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How to Compare Excel Workbooks

How to Compare Excel Workbooks

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Published by mars
How to find the differences between two Microsoft Excel Worksheets using the tool DiffEngineX
How to find the differences between two Microsoft Excel Worksheets using the tool DiffEngineX

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Published by: mars on Jun 07, 2007
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How To Compare Microsoft Excel Worksheets WithFlorencesoft DiffEngineXOverview
 
DiffEngineX reports the differences between two Microsoft® Excel workbooks. Youcan choose whether to compare every worksheet contained in the two books (select
Whole Workbooks
) or just selected sheets (select
Selected Sheets
). If youcompare at the Whole Workbook level, worksheets with the same name areautomatically compared with each other. If you want to compare two sheets withdifferent names you must select Selected Sheets and make sure only one sheet isselected in each of the list boxes.DiffEngineX only reports on the differences between the formulae and constantsfound in worksheets. It does not report on cell comment differences, nor does itcompare charts.Every comparison will generate a new workbook listing each cell difference. Thisnew workbook will contain one worksheet for every pair of sheets compared. Itsvery last worksheet is a summary of the number of different cells found in eachpair.DiffEngineX does not modify the workbooks you select to be compared in any way.However when some of its options are selected it will create in-memory copies of your workbooks and modify these instead. DiffEngineX needs to modify thesecopies as part of the work done for Color Differences, Align Rows and AlignColumns.Astep-by-step tutorialon how to compare two lists of data can be found at thebottom of this help page.Clickhereto get the free trial version of DiffEngineX.
Important
If it seems DiffEngineX is failing to spot similarities between worksheets and as aresult is reporting spurious differences, you will need to selectAlign Columnsand/orAlign Rows. Alignment is the insertion of blank rows and/or columns such that theidentical cells in two sheets end up with the same row and column numbers.Identical cells are only recognised for what they are if they have the same row andcolumn numbers.When
Align Columns
is selected you will be asked to select a
row
(or the
rows
)containing column headings, after the Start Comparison button has been pressed. If the sheets being compared do not have column headings, select a row present inboth sheets that has the same meaning and same row number.
 
When
Align Rows
is selected you will be asked to select a
column
(or the
columns
) that will be looked at during the process of row alignment, after the StartComparison button has been pressed. Selection of columns A and/or B will work formost cases. If this is not appropriate, select the first non-blank column present inboth sheets that has the same meaning and column number.It is recommended theColor Differencesis always selected as it offers a muchclearer way to see differences compared to a cell-by-cell listing.Two important important options to find out about areCompact Like Changes When ContiguousandThe Actual Formulae/Their Calculated Values.
International Users
If your current regional settings do not match the language version of Office/Excelinstalled, DiffEngineX may not work correctly.To prevent problems it is recommended you select the optionEnsure application works when Excel language version not equal to Regional Settings.
Difference Report
The difference report is generated in a new workbook. It contains one worksheet forevery pair of worksheets compared. Its last sheet is a summary of the number of differences found.If row or column alignment is selected, the first entries show where the new blankrows and columns have been inserted. They are inserted to maximize the numberof identical cells having matching co-ordinates between each pair of sheets. Cellswith identical content will be flagged as different unless they share the same co-ordinates. The insertion of blank rows and/or columns by DiffEngineX indicates thechanges between the two worksheets have included the addition or deletion of rowsand columns.The next entries list the cell differences. They are organized into five columns.The first column contains the addresses of cells found to differ. (Each entry is theaddress of a single cell unless the optionCompact Like Changes When Contiguous has been selected.) If row/column alignment is selected, the addresses refer to theworkbook copies made by DiffEngineX. These addresses will differ from the ones inyour original workbooks if blank alignment rows/columns have been inserted.The next two columns quote the cell content found to differ.
 
The last two columns are only relevant if row and/or column alignment is selected.They contain the cell addresses of the different content in the original workbooksselected for comparison. These are unaffected by the insertion of blank alignmentrows and columns. Blank rows and columns are only inserted in workbook copies.
If you are referring back to your original workbooks you should use thevalues in these two columns rather than the very first one.
 
Extras
When
Color Differences
is selected, the cells that differ between two sheets arehighlighted with color. When the comparision has finished, copies of the twoworkbooks you selected are generated with the added color, in addition to thedifference report workbook. Once again these are _copies_ of your workbooks andwill not be saved to your hard drive unless you ask Microsoft® Excel to.The Extras dialog allows you to specify what colors are used. It is invoked bypressing the Extras button.In the Extras dialog, a deleted cell is defined as a cell with content in Workbook #1,but no content in Workbook #2. An addition is defined as a cell with content inWorkbook #2, but no content in Workbook #1. In this respect Workbook #1 can beconsidered the original workbook and Workbook #2 the modified copy.
Existing Color Removal
Existing workbook color may make inspection of the results difficult. The Extrasdialog offers you the option of removing unconditional color from the workbookcopies before it starts to highlight the differences. Color is not removed from theoriginal workbooks you select.
Existing Hidden Sheets/Cells
Excel allows spreadsheet authors to hide whole rows and columns. Additionallywhole sheets may be made invisible. Differences may occur in these hiddenregions. Obviously there is little point in coloring a pair of cells if the results cannotbe seen. An option exists to unhide sheets, rows and columns on the workbookcopies. The original workbooks are not modified by selecting this option. Note thatselecting this option will only have an effect if 
Color Differences
is also selectedon the main part of the user interface.
Hide Matching Rows
If large worksheets are compared and the different rows are widely separated,inspection of all the color highlighted rows may be difficult. An option exists to hidethe matching rows, just leaving the different rows visible. Selecting
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