Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Excel versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Excel 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Excel, click here: Comparing Workbooks.

# Comparing Workbooks

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated November 8, 2021)
This tip applies to Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003

Krishna asked if there was a way to compare the contents of two Excel workbooks. Unfortunately, there is no built-in comparison feature, as there is in Word to compare two documents. There are third-party programs available that can help you out, and a quick search of the Web can help to locate such programs.

Depending on your needs, there can be an easier way. If the worksheets in each workbook are laid out the same, and you just want to find differences between values in the cells of each worksheet, then you can use formulas to compare worksheets. Try the following steps:

1. Create a new workbook called Compare.xls.
2. In cell A1 of the first worksheet in Compare.xls, enter the following formula:
```    =IF([WB1.xls]Sheet1!A1<>[WB2.xls]Sheet1!A1,"Different","")
```
• Copy the formula from A1 into all the other cells that represent the range you want to compare. For instance, if you want to compare A1:G12 in both worksheets, then you would copy the formula from A1 into the full range of A1:G12.
• These steps assume that the worksheets you want to compare are both named Sheet1, and they are in WB1.xls and WB2.xls, respectively. If you have other sheets in WB1.xls and WB2.xls to compare, you can use similar formulas in other sheets of Compare.xls.

When done, any cell that has the word "Different" in it represents a cell that is different in the ranges being compared. Thus, if C7 had "Different" in it, then there is a difference between the cell C7 of Sheet1 in WB1.xls and cell C7 of Sheet1 in WB2.xls.

If you are comparing only numeric values between the two worksheets, you could use a different formula in step 2, above:

```=[WB1.xls]Sheet1!A1-[WB2.xls]Sheet1!A1
```

The result is a worksheet that subtracts the values in one workbook from the other, which results in the numeric differences.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (2006) applies to Microsoft Excel 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Excel (Excel 2007 and later) here: Comparing Workbooks.

##### Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

##### MORE FROM ALLEN

Making Live URLs Into Normal Text

Convert those URLs into regular text! It's easy to do when you follow the steps in this tip.

Discover More

Creating a Split Page

In WordPerfect terminology, a split page allows you to put information side-by-side on opposite halves of the page. If ...

Discover More

Bogging Down with Calculated Items

Create a complex PivotTable and you may find that your system slows to a crawl. The reason for this may be due to the way ...

Discover More

Program Successfully in Excel! John Walkenbach's name is synonymous with excellence in deciphering complex technical topics. With this comprehensive guide, "Mr. Spreadsheet" shows how to maximize your Excel experience using professional spreadsheet application development tips from his own personal bookshelf. Check out Excel 2013 Power Programming with VBA today!

Forcing a Workbook to Close after Inactivity

Tired of your workbooks being left open on the screen where they can be seen by anyone passing by? Here's a way to have ...

Discover More

Open Workbooks Don't Display

Have you ever opened a workbook, only to have it not display your worksheet data? This can be very disconcerting, but it ...

Discover More

Closing All Open Workbooks

Excel provides a handy (but little-known) shortcut for closing all the workbooks you have open. This tip explains how ...

Discover More
##### Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. Youâ€™ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 8 - 5?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your commentâ€”just use the simple form above!)

##### This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the menu interface (Excel 97, Excel 2000, Excel 2002, or Excel 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.