Visually compare two PDF files using online tools or free PC software

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Here is a guide for visually compare two PDF documents in Windows 11/10. There are several tools and software for comparing PDFs and other documents available on the web. However, most of them allow you to compare only the text part of two PDFs. If you want to compare and analyze the changes between two identical PDF files including images, text, and annotations, then this article is for you. In this article, we are going to discuss several methods using which you can compare text, images, and more content from two similar PDF documents.

You can compare the content of two similar PDFs in side-by-side split panels. View the changes between two PDFs using synchronized scrolling. With the mentioned methods, the differences are highlighted, which makes it easier for you to compare PDFs. Now, without further ado, let’s discuss the methods.

How to compare two PDF files for free?

To compare two PDF files for free in Windows 11/10, you can use a dedicated online tool. In addition to that, you can also use free software that allows you to visually compare two identical PDF files. Plus, you can also compare PDF documents using command line interface. There is 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:

  1. Use free dedicated software like KIWI PDF Compare to compare two similar PDF documents.
  2. Visually compare two PDF files using a simple command line tool.
  3. Use a free online tool to compare PDF documents.

Now let’s develop the above methods!

1]Use free dedicated software like KIWI PDF Compare to compare two similar PDF documents

You can try dedicated free software to visually compare identical PDF documents. There are different document comparison software that allows you to compare your PDFs, but most of them only allow you to compare the text of the two PDFs. To compare images, annotations and text, we will use this dedicated program called KIWI PDF Compare

KIWI PDF Compare is a feature rich software specially designed to compare two PDF documents. This is Java based software and JRE must be installed on your PC to work. Using it, you can compare two PDFs of up to 100 pages. Let’s see how you can use it to visually compare PDFs that use it.

How to visually compare two PDFs using KIWI PDF Compare

Here are the main steps to compare two identical PDF documents in KIWI PDF Compare:

  1. Download and install KIWI PDF Compare.
  2. Launch this software.
  3. Open the old version of the PDF.
  4. Import the new version of your PDF.
  5. Configure the comparison options.
  6. Compare PDFs using the available tools.

Now let’s discuss the above steps to visually compare PDF documents using it.

First of all, you need to download and install KIWI PDF Compare on your Windows 11/10 PC. And then, launch the app to use it.

Now click on the Open in the left panel to import the old version of your PDF. After that, open the most recent version of your PDF that you want to compare in the right panel.

Then click on the Settings button next to the Compare button. It allows you to configure comparison options, including also activate or deactivate compare images, the method for extracting text from documents, taking into account text movements, etc.

It supports two comparison modes including Content comparison and Pixel to pixel comparison. You can also configure appearance options like show underline, show areas, show pixel difference, etc.

Then hit the Compare button and it will start comparing PDFs and then you can start analyzing the differences between the two PDFs.

Features of the Kiwi PDF comparator:

Here is the main PDF compare function provided in KIWI PDF Compare:

  • You can activate scroll synchronization in PDFs to correctly view and analyze the differences.
  • It allows you to open and compare PDFs in horizontal or vertical distribution.
  • It provides a zoom tool that allows you to zoom in on a PDF page synchronously or asynchronously.
  • It allows you to easily navigate from page to page in PDFs.
  • You can even print the comparison report there.

You can download this handy software from kiwipdfcomparer.com.

See: Compare and synchronize files and folders with FreeFileSync.

2]Visually compare two PDF files 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 allows you to enter a simple command and then view the difference between two similar PDF documents. It also allows you to create a new PDF showing the differences between the two PDF files. Now let’s see the steps to use this tool.

How to compare two PDF documents using one command in Windows 11/10:

Here are the main steps to visually compare two identical PDFs using CLI:

  1. Download diff-pdf.
  2. Unzip the downloaded file.
  3. Move the source PDF documents to the checked out folder.
  4. Open the command prompt in the extracted folder.
  5. Type the pdf comparison command.
  6. Press Enter to run the command.

Let’s discuss the above steps in detail!

First of all, you need to download this command-based software from here. Then unzip the downloaded ZIP folder using Windows built-in tool or ZIP extractor tools. Now you need to move or copy the source PDF files you want to compare to this checked out folder.

Now open the extracted folder, type cmd in the address bar and press the Enter button. This will open the command prompt in that folder.

Then, to visually compare two similar PDF documents, type a similar command in the command prompt like the one below:

diff-pdf --view original.pdf modified.pdf

In the above command, replace original.pdf and modified.pdf with the file name of the original version and the modified version of a PDF, respectively.

Just press the Enter button and it will open the PDF comparison in a window where you can view the differences between the two PDFs. It highlights the differences between the two PDFs and shows you which pages have undergone changes. You can easily navigate from one page to another and use the zoom in / out functions.

Now, if you want to create an output PDF showing you the differences between two identical PDF files, you will need to use a command like the one below:

diff-pdf --output-diff=diff.pdf first.pdf second.pdf

Simply replace diff.pdf with the name you want to give the output difference PDF which shows you the differences between the two PDFs.

So here is how you can use this easy to use free command-based software to visually compare two PDF files.

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 to use a free online tool. There are free online services through which you can compare the text between two PDFs. If you want to compare the entire content of PDFs including images, annotations, etc., there are very few options. To help you out, here are the two good online tools you can use:

  1. Text comparison
  2. Difference checker

Let’s discuss the above online tools in detail!

1]Text comparison

TextCompare is a free online document comparison tool that also allows you two PDFs. It allows you to visually compare images, annotations and text between two identical PDF documents. You can import two PDF files and this will allow you to compare the two in two split panels. Here are the main steps to visually compare two PDFs online:

  1. First, launch a web browser.
  2. Now open the TextCompare website and make sure you are on its PDF comparison page.
  3. Then choose the original and edited PDF file one by one.
  4. Then click on the Find differences button and it will highlight the differences between the two PDFs.
  5. After that, you can use features like synchronized scrolling, PDF or image view, file details, exporting original PDF and exporting edited PDF to compare PDF documents.
2]Difference checker

Diffchecker is another online tool that lets you compare text, images, annotations, and more content from two PDF documents. It basically shows you the exact differences between the two PDFs and mentions the percentage of difference. You can view PDFs in Text or Image view. It also allows you to compare OCR text and file details.

You can try this free PDF comparison tool online 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 need to use its subscription edition called Adobe Acrobat Pro DC. It offers a dedicated service Compare files tool that allows you to import two documents and compare them side by side. Just buy Adobe Acrobat Pro DC and install it on your PC. Then launch its main GUI and go to the Tools menu. From there you will see a file comparison tool; click on it and select the old and new PDF files you want to compare. It will then display the differences between the two PDFs.

That’s it!

Now read: How to compare the same files in the same folder in different places.

Visually compare two PDF files using these free software and online tools


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