Merging Multiple Reviewer Feedback into One Document

Steps for merging revisions, comments, and tracked changes from multiple reviewers into one document.

By Lenore Benefield, Director, Assessment & Accrediation Management Systems, Florida Gulf Coast University

Many documents, such as strategic plans, academic program reviews, accreditation response narratives, and a variety of proposals, incorporate suggestions from department directors, committee members, deans, chairs, and faculty. Our office recently sent a draft document to multiple departments for their review and suggestions. The recommended revisions from a variety of sources have been combined into one document with tracked changes. These suggestions can now be discussed and incorporated by whatever committee or department is tasked with finalization and submission.

Each reviewer provided multiple revisions, along with edits, so copying and pasting was not as efficient as comparing and combining these individual documents. Comparing and combining documents in Word is a three-step process that can be repeated for as many documents as needed to incorporate proposed revisions.

Several software options for sharing the task of developing a document are available, such as Google Docs, SharePoint shared documents, and others. The concept of merging identifiable suggested changes has only been explored by our office within Microsoft Word. Additionally, it should be noted that the identification of the suggested revision depends on the name that appears within the document properties of each document included in the merge.

There are a variety of settings available under Show Markup from the Review Ribbon to allow revisions to format the way you would like your tracked changes to appear. Once you choose the settings and merge the document, your combined results can indicate the type of revision and which reviewer made the suggestion. It is then up to the final editor to accept or reject the suggestion. Figure 1 shows a portion of the same document before and after merging edited documents containing tracked changes.


Figure 1

Step 1 – Select the Review Tab

Open Word to a new blank document. Go to the Review Tab and select Combine.


Figure 2
Step 2 – Select your documentstep 2 – Select your documents

On the left side of the dialog box, find and select your original document. On the right side, find and select one revised copy of your document. After choosing OK, you might need to choose which document has the formatting that you need.


Figure 3

Step 3 – Save your file and repeat the process

Repeat the process using the most recently saved file as your original document for each document that you need to combine until all files have been incorporated into one final combined document. Pages from the final merged document are shown below:


Figure 4




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Total Comments: 3
Terry posted on 12/10/2015 2:00 PM
This tip just goes to show the power of the software we use every day and don't really take the time to explore. Thanks!
Shawn posted on 12/16/2015 3:22 PM
IR practitioners often need to synthesize information from varying sources and this is certainly a helpful way to reach that end. Thanks for sharing!
Mike posted on 1/4/2016 12:53 PM
I agree with Terry and Shawn, MS Office is very powerful and can do a lot more than most of know.