Diff Tools on macOS WinMerge Compare &amp

Diff Tools on macOS WinMerge Compare &amp

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> What are the best folder/file compare/diff tools for either OSX, Linux or Windows?
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15 Options Considered

Best folder/file compare/diff tools for either OSX, Linux or WindowsPriceDev platformsPlatforms

Kdiff3

Windows; Mac; Linux
86

vimdiff

85

Meld

freeLinux; Windows; Mac (unofficial)
82

Beyond Compare

$30-60Windows; Mac; Linux

p4merge

Windows; Mac; Linux
See Full List

Kdiff3

My Recommendation for Kdiff3

My Recommendation for Kdiff3

Add Video or Image
All

16

Pros

12

Cons

3

Specs

PassionateHermes
Top Pro

•••

Supports 3 way merges

For modern version control systems, 3way merge support is a basic requirement, but many other open source diff viewers do not adequately handle 3way merges. See More

Tord Jansson
Top Con

•••

No recent updates

No updates since 2014. Product is stable and feature-full as it is though. See More

Specs
Dev platforms:Windows; Mac; Linux

Tord Jansson
Top Pro

•••

Mature and feature filled

Mature and stable product with a multitude of features such as folder and file compare, three-way diffs, auto-merge and integrated editor. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Con

•••

Problems when files have different number of lines

For example, if you add 3 lines: A, B and C locally but on the other change there are only A and C, Kdiff3 will work out that A was added, then it says that B conflicts with C but adds C again anyway. See More

Tord Jansson
Top Pro

•••

Open Source

See More

TactfulArohirohi
Top Con

•••

Extremely slow

Doesn’t seem to work for anything except very small files, otherwise it appears it will take all day, if it will ever finish. See More

PassionateHermes
Top Pro

•••

Can compare directories

It is able to compare whole directory trees. See More

PassionateHermes
Top Pro

•••

Diff by character not by lines

On comparing two files, difference is shown by characters; not by lines. See More

prash
Top Pro

•••

Supports editing files directly

In addition to comparing two files it also allows you to edit the merge result right in place. See More

Monika
prash
Top Pro

•••

Preprocessing before calculating differences

There are options that may pre-process compared files before Kdiff3 actually does a comparison – to ignore for example automatically generated dates and/or revision numbers added by commit hooks. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Supports manual code aligning

With selecting code in one window and hitting Ctrl+Y, then selecting some other code in second window and also hitting Ctrl+Y you can manually align the code. See More

Tord Jansson
Top Pro

•••

Shell integration (Windows)

Integrates with Windows file explorer and adds useful shortcuts to the right-click menu. See More

Monika
prash
Top Pro

•••

The UI is customizable

Allows customizing colors regardless of user/system theme. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Context menu shortcut

You can right-click a folder/file and the options: Save <file> for later Compare with will be available, making launching KDiff3 really convenient. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Free and open source

KDiff3 is completely free to download and use. It’s also open source released under the GPL. See More

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86

vimdiff

My Recommendation for vimdiff

My Recommendation for vimdiff

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All

13

Experiences

3

Pros

7

Cons

3
thermoplastics
eLefTrick6
Top Pro

•••

Compare up to 4 files together side-by-side

See More

Monika
CharmingInariOkami
Top Con

•••

Not for people who are not used to vim

Since this is basically a vim feature, it’s clear that people who aren’t used to vim and its keyboard-based interface would find it very hard to work with vimdiff. See More

Elias Van Ootegem
Elias Van Ootegem’s Experience

The best of both worlds: diff a file + editing power of vim. See More

thermoplastics
eLefTrick6
Top Pro

•••

Free and open source

See More

Monika
prash
eLefTrick6
Top Con

•••

Vim has quite a learning curve

See More

dyln mc
dyln mc’s Experience

best See More

thermoplastics
eLefTrick6
Top Pro

•••

Multi-platform

See More

IndependentThaumas
Top Con

•••

Terminal based

See More

ImmaculatePrabhasa
ImmaculatePrabhasa’s Experience

best See More

thermoplastics
eLefTrick6
Top Pro

•••

Versatile and extendable

You can easily use a script to check any new source changes and tabdiff plugin in order to open every file in a tab. This will allow you to see all the changes, very easily with one command. See More

greyfade
Top Pro

•••

Mouse-free interface

It’s practically vim, this means that the whole interface is mouse-free, this increases development speed significantly since you are only using the keyboard. See More

