Comparison of file comparison tools

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Main article: Data comparison

This article compares computer software tools that compare files, and in many cases directories or folders, whether it is their main purpose or as part of more general file management.

General[edit]

Basic general information about file comparison software.

Name Creator FOSS Free First public release date Year of latest stable version Windows Macintosh Linux Other platforms Max Supported File Size
Beyond Compare Scooter Software[1] No; Proprietary No 1996 2016 (v4.1.9) Yes Yes Yes > 2GB (64 bits)
Compare++ Coode Software[2] No; Proprietary No 2010 2013 (v2.15) Yes[3] No No
diff, diff3 AT&T Yes; BSD 3-clause, BSD 4-clause, CDDL, GPL, Proprietary Yes 1974 Yes Yes (Mac OS X) Yes ported to most platforms as part of SCCS > 2GB but less than 64 bits
DIFFzilla® SlickEdit, Inc [4] No; Proprietary No 1996 (Visual SlickEdit® 2.0) 2016 (v21.0.0) Yes Yes Yes Solaris x86, Solaris SPARC, AIX, HP-UX > 2GB
Eclipse (compare) Yes; Eclipse Public License Yes 2004-07-21 2014-09-26 Yes Yes Yes Anything with Java
Ediff Michael Kifer[5] Yes; GPL Yes 1994 2.81.4 Yes Yes (Mac OS X) Yes Anything with Emacs
ExamDiff Pro PrestoSoft[6] No; Proprietary No 1998 2016-07-27 (v 8.0.1.8) Yes (Win98 and up) No No
Far Manager (compare) Eugene Roshal (original); FAR Group Yes; Revised BSD license Yes 1996 2014 August (v 3.0 build 4040) Yes No No
fc Microsoft[7] No; Proprietary Yes; Part of OS 1987 Yes (DOS) No No
FileMerge (aka opendiff) Apple Inc. No; Proprietary Yes; (part of Apple Developer Tools) 1993 (part of NEXTSTEP 3.2[8]) 2014 (v2.8) No Yes (Mac OS X) No
Guiffy SureMerge Guiffy Software[9] No; Proprietary No 2000 2016 October (v11.5) Yes Yes Yes Anything with Java > 2GB
IntelliJ IDEA (compare) JetBrains[10] No; Proprietary No 2007 (v6.0.5) Yes Yes Yes
jEdit JDiff plugin Various[11] Yes; GPL Yes 1998 2012 (3.3.0) Yes Yes Yes Anything with Java
KDiff3 Joachim Eibl[12] Yes; GPL Yes 2002 2014 Yes Yes Yes "In theory any platform for which Qt-libs work (Qt4 or Qt5)"
Kompare Otto Bruggeman[13] Yes; GPLv2+ Yes Yes [14] Yes (Mac OS X) Yes
Lazarus Diff Lazarus (software) Yes; GPL Yes 2000 2009 Yes Yes Yes FreeBSD
Meld Stephen Kennedy[15] Yes; GPLv2+ Yes 2002 2015-07-23 (v3.14.0) Yes[16] Yes Yes BSD, Solaris
Notepad++ (compare) Various Yes; GPLv3 Yes 2009 2015-01-06 (1.5.6.6) Yes[17] No No
Perforce P4Merge Perforce No; Proprietary Yes 2015 (2015.2) Yes Yes Yes Sun Solaris
Pretty Diff Austin Cheney[18] Yes; MIT-compatible Yes 2009 2014-11-26 Yes (Web) Yes (Web) Yes (Web) Node.js, Windows Script Host
Tkdiff Tkdiff[19] Yes; GPLv2+ Yes 2003 (or before) 2011-11-27 (v4.2) Yes (Tcl) Yes (Tcl) Yes (Tcl) Anything with Tcl
Total Commander (compare) Christian Ghisler[20] No; Proprietary No 2015-09-17 (v8.52a) Yes No No
twdiff (TextWrangler Diff Helper) Bare Bones Software, Inc.[21] No; Proprietary Yes; with TextWrangler 2012 (1.0 (v22)) No Yes No No
vimdiff Bram Moolenaar et al. Yes; GPL-compatible [22] Yes 2001 2006-05-07 (v7.0) Yes Yes Yes Anything with vim
WinDiff Microsoft[23] No; Proprietary Yes; Part of Platform SDK 1992 16.08.2002 14:36:14 (v5.00.2195.6601) Yes No No No
WinMerge Dean Grimm[24] Yes; GPL Yes 1998 2013-02-03 (v2.14.0) Yes (Win95 and up) Yes (in wine[25]) Yes (in wine[25]) 2 GB
UCC USC CSSE[26] No; USC-CSSE Limited Public License Yes 2009 2010-07 Yes Yes Yes {2.6.9} Sun Solaris
Name Creator FOSS Free First public release date Year of latest stable version Windows Macintosh Linux Other platforms Max Supported File Size

