How to Merge Word Documents

Pull together info from different Word docs to create a new, super document

how to merge Word documents
One Word document can be easier to manage than multiple documents.

Getty Images (Rick Barrentine/Corbis Collection)

If you have multiple Microsoft Word documents you'd like to combine into one, simply copying content from each and pasting it into your destination document isn't the most efficient method available. It can be very time-consuming, especially if you're dealing with a large number of documents or complex formatting.

The best way to merge Word documents together is by using the application's built-in functionality, created with this purpose in mind.

Note: The functionality detailed in this article is not available in Word Online.

Merging Two or More Word Documents 

Follow the directions below to combine Word documents together into one master file.

how to merge Word documents
Merging two Word documents into one.
  1. Open the file you wish to serve as the main document.
  2. Place the active cursor at the point of the document where you wish to insert the new contents.
  3. Select the Insert tab, located near the upper left-hand corner of the Word interface. 
  4. Select Object, located in the Text section of Word's main toolbar and represented by a new window icon. 
  5. When the drop-down menu appears, select Object.
  6. The Object dialog should now appear, overlaying the main Word window. Select the Create from File tab, then select Browse on Windows, or From File on macOS.
  7. Locate and select the file or files containing the contents you wish to insert into your document. 
  8. Once the File name is field is populated with the proper path and the source file(s), select OK on Windows, or Insert on macOS.
  9. The contents from the destination file(s) should now be inserted into your current Word document at the location previously selected. These steps can be repeated for multiple documents if you like. 

Note: You can also choose the Text from File option presented in step 5 above, but only if you're interested in inserting plain text from a source file and are not concerned with maintaining formatting, retaining images, etc.

Merging Different Versions of a Single Document

If you have multiple versions of the same basic document, perhaps one that several different people have worked on individually, they can also be merged into one master file without manually copying and pasting. However, the process for doing so is a bit different than the path detailed above. 

combining multiple versions of a Word document
Two versions of the same Word document combined.
  1. Select the Review tab, located along the top of the Word interface.
  2. Select Compare.
  3. When the drop-down menu appears, select Combine or Combine Documents
  4. The Combine Documents dialog should now appear, overlaying your main Word window. Select the main document, either from the drop-down menu or by selecting the folder icon found within the Original document section.
  5. Repeat this step within the Revised document section, replacing the main document with the file containing the changes that you wish to merge. 
  6. Select the More button in Windows or the down arrow in macOS, which presents several optional settings that will dictate how the two files are compared, along with how changes will be noted in your newly-created document. 
  7. Once satisfied with your settings, select OK to merge the two documents accordingly. Both the original and combined documents will now be displayed side-by-side, along with a record of revisions and their corresponding details.