I made a documented which is to describe the difference between the same logical structure from different version ( e.g Structure A from version 8 and Structure A from version 9 ).

Luckily I've got the logical structure diagram from the 2 functional specification. I've managed to copy the image of each logical structure and paste them in MS Word and compare the 2 version side by side.

I don't know if there is a standard way to illustrate the difference. I simply draw a cross over the removed logical member from the previous version and draw a rectangle around the new logical member of the next version. I know my way is kinda childish. I am wondering how to present them professionally.

enter image description here

In addition, You won't believe this, but MS Word doesn't have a shape of CROSS, so I am actually using a multiplication sign that look like a giant monster:

enter image description here

This is why I hate myself. Unlike 2 separated lines, this shape is easy to use, draw and resize. I am wondering if MS Word would care about a normal cross.

  • 1
    Most text difference viewers use color coding: blue for additions, red (strikeout) for deletions. This would be on a per line basis and within a line on a per character basis. You might need a third for changes to a member that is still there but has a changed name, otherwise you would have to present that as a deletion/insertion combo. – Marjan Venema Sep 18 '12 at 8:33
  • Exactly what are you trying to achieve? Why can't you simply show what is? I would hope that your document is versioned somehow, somewhere. This would allow you to have your version 8 document and your version 9 document and view them side by side. Microsoft Word (at least more recent versions) allows you to compare documents for changes and track revision history, as well. Given this, why do you need to show changes in the document? – Thomas Owens Sep 18 '12 at 11:06
  • @ThomasOwens - some diagrams can get pretty complex, and manually comparing two versions is almost like comparing code. Imagine reviewing someone else's code changes, if the modified lines weren't automatically highlighted by your diff tool. That said, I agree with most of what you said, and would only want to use a diagram-diff tool if it was completely automated. – Daniel B Sep 18 '12 at 12:06
  • It sounds like diagram complexity is the problem, not an inability to compare diagrams. I'd recommend checking out the built-in Word diff tool that exists in Word 2010 (and maybe later) as referenced in ElYusubov's answer and also trying to address complexity in diagrams by showing narrower views. It might mean more diagrams, but each one would be easier to read and more relevant. – Thomas Owens Sep 18 '12 at 12:08

I know my way is kinda childish.

That is debatable. If it is actually necessary to explicitly show that a node has been deleted, then (IMO) a simple corner-to-corner is a reasonable way to do it. I've seen this kind of notation used in text books.

The bottom line is that getting the information across to the reader clearly is more important than "childish" versus "professional".

I am wondering how to present them professionally.

I suppose you could overlay it with "Deleted" in a distinctive text style.


If you have version control, then it should take care of this problem.

In MS word, you should be able to use a build in mechanism to review the changes in the text, which i hope you are already aware and utilize.

However, for mentioned diagram differences you may use your approach by showing original diagram with additions in Red colored drawings (no reason to show side-by-side). I think your approach showing red crosses for discarded parts is a good one. However, in the beginning of the document, you have to provide some brief instruction to notify the reader about your conventions that you have used to differentiate the diagrams.

  • I haven't tried with diagrams yet (and it might depend on their format), but Word 2010 (and maybe earlier versions) also has a "compare documents" diff utility built into it. You can get two versions out of your version control system and diff them side by side. Works wonderfully for text and tables, and I would suspect that it would at least indicate that the diagram changed and call attention to it, if it doesn't highlight the differences. – Thomas Owens Sep 18 '12 at 11:25

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