greyfade
Top Pro

•••

Lightweight

Since it’s inside vim, it’s very lightweight and fast. It fires up quickly and it does all operations painlessly. See More

greyfade
Top Pro

•••

Helpful to people who work a lot inside the terminal

Using command-line tools (vim/git) keep you stick in the terminal. See More

Hide See All

85

Meld

My Recommendation for Meld

My Recommendation for Meld

Add Video or Image
All

23

Experiences

1

Pros

14

Cons

7

Specs

meikl
Andris Pelcbergs
Top Pro

•••

Supports file editing

In addition to comparing two files it also allows you to edit them and the diffs are updated automatically. See More

Andris Pelcbergs
Top Con

•••

Slow on large files 

While larger files are supported, they can take a long time to load. (20,000 lines+) See More

Pablo Bianchi
Pablo Bianchi’s Experience

I use Meld on Linux for more than 6 years. Is fast, stable, easy! See More

Specs
Platforms:Linux; Windows; Mac (unofficial)
License:Free and Open Source

oli g.
Top Pro

•••

Free and open source

GPL v2 and https://git.gnome.org//browse/meld/ See More

rothkj1022
Top Con

•••

Unsupported Mac version does not work

Crashed in less than 5 mins after installing and running for the first time. See More

Yoshiyuki
IndependentPoseidon3659
Top Pro

•••

Three-way compare

See More

Goldie Lin
Top Con

•••

Program opens slow on Windows

Update: This issue should be fixed on Meld-3.18.1-win32.msi released on 27 May 2018. See http://meldmerge.org/news.html See More

meikl
Andris Pelcbergs
raisercostin
Top Pro

•••

More than two different folders can be compared

Meld allows users to compare two or more folders with each other and even launch file comparisons of files contained in these folders. See More

PositiveNinkasi
Top Con

•••

No option to compare individual rows horizontally

Unlike other options, like Beyond Compare, Meld has no option to compare individual rows horizontally. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Simple GUI

See More

Pipo De Clown
Top Con

•••

Windows support lacking

The support for Windows is very limited. The installer is for a relatively old version and there are known bugs. See More

oli g.
Top Pro

•••

Open Source

Uses GPLv2 and MIT license. See More

meikl
Top Con

•••

No portable version available

Meaning a zip instead of an installer. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Fast on Linux

Relatively fast on Linux. See More

Kristaps
Dario Mangoni
Top Con

•••

Cannot block-merge diffs

Cannot be selected a block of text and merge the differences in the local copy. See More

Pablo Bianchi
Top Pro

•••

Comparing two or more different folders is supported

Meld allows users to compare two or three different folders for differences. But if a user wants to ‘zoom in’ and compare files contained in these folders, Meld gives you the ability to do so and launch file comparisons between files contained in different folders or in the same folder. See More

Yoshiyuki
oli g.
Top Pro

•••

File and Text filter

Files can be filtered out depending on patterns with wildcard selectors. Text can be ignored with regex patterns. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Internationalization

Through the GNOME Translation project and the translators that have worked for it, Meld is available in multiple languages. You can check if your language is supported in the translation statistics page. If you can’t find your language or if your language translation is unfinished and you want to help, you can do so by joining the GNOME Translation Project. See More

Yoshiyuki
Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Easy to use and visually appealing

Straightforward and you don’t need to read tutorials to use it. Just click and select and you instantly see how the difference and merges are connected to each other. Three sub-windows instead of four, which reduces the mess during merge and let you see more of the surrounding files rather than just five lines. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Supports editing files directly

In addition to comparing two files it also allows you to edit them right in place. What’s more, the diffs are updated automatically. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Supports some simple version control actions

Meld supports the major version control systems (Git, Mercurial, Subversion and Bazaar). You can launch file comparisons between different versions to see what parts changed before commiting. Simple version control actions are also supported and possible. For example: commit/update/add/remove/delete files. See More

Goldie Lin
Top Pro

•••

Three way comparisons

You can compare up to three different files for differences. Plus you can edit files from the comparison view and the diff will automatically update. See More

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82

Beyond Compare

My Recommendation for Beyond Compare

My Recommendation for Beyond Compare

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All

26

Experiences

4

Pros

17

Cons

4

Specs

Jonathan
Andris Pelcbergs
Top Pro

•••

Can compare remote directories

Beyond Compare can compare directories through FTP, SFTP. Also it can compare directories hosted on Dropbox or Amazon S3. See More

