Here is a guide to visually compare two PDF documents in Windows 11/10. There are several PDF and other document comparison tools and software available on the web. However, most of them let you compare only the text part of two PDFs. If you want to compare and analyze changes between two identical PDF files including images, text, and annotations, this post is for you. In this article, we are going to discuss multiple methods using which you can compare text, images, and more content of two similar PDF documents.
You can compare the content of two similar PDFs in side-by-side split panels. Visualize the changes between two PDFs using synchronized scrolling. With the mentioned methods, the differences are highlighted that make it easier for you to compare PDFs. Now, without much ado, let us discuss the methods.
How can I compare two PDF files for free?
To compare two PDF files for free on Windows 11/10, you can use a dedicated online tool. Besides that, you can also use free software that allows you to visually compare two identical PDF files. Plue, you can also compare PDF documents using the command-line interface. There is a command-based software that requires you to enter a command to compare two PDF files.
How to visually compare two PDF files in Windows 11/10
Here are the methods to visually compare two PDF files on your Windows 11/10 PC:
- Use free dedicated software like KIWI PDF Comparer to compare two similar PDF documents.
- Compare two PDF files visually using a simple command-line tool.
- Use a free online tool to compare PDF documents.
Let us elaborate on the above methods now!
1] Use free dedicated software like KIWI PDF Comparer to compare two similar PDF documents
You can try a dedicated free software to compare to identical PDF documents visually. There are various document comparison software that let you compare your PDFs, but most of them only let you compare the text from the two PDFs. To compare images, annotations, and text, we will be using this dedicated program called KIWI PDF Comparer
KIWI PDF Comparer is feature-rich software that is specially designed to compare two PDF documents. It is a Java-based software and required JRE to be installed on your PC to work. Using it, you can compare two PDFs of up to 100 pages. Let us check out how you can use it to visually compare PDFs using it.
How to visually compare two PDFs using KIWI PDF Comparer
Here are the main steps to compare two identical PDF documents in KIWI PDF Comparer:
- Download and install KIWI PDF Comparer.
- Launch this software.
- Open the older version of the PDF.
- Import the newer version of your PDF.
- Set up comparing options.
- Compare the PDFs using available tools.
Let us now discuss the above steps to compare PDF documents visually using it.
Firstly, you need to download and install KIWI PDF Comparer on your Windows 11/10 PC. And then, launch the application to use it.
Now, click on the Open button in the left panel to import the older version of your PDF. After that, open the newer version of your PDF that you want to compare in the right-side panel.
Next, click on the Settings button present beside the Compare button. It lets you configure comparison options including enable or disable compare images too, the method to extract text from documents, consider text movements, etc.
It supports two Comparison Modes including Content Comparison and Pixel to Pixel Comparison. You can also set up appearance options like show underlining, show boxes, show pixel difference, and more.
Then, press the Compare button and it will start comparing the PDFs and you can then start analyzing the differences between the two PDFs.
Features of Kiwi PDF Comparer:
These are the main PDF comparison feature provided in KIWI PDF Comparer:
- You can enable synchronize scrolling throughout the PDFs to view and analyze differences properly.
- It allows you to open and compare PDFs in horizontal or vertical distribution.
- It provides a zoom tool that lets you zoom into a PDF page synchronously or asynchronously.
- It lets you easily navigate from one page to another in PDFs.
- You can even print the comparison report in it.
You can download this handy software from kiwipdfcomparer.com.
See: Compare and Synchronize Files and Folders with FreeFileSync.
2] Compare two PDF files visually using a simple command-line tool
You can also compare two PDF documents using a simple command-line tool. The tool is called diff-pdf which lets you enter an easy command and then visualize the difference between two similar PDF documents. It also lets you create a new PDF showing differences between the two PDF files. Let us now have a look at the steps to use this tool.
How to compare two PDF documents using a command in Windows 11/10:
Here are the main steps to visually compare two identical PDFs using the command-line interface:
- Download diff-pdf.
- Unzip the downloaded file.
- Move the source PDF documents to the extracted folder.
- Open the Command Prompt in the extracted folder.
- Type the pdf comparison command.
- Press Enter to execute the command.
Let us discuss the above steps in detail!
Firstly, you need to download this command-based software from here. Then, unzip the downloaded ZIP folder using Windows inbuilt tool or ZIP extractor tools. You now need to move or copy the source PDF files that you want to compare to this extracted folder.
Now, open the extracted folder, type cmd in the address bar, and press the Enter button. This will open up the Command Prompt in this folder.
Next, to visually compare two similar PDF documents, type a similar command in the Command Prompt like the below one:
diff-pdf --view original.pdf modified.pdf
In the above command, replace original.pdf and modified.pdf with the filename of the original version and modified version of a PDF, respectively.
Simply press the Enter button and it will open the PDF comparison in a window where you can visualize the differences between the two PDFs. It highlights the differences between the two PDFs as well as shows you the pages that have any modifications. You can easily navigate from one page to another and use zoom in/out functions.
Now, if you want to create an output PDF showing you the differences between two identical PDF files, you will have to use a command like the below one:
diff-pdf --output-diff=diff.pdf first.pdf second.pdf
Just replace diff.pdf with the name you want to give to the output difference PDF that shows you the differences between the two PDF.
So, this is how you can use this easy-to-use and free command-based software to visually compare two PDFs.
Read: How to compare two documents in Google Docs
3] Use a free online tool to compare PDF documents
Another method to compare PDF documents is by using a free online tool. There are some free online services using which you can compare the text between two PDFs. If you want to compare the entire content of PDFs including images, annotations, and more, there are very few options. To help you out, here are the two nice online tools that you can use:
Let us discuss the above online tools in detail!
TextCompare is a free online document comparison tool that also lets you two PDFs. It lets you visually compare images, annotations, and text between two identical PDF documents. You can import two PDF files and it will let you compare the two in two split panels. Here are the main steps to visually compare two PDFs online:
- Firstly, launch a web browser.
- Now, open the TextCompare website and make sure you are on its PDF compare page.
- Next, choose the original and modified PDF file one by one.
- Then, click on the Find Differences button and it will highlight the differences between the two PDFs.
- After that, you can use features like Synced Scroll, PDF or Image View, File Details, Export Original PDF, And Export Modified PDF to compare PDF documents.
Diffchecker is another online tool that lets you compare text, images, annotations, and more content of two PDF documents. It basically shows you the exact differences between the two PDFs and mentions the percentage of difference. You can view the PDFs in Text or Image view mode. It also lets you compare OCR text and file details.
You can try this online free PDF compare tool here.
See: How to Compare Excel Sheets using Excel Compare Tool
Can you compare PDFs in Adobe Reader?
Yes, you can compare two PDFS in Adobe Reader. However, you will have to use its subscription-based edition which is called Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. It provides a dedicated Compare Files tool that allows you to import two documents and compare them side by side. Just purchase Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and install it on your PC. Then, launch its main GUI and go to the Tools menu. From here, you will see a Compare Files tool; click on it and select old and new PDF files that you want to compare. It will then display the differences between the two PDFs.
Now read: How to compare the same files in the same folder in different locations.