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File Compare Recommendation

I have two config text files which are almost identical that I'd like to be able to easily identify the differences in.

Can somebody please make some sort of application recommendation which is free that can do this for me?

Thanks in advance!

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marked as duplicate by slhck, Nifle, Hello71, sblair, Sathya Jun 8 '11 at 10:32

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Depends, what platform are you on? – dmckee Jun 8 '11 at 0:13

10 Answers 10

up vote 27 down vote accepted

The following are all good graphical (or pseudo-graphical) free and open-source diff tools:

WinMerge (Windows)

WinMerge Highlight Line Diff

Meld (Linux/FreeBSD/OS X)

Meld File Diff

vimdiff/gvimdiff (multi-platform)


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+1 for Meld and FOSS tools. My personal favorite (but I'm a Linux and Mac OS X junkie). – Tyler K. Jun 8 '11 at 4:23
Yep, winmerge for diff, kdiff for merge. What a backwards world we live in. – Jean-Bernard Pellerin Jun 8 '11 at 4:58
Winmerge <3 Works great – GolezTrol Jun 8 '11 at 9:34

"Comparison of file comparison tools"

I recommend diff though.

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To clarify, diff is a *nix utility for reporting file differences. If you are on Windows, it is probably easier to install a different program (pun not intended). – Alex Hirzel Jun 7 '11 at 18:48
Or you could install diff. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 7 '11 at 18:49
+1, you are correct. – Alex Hirzel Jun 7 '11 at 18:50

Notepad++ has this capability and is free. Though Beyond Compare is excellent (better) as well (but not free)

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Adding Windiff (Windows) and xxdiff (UNIX, but MacOS X ports exist) to the discussion.

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QuickDiff, works on any platform that has a browser where you can copy/paste, and no need for installation.

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Good old "diff -y | less" always works for me (only on a Unix terminal though). It also has the advantage of being on every Unix computer on the planet (the -y causes the lines to be compared side-by-side instead of the normal top-down style).

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I recommend BeyondCompare. While it's not free, it's an excellent tool and frequently updated.

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FreeDiff and KDiff3 are some simple ones.

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I recommend DiffMerge by SourceGear (Freeware).

  • Offers great diff visualization and optional Merge for source management.
  • Available for Windows, OS X, Ubuntu, Fedora
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I have and still use CompareIt and have found it very good

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