote office environment.
  • Displaying the Deltas: Easily displaying the modifications on both versions and helping users navigate to the location on the document where the changes occurred are key for useability of the feature.

Add Document Comparison to Your Application with eViewer

eViewer v7 has the ability to compare documents and highlight the differences between the two versions. Not only can eViewer compare PDF documents, it can also compare popular document file types including TIFF, MODCA, MS Office, and more with its unmatched OCR engine.

Check out the eViewer website for a more in-depth review of the latest HTML5 viewer as well as a live demo to try it for yourself. If you’re ready to get started with an evaluation, you can contact us now to discuss testing the eViewer in your environment.

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