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