How to find and report differences between two Excel files

Very often you need to analyze spreadsheet, modify some cells or VBA code and give this file back with explanation – what you’ve changed in this Excel file.

For the Excel user this is common situation:

  • You’ve received a spreadsheet from your colleague, edited it and need to send it back, with a detailed description of the modifications made.
  • You need to change clients Excel workbook and report him what you’ve changed in his spreadsheet.
  • And so on. There are many business cases where you should report the difference between two or more Excel worksheets.

All differences found by xlCompare utility between two compared Excel files are listed in the Difference Explorer.

Difference Explorer

This window contains structured list of the differences, grouped by worksheet and by type of modification:

  • Inserted Rows
  • Deleted Rows
  • Inserted Columns
  • Deleted Columns
  • Edited Cells and Formulas

To get more information on how to compare to Excel files using xlCompare Diff Tool and get the difference explorer, visit this page:

xlCompare is a diff and merge tool for Excel files. Difference Report is one of the features, implemented in the application.

To get difference report, for compared Excel spreadsheets, use Difference Report button above this list.

Difference Report Command

Button opens Difference Report window. Here you can browse all differences combined into form of structured summary report.

Difference Report Window

This list is outlined to simplify navigation. Expand or collapse groups of report items.

Every edited formula or constant cell value appear in this list with highlighted difference. xlCompare reflects change in the cells value or text of the formula with highlighted colors. Red and Green letters indicate added or removed parts of the text.

This window is like a Print Preview. You see how Difference Report looks and how it will look for the person, who receives this file.

To transfer it to your colleague, use buttons on the left side of the report window:

  • Copy Report Copy. Copies report to clipboard with color formatting. With this command you can paste report into e-mail window in the Outlook or paste into Microsoft Word.
  • Export Report to Excel Export to Excel. This command saves report as XLSX file. In the Excel workbook it will look exactly as you see in the preview.
  • Export Report to PDF Export to PDF. Save Difference Report as PDF document.
  • Export Report to HTML Export to HTML. Report is saved in the HTML document.

Excel workbook is the best format to transfer difference report to other users.

In this example we’ve presented you Difference Report for a Compares Price Lists example, presented on the How it Works page.

For other workbooks, report is similar – with highlighted changes in formulas and values. Please look into this example for calculations spreadsheet. We’ve compared two worksheets with set of changed formulas.

Difference Report below clearly identifies changes made. In the form of XLSX file we’ve sent it to our customer.

Difference Report for two Excel files