While xltrail is a version control system for Excel files at heart, it can also be used to compare two (or more) Excel files ad hoc. There are other tools available to do that (see my previous blog post) but xltrail is a great choice for comparing two files for the following reasons:
For those who prefer to watch rather than read, look no further! Here’s the blog post as video. For everybody else, follow the step-by-step guide below.
Start by creating a new project (you can also use an existing one):
In the pop up, type in a name and then click on
Create Project. Once created, it will show up like this:
Click on the project name (
Comparisons in the screenshot above) and then on the
Upload new workbook button:
Now drag and drop your first Excel workbook:
Once uploaded, you can optionally add a comment, like e.g.
version 1, then hit
Submit new version:
After a moment (big files might take a little longer), you will see your file showing up like this:
Click on the file name and you will see an overview of the sheets and vba code (if you have any).
On this screen, simply drag and drop the second file:
Like with the first Excel file, you will again be able to optionally leave a comment and then submit the new version by clicking the button.
After both files have been uploaded, we’re now ready to compare them. To do that, click on
History (on the right hand side of the gray bar in the screenshot above) and you will see something like this:
To see the changes between the Excel workbooks, simply click on the upper version, i.e. in this case
version 2. This will give you an overview of the changes, both in the sheets and VBA code:
To get the details on what changed in a sheet, click on the respective message (in this example on
Sheet 1 added or
Sales Plan modified). Green means added or new while red means deleted or old:
Note that xltrail only shows you changes in formulas and entered values, but not in calculated values as this reduces the noise in the comparison.
If you have more than two versions of a file that you want to compare, you can simply repeat what we did for the second file. After uploading the 3rd file, you will now have three versions showing up when you click on
To compare version 3 with version 2, simply click on
version 3. If, however, you wanted to compare version 1 with version 3, simply copy and paste their version numbers into the
To fields, respectively, and hit