Andris Pelcbergs
Top Con

•••

Paid proprietary software 

Beyond Compare is not free, it offers different license options depending on the number of members in a team and depending on the software version. See More

Mike
Mike’s Experience

Due to specialized viewers (e.g., hex and table compare) as well as syntax highlighting for major programming languages, it’s the perfect companion for every developer. See More

Specs
Platforms:Windows; Mac; Linux
License:Proprietary

Monika
ProductiveTuriacus
Top Pro

•••

Has rules for adding ignore-masks and replacement rules

So parts you don’t want to see in your comparison can be hidden with ignore masks. Parts that are okay to be changed can be set with change-lists so Beyond compare knows what’s the replacement value and skips displaying this. So you can focus on the for you important changes. For example, with the ignore mask you can compare two logs with different timestamps but nearly same content (beginning with timestamps the first x characters adding to ignore). See More

TactfulArohirohi
Top Con

•••

Limited file size

At least for the Windows version, trying to compare large files (multiple GB) fails. Far too limited and slow for a paid program. See More

CuriousGilgamesh
CuriousGilgamesh’s Experience

using Beyond Compare 4 I ended up with a lot of duplicates becuse a long list of orphans where not orphans at all. I did any kind of check and I conclude that the long names of nested folders are probably not handled by this program. I rebuilt all the indexes. I did all I could in my knowledge. So to me there is a bug See More

Jonathan Rehm
Top Pro

•••

Intuitive compare UI

You can easily tell what the differences are and how to resolve them. The built-in tools can take care of most conflicts, leaving only the most challenging for manual resolution. See More

Endi Sukaj
TactfulArohirohi
Top Con

•••

Slow

Beyond Compare is extremely slow compared to other tools. See More

Yves Goergen
Yves Goergen’s Experience

This tool lets me compare and merge anything I ever needed. And it provides a clean and intuitive user interface. Looking back at the free tools that come with TortoiseSVN or TortoiseGit, I can’t understand how anybody would want those. See More

Greymont
Top Pro

•••

Supports comparing folders

Beyond Compare can be used to compare both files and folders. File-Filters possible. See More

rothkj1022
Top Con

•••

Buggy

App is built on a ported version of the Windows version, written in Delphi. Interface issues continue to surface. See More

Greymont
Greymont’s Experience

Rock solid performance over decades. Very mature a dependable product and company. See More

Yves Goergen
PomPomTom
Top Pro

•••

Supports binary comparison, both for checking if files are the same, but also in side-by-side hex-editor mode

See More

Endi Sukaj
Trond Grøntoft
Top Pro

•••

Cross platform

Works on Mac, Windows and Unix. See More

Monika
Yves Goergen
Trond Grøntoft
Top Pro

•••

3-way text merge

This is useful when resolving Git conflicts where you can see the original version and the two conflicting checkins. Clear display of changed lines (background color) and changed characters (foreground color). It can also be used to merge changes where no version control like Git is used. See More

Yves Goergen
Top Pro

•••

Supports editing files directly

This allows you to copy differences from either side, but instantly edit them while you’re there. With syntax highlighting. See More

ProductiveTuriacus
Top Pro

•••

Synchronize folders

Can be used to synchronize folders. Including wildcards. See More

Endi Sukaj
Trond Grøntoft
Top Pro

•••

Powerful FTP features

Easy to configure for updating websites. Can define rules for file comparison, ignored files, and folders. See More

Yves Goergen
Top Pro

•••

Can be used to compare image files

This is a useful feature for game developers using Git. See More

DetailedEuporie
Top Pro

•••

One license covers all major OSs (Linux/Windows/Mac)

See More

Yoshiyuki
Truong
Mike
Top Pro

•••

Syntax highlighting

C, C++, C#, SQL, Pascalw, xml, Python, and many more built-in and available online. See More

Monika
Yves Goergen
Top Pro

•••

Customer Service is awesome and easy to work with

A customer support forum is provided and you get quick replies to your e-mails. See More

Rūdis
Truong
Top Pro

•••

Lots of useful hotkeys

In Beyond Compare you can easily press some key combinations to copy a snippet between 2 files/folders or set a base folder for further comparison. They are very useful if you are a software integrator. See More

Mike
Top Pro

•••

Table compare

Delimited data files can be compared cell-by-cell in a Table Compare session. Data can be sorted and aligned on key fields, and unimportant columns can be ignored. See More