Compare features[edit]

Name Show in-line changes Directory comparison Binary comparison Moved lines 3-way comparison Merge Structured comparison[27] Manual compare alignment Image Compare
Beyond Compare Yes Yes Yes No Yes (Files and Folders) Yes (Pro only) Yes Yes
Compare++ Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (C/C++,C#,Java,Javascript,CSS3)
diff No Yes partly No No No
diff3 No No Yes (non-optional)
DIFFzilla® Yes Yes (SlickEdit Pro® only) Yes No No Yes Yes (for all languages that SlickEdit has Context Tagging™ for) Yes No
Eclipse (compare) Yes No (only ancestor) Yes No
Ediff Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
ExamDiff Pro Yes Yes Yes Yes[28] Yes (ExamDiff Pro Master, only) [29] Yes manual synchronization
Far Manager (compare) Yes (Via plugin) [30] Yes Yes Yes (Via plugin) [30] No No
fc No No Yes No No
FileMerge Yes Yes Yes Yes (optional ancestor) Yes
Guiffy SureMerge Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
IntelliJ IDEA (compare) Yes Yes Yes
jEdit JDiff plugin Yes No Yes
KDiff3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Kompare Yes No No Yes
Lazarus Diff
Meld Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes line alignment, unlink scroll
Notepad++ (compare) Yes No No Yes No No No
Perforce P4Merge Yes No No Yes Yes
Pretty Diff Yes Yes No No No No Yes No
Tkdiff Yes No No No No No
Total Commander (compare) Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No resync comparison No
vimdiff Yes Yes (via DirDiff plugin) Yes Yes
WinDiff Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
WinMerge Yes Yes No Yes Yes (Via a fork) [31] Yes No Yes (Via a fork) [31]
UCC Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Name Show in-line changes Directory comparison Binary comparison Moved lines 3-way comparison Merge Structured comparison[27] Manual compare alignment Image compare

API / editor features[edit]

Name GUI CLI Scripting Horizontal / Vertical Syntax Highlighting Reports
Beyond Compare Yes Yes Yes Both Yes XML, HTML, CSV, Text, Unix Patch
Compare++ Yes Yes Both Yes HTML, Text(combined or side-by-side)
diff No Yes Horizontal Yes pipe to diff-highlight[32]
diff3 No Yes Horizontal
DIFFzilla® Yes Yes Yes (Using Slick-C in SlickEdit Pro®) Horizontal Yes Multi-File diff can generate file lists (SlickEdit Pro® only)
Eclipse (compare) Yes Vertical Yes
Ediff Yes Yes elisp Both Yes
ExamDiff Pro Yes Yes optional Yes UNIX, HTML, Diff
Far Manager (compare) Yes Yes Yes Yes No
fc No Yes Horizontal
FileMerge Yes Yes Vertical Yes No
Guiffy SureMerge Yes Yes Java API Both Yes HTML, Text, Unix Patch
IntelliJ IDEA (compare) Yes Vertical Yes
jEdit JDiff plugin Yes Both Yes
KDiff3 Yes Yes Yes No
Kompare Yes Vertical No
Lazarus Diff Yes Yes
Meld Yes Horizontal Yes No
Notepad++ (compare) Yes Yes Both Yes No
Perforce P4Merge Yes Yes Vertical No No
Pretty Diff Yes Yes JavaScript Both Yes XHTML
Tkdiff Yes
Total Commander (compare) Yes Both No No
vimdiff Yes Yes vim script Both Yes HTML
WinDiff Yes Yes Horizontal No Text
WinMerge Yes Yes Vertical Yes CSV, Tab-delimited, HTML, XML
UCC Yes Yes Vertical Yes Text, CSV
Name GUI CLI Scripting Horizontal / Vertical Syntax Highlighting Reports

Other features[edit]

Some other features which did not fit in previous table

Name ZIP support FTP support SFTP support Version Control browsing Patch creation Patch application Patch preview Unicode support XML-aware
Beyond Compare Yes Yes Yes SVN Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compare++ SVN, CVS, Git, Microsoft TFS, Perforce, VSS using command line Yes
diff No No No Yes Yes with patch Yes with patch No No
diff3 No No No
DIFFzilla® Yes (using Multi-File diff (SlickEdit Pro® Only)) Yes (Must edit remote file in SlickEdit® first) Yes (Must edit remote file in SlickEdit® first) Git, SVN, Perforce, CVS, Mercurial and all SCC system (SlickEdit Pro® only) No No No Yes No
Eclipse (compare) Yes CVS, Subversion, Git, Mercurial, Baazar Yes
Ediff Yes Yes RCS, CVS, SVN, Mercurial, git (anything supported by Emacs' VC-mode)[33] Yes Yes Yes
ExamDiff Pro Yes[34] Yes[35] normal diff only Yes
Far Manager (compare) No No No No No No Yes No
fc No No No
FileMerge No supported by OS No No No
Guiffy SureMerge Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[36]
IntelliJ IDEA (compare) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
jEdit JDiff plugin Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
KDiff3 Yes
Kompare Yes
Lazarus Diff
Meld CVS, Subversion, Git, Mercurial, Baazar Yes Yes
Notepad++ (compare) No Yes[37] Git, Subversion (compare against base) No No No Yes No
Perforce P4Merge No Yes
Pretty Diff No No No No No No No Yes Yes
Tkdiff No No CVS, RCS, Subversion No No No No No
Total Commander (compare) Yes Yes Yes No No No No Yes No
vimdiff Yes Yes Yes Yes
WinDiff No No No No
WinMerge Yes No Mercurial,[38] Subversion,[39] Visual Source Safe, Rational ClearCase[40] Yes Yes
UCC Yes No Yes
Name ZIP support FTP support SFTP support Version Control browsing Patch creation Patch application Patch preview Unicode support XML-aware

