Office 2013 Professional Plus has several new features, including a new program called Spreadsheet Comparison.
Spreadsheet Compare takes two Excel files and shows the difference between them in a very nice spreadsheet layout. You can quickly see the differences in formulas between the two tables, as well as the difference in values.
This is a very useful program, especially if you often use Excel in collaboration with others. If you email someone an Excel file and they make changes to multiple formulas, etc., you can use spreadsheet comparison to quickly see what changes were made to the original. In this article I will tell you about the program’s interface and how to use it.
Note. Microsoft spreadsheet comparison is only available with Office 2013 Pro Plus or Office 365 ProPlus. For some reason, it is not included with Office 2016. SourceForge also has an open source spreadsheet comparison program, but it is different from Microsoft’s.
How to use spreadsheet comparison
When you first open the spreadsheet comparison program, you will see the main screen of the program, which looks like this:
There is only one ribbon tab that has several options such as displaying formulas, resizing cells to fit, and exporting results. In the center is a split screen of two Excel files that you will be comparing.
There are three windows at the bottom, one for which you want to see the options, one for viewing the actual differences in the table view, and one that visually displays most of the differences.
Click “Compare Files” in the upper left corner and select the two Excel files you want to compare.
Now you can quickly see through the color-coded cells which values ??or formulas differ.
As you can see, entered values ??are green, formulas are purple, calculated values ??are bluish, etc. Etc. These are my examples of spreadsheets where one takes 5 pairs of numbers and adds them, and the other just multiplies them.
Since the only difference is that one column uses sum and the other uses multiplication, the values ??are highlighted in purple, which means that the difference lies in the formulas. You can also click the Show Formulas button on the ribbon to quickly see the difference in the formulas.
The table below will quickly give you a detailed overview of the changes. Note that you can uncheck any of the items on the left if there are hundreds of entries. You can filter to see only changes to entered values, calculated values, formulas, etc.
The graph on the right will quickly show you how many changes of each type were logged in the spreadsheet:
Finally, you can export the results to an Excel spreadsheet or copy the results to the clipboard. The exported results showing the differences are basically just exporting the table shown above.
So that’s it for spreadsheet comparison. It’s a nice handy tool for anyone working with multiple versions of the same spreadsheet, and it can definitely save you a lot of time and energy. Enjoy!