Trond Grøntoft
Jonathan
PomPomTom
Top Pro

•••

Folder comparison features and options are very flexible

File comparison can be based on CRC checking, a full binary comparison or a set of predefined rules like file size time stamps etc. See More

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p4merge

My Recommendation for p4merge

My Recommendation for p4merge

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7

Pros

5

Cons

1

Specs

Paolo
Top Pro

•••

Cross-platform with a good Mac port

P4Merge works on Windows, Linux and OS X. See More

Endi Sukaj
ResponsiblePerun
Top Con

•••

Can’t diff directories

See More

Specs
Platforms:Windows; Mac; Linux
License:Free

Paolo
Top Pro

•••

Free

P4Merge is free of charge. See More

Paolo
Top Pro

•••

Also has image diffing

For those who are working in both text based source code or files, as well as images, its nice to have the diff functionality of both present in the same product. See More

Paolo
Top Pro

•••

3 way merge support

P4Merge presents merge information in 4 panes – BASE, LOCAL, REMOTE and MERGE_RESULT. See More

Paolo
Top Pro

•••

Detects minimal changes without having a common ancestor

After a merge sometimes you have conflicts. You can resolve them by using a merge tool. You can run git mergetool –tool-help to get more details about what tools are supported. You will get an output like the following git mergetool –tool=<tool> may be set to one of the following: p4merge
tortoisemerge
vimdiff
vimdiff2
vimdiff3 The following tools are valid, but not currently available: araxis
bc
bc3
codecompare
deltawalker
diffmerge
diffuse
ecmerge
emerge
gvimdiff
gvimdiff2
gvimdiff3
kdiff3
meld
opendiff
tkdiff
winmerge
xxdiff Some of the tools listed above only work in a windowed environment. If run in a terminal-only session, they will fail. See More

Hide See All

WinMerge

My Recommendation for WinMerge

My Recommendation for WinMerge

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13

Pros

9

Cons

3

Specs

Dario Mangoni
Top Pro

•••

Folder comparison

See More

Doser
Top Con

•••

Development is stopped

No update for years; last official release was made in 2013. Two forks are still in active development as of 2017. WinMerge2011: https://bitbucket.org/jtuc/winmerge2011/ As of 2015 it was on par with the historical version, and has additional features such as showing only differences and a 64-bit version. Winmerge-v2-jp: https://bitbucket.org/sdottaka/winmerge-v2 and https://github.com/sdottaka/winmerge-v2 Adds support for 3-way merge, diff-only view, and improvements to the diff algorithm among other additions. Has a 64-bit version. An ‘official’ list of forks is maintained (despite the url) at http://www.geocities.co.jp/SiliconValley-SanJose/8165/unofficial_winmerge_nightly_builds.html See More

Specs
Platforms:Windows
License:Free and Open Source

thermoplastics
Dario Mangoni
Top Pro

•••

Patch creation

You can also recreate a patch for folders and subfolders, not only files. See More

Dario Mangoni
Top Con

•••

Not update since 2013

See More

thermoplastics
Dario Mangoni
Top Pro

•••

Filter results given file type

You can exclude specific file types from the results. See More

meikl
Top Con

•••

Only available for Windows

See More

Laura Kyle
Dario Mangoni
Top Pro

•••

Optionally excludes comments for C, C++, PHP, JavaScript languages from comparison

See More

Emmanuel Simond
Top Pro

•••

Fast

See More

Doser
Top Pro

•••

Good navigation

Keyboard shortcuts (and toolbar buttons) to navigate to next (previous) difference, side panel shows a map of the files with changed lines and allows to jump to a given place. See More

thermoplastics
Dario Mangoni
Top Pro

•••

Open source

See More

JM80
Doser
Top Pro

•••

Scratchpad mode

Paste text directly into compare window for quick ad hoc comparisons. See More

thermoplastics
Dario Mangoni
Top Pro

•••

Compiled only for Win

See More

Hide See All

CodeCompare

My Recommendation for CodeCompare

My Recommendation for CodeCompare

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7

Pros

4

Cons

2

Specs

Kristaps
Katya Sklyarova
Top Pro

•••

Supports comparing folders

Can diff entire folders. See More

Ryan
Top Con

•••

Free version is limited

Whereas there is a free version, it is missing a lot of great features that you’re forced to pay for if you want. See More

