MS Word DOC, Excel XLS, and Adobe Acrobat PDF

BC3 logo BC version 3 and 4

By default, Beyond Compare 3 and 4 support a read-only comparison of Word, Excel, and PDF files.

Text Compare

Microsoft Word and Adobe PDF files are converted to plain text and compared in a Text Compare session.  Formatting and embedded images are ignored.

Table (Data) Compare

Microsoft Excel files are converted using the copy of Excel on your machine, and then the current sheet is compared in a Table Compare session.  The first column is selected as the default Key, but this is configurable in the session's settings.

To handle Excel files with multiple sheets, please see this article.


See our Additonal File Formats page for alternate handing of MS Word and MS Excel files.

BC2 logo BC version 2

Beyond Compare 2 cannot handle Word, Excel, or PDF files natively, and will display garbage if you try to open .doc, .xls, or .pdf files in the File Viewer.  However, Beyond Compare 2 can use an external converter to convert those formats to temporary text files before comparison.  The results will not include font information, page headers, etc, so we do not support editing the resulting comparison.

File Viewer

Microsoft Word, Excel and PDF files can be compared using the rules found on our Additional Rules Definitions page.

Data Viewer

Excel files can also be compared in our Data Viewer plug-in by saving them as comma separated value (.csv) files from Excel.  The plug-in can be downloaded from our Version 2 Plug-ins page.

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