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New PDF Document Comparison Tool from Windward

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Posted on 09/17/2014

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PDF logoHere at Windward we strive to keep our software innovative and up-to-date, so we put out new releases like it’s nobody’s business. For most, our updates contain features and improvements that shower glitter and rainbows on the process of easy reporting with Windward.

Unfortunately, in a few cases it can reformat the layout of reports and move text, charts or images to different locations.

Fortunately, you can fix this with a free, simple tool we developed that compares PDF reports.

The goal of this tool is to make it very obvious if and where there are issues with your new reports after upgrading to a new version. The new PDF document comparison tool lets you compare hundreds of reports at a time and allows you to easily locate any differences without worrying about missing any details.

NOTE: This tool works for PDF output only. If you would like to do something similar with DOCX, check out the document comparison feature built into Microsoft Word

How the Tool Works

The tool, which you can find here, is a .jar file. You provide the locations of all your old and new reports and select “yes” or “no” to choose to output a merged PDF for PDFs with differences. It will take every PDF from the first location, find the PDF with the same name in the other directory, and then digitally overlay each page to find where items don’t line up.

PDF Comparison Tool

A sample results.xml file from Windward’s new PDF document comparison tool.

If the tool identifies a difference, it outputs the name of the PDF and its page number to a file named “results.xml”, along with a similarity percentage showing how alike they are.

(NOTE: To account for items that are supposed to change, such as dates, the utility will catch only PDFs whose similarity percentages are less than 99%.)

In addition to outputting errors to the XML file, you have the option of creating a merged PDF from both the new and old reports. The new merged PDF will combine both reports alternating pages from each PDF (PDF1-pg1, PDF2-pg1, PDF1-pg2, PDF2-pg2…). This lets you open it in Adobe Reader with a side-by-side view to see the reports next to each other.

For the free download and more technical details about the PDF comparison tool, get it while it’s hot.

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Author: TJ Romanowski

TJ has been an intern on Windward's development team for about half a year. Currently a sophomore at CU Boulder, TJ is working on a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science with a minor in Spanish. When he’s not glued to a computer or snowboarding he can often be found with his brothers of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, of which he is a founding father. TJ hopes to one day do work that combines his love of Computer Science with his passion for Spanish, such as natural language processing.

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