Specs
Platforms:Windows
License:FREE/$49,95
Dev platforms:Windows
IDE Integration:Visual Studio, Android Studio, Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA

See All Specs

Katya Sklyarova
Top Pro

•••

Integrated into Visual Studio

Can be used either as a stand-alone product or as the built in diff/merge tool for Visual Studio. See More

meikl
Top Con

•••

Only for Windows

If you want to use something on Linux or OS X, too, you’ll have to use a different application. See More

Ryan
Top Pro

•••

Offers free version and paid for version

You get a lot more if you pay for the pro version. See More

Ryan
Top Pro

•••

Three-way comparison and automatic merging

Three comparison panes with horizontal and vertical layouts Integrates with version control systems as the merging tool for conflicting file revisions Non-conflicting changes are merged automatically Merging conflicts are highlighted One-click conflict resolution with a mouse button See More

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Kaleidoscope

My Recommendation for Kaleidoscope

My Recommendation for Kaleidoscope

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7

Pros

3

Cons

3

Specs

thermoplastics
xeleh
Top Pro

•••

Great user interface

The UI is intuitive and easy to read/understand. Features such as tabs make browsing and comparing folders quite easy as well. See More

thermoplastics
iNyar
Michael Howitz
Top Con

•••

Not free

Expensive ($70) if you only need it occasionally. See More

Specs
Platforms:Mac
License:Proprietary

Tomasz Borychowski
Top Pro

•••

Lots of integrations

Easy integration with Git, Mercurial, Subversion, Versions, TextMate, Bazaar, and more. See More

thermoplastics
xeleh
Top Con

•••

Mac OS X only

See More

Alex
Christian Biggins
Top Pro

•••

Three-way file merge

Allows three-way merging. Particularly useful for merging and fixing conflicts. See More

rothkj1022
Top Con

•••

Does not work – crashes

See More

Hide See All

DiffMerge

My Recommendation for DiffMerge

My Recommendation for DiffMerge

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3

Pros

3
RealisticChalchiuhtotolin
Top Pro

•••

Three way merges

DiffMerge supports three way merges. See More

JM80
RealisticChalchiuhtotolin
Top Pro

•••

Cross platform

DiffMerge is cross platform and is available for all major operating systems. This means WIndows, Linux and OSX. See More

RealisticChalchiuhtotolin
Top Pro

•••

Folder compare

See More

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Araxis Merge

My Recommendation for Araxis Merge

My Recommendation for Araxis Merge

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15

Pros

9

Cons

6
thermoplastics
Jeff Boschee
Top Pro

•••

Does many different formats

XML, Binaries, Images, etc. See More

rothkj1022
Top Con

•••

No remote (ftp) folder comparison feature for Mac

FTP compare feature is only available in Windows version See More

Paul
Top Pro

•••

Works great on large files

See More

Jeff Boschee
Top Con

•••

Expensive

See More

Paul
Top Pro

•••

Point and click merging

AraxisMerge has a feature which is very helpful especially for beginners. By clicking on different parts of a text file you can select all the parts to added in a final merged file. The comparison display also updates real-time as the merge happens. See More

Alex
rothkj1022
Top Con

•••

You can’t save sessions

See More

Paul
Top Pro

•••

Directory comparisons

AraxisMerge supports comparing different directories with each other. See More

meikl
Top Con

•••

Not available for Linux

See More

Paul
Top Pro

•••

Three way merges  

AraxisMerge supports three way merges. See More

thermoplastics
PomPomTom
Top Con

•••

Binary comparison chokes and freezes with anything beyond a few tens of megs

If you want to compare large binary files for differences, forget it. See More

Paul
Top Pro

•••

Beautiful interface

See More

Jonathan
PomPomTom
Top Con

•••

Annoying interface

The combination of the Ribbon along with being a Windiff rip-off is not appealing, especially given the price. See More

