When you are working on a presentation with your client, or even a co-worker, you might end up in a situation where instead of working on the same copy, you both have worked on two different copies. Essentially, these copies contain changes done by both of you, some similar and some different. Now you need to compare and merge these copies into a single, cohesive file without losing anything at all!
Yes, you can manually compare side by side, as explained in our Compare Presentations in PowerPoint 2010 tutorial, this option works great if there are very few changes. For anything more involved, you will want to use the new Compare feature, introduced in PowerPoint 2010. This feature combines two presentations provided by you, and then shows you the differences between them. You can then decide which changes to include, or discard within the final version of your presentation.
Follow these steps to compare and merge presentations in PowerPoint 2010:
- Before you start, you'll need to have one version of the presentation open, it does not matter which of the two you want to open first.
- Then access the Review tab of the Ribbon, and click the Compare button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 1.
Figure 1: Compare button
- This opens the Choose File to Merge with Current Presentation dialog box, as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Choose File to Merge with Current Presentation dialog box
- Navigate to the other version of this presentation, select it and click the Merge button, shown highlighted in red within Figure 2, above.
- This will open the other version of the presentation and merge with the presentation you opened first. Along with this, the Revisions Task Pane will appear, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 3. Notice that the Task Pane displays two types of changes. These are Slide Changes and Presentation Changes. While the former relate to only the active slide, the latter pertains to the entire presentation. You can see that the active slide, as shown in Figure 3, below has no changes, but the presentation altogether does have some changes. We will explore all these changes later on this page.
Figure 3: Revisions Task Pane
- Note: PowerPoint automatically keeps track of the all the differences between the original presentation and the revised version.
- Navigate from slide to slide. Notice that the changes suggested for the slide shown in Figure 4, below, are listed in the Task Pane (highlighted in red). Click on any of the changes within this list, and the concerned slide object gets selected. You'll see that the selected slide object has a comment placed next to it, along with a check-box, as shown highlighted in blue within Figure 4.
Figure 4: Change displayed on the Revisions Task Pane, and as a comment on the slide
- Now, select the check-box next to each revision you want to accept. In Figure 5, below you can see that one of check-box is selected and the change is instantly displayed. To reject a change, simply leave the check-box unselected.
Figure 5: Select the check-box to accept the change
- You can also click on the Slides tab of the Revisions Task Pane to see a visual representation of the changes, as shown in Figure 6, below. Here all changes on the slide are shown per reviewer, thus you can quickly accept or reject all changes by clicking on the check-box placed next to the reviewer's name, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 6, below.
Figure 6: Accept all changes by a reviewer
- Follow the same procedure on each slide to accept or reject the changes shown.
- Thereafter visit the Presentation changes area within the Revisions Task Pane. Similarly select any of the changes shown here, and a similar comment will show up on the Sides Pane (if there are new or deleted slides), as shown in Figure 7, below. Accept or reject changes as required.
Figure 7: Presentation changes
- Once done with accepting and rejecting all changes, within the Review tab of the Ribbon, click the End Review button, as shown highlighted in red within Figure 8.
Figure 8: End Review button
- If you have not accepted all changes, you may see a message window as shown in Figure 9.
Figure 9: Make sure you want to end the review
- Click the Yes button in this message window. This will apply all of the accepted changes to the open presentation.
- Save your presentation. Or, save with a new name, to do that choose File | Save As menu option.
Compare More Than 2 Presentations?
What if you need to compare more than 2 presentations? PowerPoint only allows you to compare 2 presentations at a time, but if you have 3 or more presentations to compare, follow these steps:
- Compare the first and second presentations, save changes as a new presentation file.
- Now compare this new presentation file with the third presentation.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 mentioned above, for any further presentations.