View Word 2010 Documents Side-by-Side

January 17, 2011, By Christian Cawley

One of the great things about Microsoft Word 2010 is that you can view multiple documents at the same time. This can be of particular benefit if you need to refer to another Word file for information, or perhaps if you are redrafting or reformatting a previous document.

However it is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the only way of doing this is to open two or more other documents and ALT+TAB between them, or even going to the trouble of manually resizing and positioning them on your desktop.

As it is, Microsoft Word 2010 features several tools for making this sort of side-by-side comparison of documents very easy indeed!

View Word 2010 documents side by side

Displaying Multiple Word Documents in Windows

Thanks to the View tab it is easy to manage the arrangement and display of multiple Microsoft Word documents on your desktop.

To begin, open one or more Word documents, and then in one of them go to View > Window > View Side by Side; this arranges your two or more Word documents on your desktop. This makes it easy to view both files simultaneously and find and compare any material of interest.

Switching between the windows is a case of left clicking in each – however if you’re not sure which document is which (possible if you have multiple documents open) then use the View > Window > Switch Windows drop down which will display a list of the filenames of all open documents.

You can resize one document in favour of another, if necessary, something that can be done simply by dragging the edge of the window as required. Should you wish to undo this, use the View > Window > Reset Windows Position tool.

Finally, you will notice that scrolling up and down and left and right will affect both windows. You may or may not want to do this, or you might wish to only have scrolling in sync once you have reached a particular place in each document. In such a case, use the View > Window > Synchronous Scroll button to toggle this feature.

Displaying the Same Word Document in Multiple Windows

Just as you can view different Word documents in windows positioned side by side on your desktop, you can engage in some advanced editing of a single Microsoft Word 2010 document within multiple windows.

This might be useful for viewing page 1 and page 43 at the same time for instance; in truth, the single Word document window is split across the middle rather than a new window being created, but the effect is similar.

You can take advantage of this feature with the View > Window > Split tool – click the button to create the split and then place your mouse pointer where you wish the split to appear (if necessary you can reposition this later). It is then a simple task to view different pages in a single document at the same time!

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