Jeff Boschee
Top Pro

•••

Mac and Windows

See More

Endi Sukaj
Aakash Chopra
Top Pro

•••

Supports HTML exports

This comes in handy when attempting to share results of a diff. See More

thermoplastics
artibluew
Top Pro

•••

Free for contributors to open source projects

See More

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Kompare

My Recommendation for Kompare

My Recommendation for Kompare

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4

Pros

3

Specs

Francisco
LuckyMazu
Top Pro

•••

It’s visually very comprehensible

See More

Specs
Platforms:Linux
License:Free and Open Source

LuckyMazu
Top Pro

•••

Supports comparing directories

Kompare can compare both files and directories. See More

Francisco
LuckyMazu
Top Pro

•••

Configurable hotkeys

Because it’s a KDE app, all the hotkeys are configurable. See More

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Emacs+Diff+Ediff+Emerge

My Recommendation for Emacs+Diff+Ediff+Emerge

My Recommendation for Emacs+Diff+Ediff+Emerge

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DeltaWalker

My Recommendation for DeltaWalker

My Recommendation for DeltaWalker

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8

Pros

5

Cons

2

Specs

rothkj1022
Top Pro

•••

Can compare remote directories

Can connect to remote folders via FTP, SFTP, FTPS, WebDAV, WebDAVS, Dropbox, and Google Drive. See More

rothkj1022
Top Con

•••

Very slow

Folder comparisons can take an extremely long time to load compared to other diff tools. See More

Specs
Platforms:macOS; Windows; Linux

rothkj1022
Top Pro

•••

Folder and file filtering

Easy to use rules for including or excluding folders and files from your folder comparisons. See More

rothkj1022
Top Con

•••

Can’t save sessions

See More

rothkj1022
Top Pro

•••

Cross platform

Works on Mac, Windows and Linux. See More

Alex
rothkj1022
Top Pro

•••

Image comparison

2 & 3-way image comparisons with zooming & panning are available. See More

rothkj1022
Top Pro

•••

3-Way Text Merge

See More

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TortoiseMerge

My Recommendation for TortoiseMerge

My Recommendation for TortoiseMerge

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5

Pros

3

Cons

1

Specs

meikl
Top Con

•••

Only available on Windows

See More

Dario Mangoni
Top Pro

•••

Easy learning curve

See More

Specs
Platforms:Windows
License:Free

Laura Kyle
Dario Mangoni
Top Pro

•••

Use “this whole file” option

Take all the file with one-click. Very useful while git rebasing. See More

Endi Sukaj
Top Pro

•••

Completely free

See More

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SmartSynchronize

My Recommendation for SmartSynchronize

My Recommendation for SmartSynchronize

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2

Pros

1

Specs

meikl
Top Pro

•••

Syntax coloring

See More

Specs
Platforms:OSX, Linux, Windows

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July 2018 by Tobias Günther

Diff Tools on macOS

NEW: Image Diffing in Tower! Our popular Git client Tower now supports Image Diffing for a variety of formats – including PNG, JPG, GIF, and many more. Learn more in our blog post.

Staying up-to-date in a software, writing, or design project is hard – especially when multiple people are working on it. Without the right tools, you won’t be able to understand the changes that move the project forward.

This is where a diff tool comes in handy. It makes changes visible and helps you understand them. In this article, we’ve compiled a short list that helps you get an overview of the best diff tools on the Mac.

FileMerge

Being part of its developer toolset, Apple’s own merge tool comes at no additional costs. It might not be the most elegant tool, but it’s definitely a solid one that does the job of comparing & merging text.

Beyond Compare

Originally a product for Microsoft Windows, the Beyond Compare team has contributed a fine diff tool to the Mac platform. Like Araxis Merge and DeltaWalker, it goes beyond (pun intended) comparing simple text and also allows diffing Word and PDF contents. In its "Pro Version", it also supports merging.

Araxis Merge

One of the few diff tools that works with more than just text and image files, Araxis Merge lets you also compare office documents (like MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, or ODF). For people working on both Windows and Mac, it’s great to know that a single license is valid for both platforms.

NEW: Image Diffing in Tower! Our popular Git client Tower now supports Image Diffing for a variety of formats (including PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, TIFF, JPEG2000, and HEIC). In both the Working Copy and various History / Changeset views, you can now see the actual images – and how they were changed! Try it yourself – for free!

DeltaWalker

Just like Araxis, the DeltaWalker app also lets you compare office files. However, it goes one step further by letting you compare file archives like ZIP, JAR, and TAR files. Also, if you’re regularly performing comparisons on a folder basis, DeltaWalker shines with a great performance in this area.

Kaleidoscope

Originally developed by "Sofa", Kaleidoscope was later acquired by "BlackPixel" – who did a great job in making it one of the best diff & merge tools for the Mac. Its beautiful user interface and great image diffing capabilities are what set it apart.