Aspects[edit]

What aspects can be / are compared?

Name Filename casing CRC Filedate Daylight saving Character casing
Beyond Compare Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compare++ Yes Yes Yes Yes
diff Yes No No No Optional
diff3
DIFFzilla® filesystem dependent No Yes No Optional
Eclipse (compare)
Ediff
ExamDiff Pro No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Far Manager (compare) Yes No Yes No Yes
fc No Optional
FileMerge No No No Optional
Guiffy SureMerge filesystem dependent Yes Yes
IntelliJ IDEA (compare)
jEdit JDiff plugin
Kompare Yes
Lazarus Diff
Meld
Notepad++ (compare) No No No Yes
Perforce P4Merge N/A No No No Yes
Pretty Diff N/A No No No Optional
Tkdiff
Total Commander (compare) Optional Yes (in synchronize only) Optional
vimdiff No No No No Yes
WinDiff No No when different Yes Optional
WinMerge No No Optional Optional
UCC No No Yes No
Name Filename casing CRC Filedate Daylight saving Character casing

Timezone effects[edit]

When files are transferred across time zones and between Microsoft FAT and NTFS file systems, the timestamp displayed by the same file may change, so that identical files with different storage histories are deemed different by a comparer that requires the timestamps to match. The difference is an exact number of quarters of an hour up to 95 (same minutes modulo 15 and seconds) if the file was transported across zones; there is also a one-hour difference within a single zone caused by the transition between winter and daylight-saving time (DST). Some, but not all, file comparison and synchronisation software can be configured to ignore the DST and time-zone differences.[41] Software known to have daylight-saving compensation is marked in the Aspects table.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scooter Software
  2. ^ Coode Software
  3. ^ Compare++ Operating system information
  4. ^ - The most powerful code editor available featuring source analysis (tagging), syntax expansion, beautifiers, beautify while typing, symbol coloring, and source diff.|website=www.slickedit.com
  5. ^ Michael Kifer
  6. ^ PrestoSoft
  7. ^ Microsoft
  8. ^ NeXT Product Marketing (Fall 1993). "What's New in Release 3.2?". NEXTSTEP In Focus. NeXT Computer, Inc. 3 (4). Retrieved 18 July 2014. 
  9. ^ Guiffy Software
  10. ^ JetBrains
  11. ^ jedit.org
  12. ^ "KDiff3 - Homepage". kdiff3.sourceforge.net. Retrieved 2016-10-18. 
  13. ^ Otto Bruggeman
  14. ^ Installing Kompare in Windows
  15. ^ Stephen Kennedy
  16. ^ Meld/Windows
  17. ^ Notepad++ compare plugin
  18. ^ Pretty Diff
  19. ^ tkdiff
  20. ^ Christian Ghisler
  21. ^ Bare Bones Software, Inc.
  22. ^ vim license
  23. ^ Microsoft
  24. ^ Dean Grimm
  25. ^ a b WinMerge in Wine
  26. ^ USC CSSE
  27. ^ a b Compare logical sections (class, methods)
  28. ^ Examdiff
  29. ^ Examdiff
  30. ^ a b Visual Rename
  31. ^ a b Winmerge jp version
  32. ^ https://github.com/git/git/tree/master/contrib/diff-highlight
  33. ^ gnu.org Support-for-Version-Control
  34. ^ through a plug-in
  35. ^ through a plug-in
  36. ^ UTF8, UTF16, MBCS, SJIS, over 150 file encoding and character set formats
  37. ^ Notepad++ FTP plugin
  38. ^ "tortoisehg / stable / wiki / FAQ —". Bitbucket.org. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  39. ^ "Using WinMerge with other tools - WinMerge 2.12 Manual". Winmerge.org. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  40. ^ "About". WinMerge. Retrieved 2010-07-06. 
  41. ^ Example: "Beyond Compare" help describes a user setting "timezone differences - ignores timestamp differences that are multiples of an exact hour."