Free Alternatives

In case you’re looking for a free alternative to the standard FileMerge app, you should also have a look at P4Merge and DiffMerge .
Both can’t compare in terms of features and user interface with their commercial competitors – but make for a valid alternative on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Integrations

Another aspect to watch out for is integrations: before choosing your favorite tool, you should make sure that it plays nicely with the rest of your tool chain. I can already confirm that all of the mentioned tools work seamlessly at least with Tower , our own Git client.

If you don’t need the power of a dedicated Diff tool application, the integrated diff views in Tower might be absolutely sufficient for you:

In case you don’t know Tower: it’s the Git desktop client for Mac and Windows that helps thousands of developers and designers to easily & productively work with the Git version control system. Try it 30 days for free!

Conclusion

Diff & merge apps are amongst the most underestimated tools. But a good one can be really helpful in a lot of situations. Try one of the above and see for yourself!

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Ask Different

What’s a good Mac equivalent of WinMerge? [closed]

Ask Question


up vote
76
down vote

favorite

15

WinMerge is an excellent and very powerful file merging tool, but as the name would imply, it’s Windows only. What’s a good equivalent on the Mac?

software-recommendation merge

share | improve this question

edited Aug 1 ’11 at 15:48

hairboat

1,434134367

asked Nov 2 ’10 at 23:57

Warren Pena

1,80531522

closed as off-topic by bmike Jul 8 ’15 at 14:21

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Basic Customer Support or questions asking to recommend or find off-site resources (Mac/book/software/tutorial) are off-topic for Ask Different as they tend to attract opinionated answers and spam. Instead, edit to clearly describe your problem and the research done so far to solve it." – bmike

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center , please edit the question .

  • Do you want to diff/merge the contents of files or the contents of directories?
    –  HairOfTheDog
    Mar 19 ’13 at 20:55

  • Duplicate of: apple.stackexchange.com/questions/10099/…
    –  kenorb
    May 8 ’14 at 14:54

add a comment  | 

16 Answers
16

active

oldest

votes


up vote
48
down vote

You can use FileMerge, Apple’s diff solution. It’s free and it comes with every Mac OS X install.
The only downside is that you have to install the Developer Tools. You can find them on your DVD install that came when you bought your Mac (Snow Leopard or earlier). You can also get the developer tools from the App Store if your version of the OS supports that.

Then, you can find it at /Developer/Applications/Utilities/FileMerge.app

share | improve this answer

edited Sep 29 ’11 at 10:10

Daniel

26.5k24126173

answered Nov 2 ’10 at 23:58
user588

  • You need to have the Developer tools to have that, so if you don’t have them (and don’t want to have them), try DiffMerge as suggested in the other answer.
    –  Martin Marconcini
    Nov 3 ’10 at 4:33

  • 5

    After using FileMerge and DiffMerge, i found FileMerge a better tool, especially for folder comparisons. But both are no way close to WinMerge.
    –  Murukesh
    Jul 3 ’12 at 7:06

  • 4

    On my setup, it was located at /Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Applications/FileMerge.app
    –  Benoit Duffez
    Sep 4 ’12 at 17:43

  • 2

    Agreed. FileMerge is nothing close to WinMerge.
    –  Jonny
    Apr 30 ’13 at 1:15

  • 1

    @bobobobo FileMerge is excellent; I don’t know why you’re calling it poor. I’ve never found a diff tool that I like nearly as much (and DiffMerge is so ugly I wanted to claw my eyes out when I tried it). The only time I’ve seen behavior such as you’re talking about is when it’s dealing with newline incompatibilities.
    –  Marnen Laibow-Koser
    Mar 24 ’14 at 0:11

 | 
show 4 more comments


up vote
21
down vote

Here are which I’ve found:

  • FileMerge (opendiff)

    It’s bundled with Xcode with Command Line Tools installed

  • DiffMerge

  • Pretty Diff

    Open sourced beautifier and language aware code comparison tool for many languages.

  • Meld

    Can be installed using Homebrew via command: brew install meld

  • TkDiff

    Can be installed using Homebrew via command: brew install tkdiff

  • TextWrangler

  • VisualDiffer

    Available at App Store

  • Kaleidoscope

    Commercial with free trial.

  • Araxis Merge

    Commercial with free trial.

  • KDiff3

    No longer in Homebrew, it has not been developed/updated since 2014.

See also: What file comparison tool can I use under OS X?
and Comparison of file comparison tools at Wikipedia
for the full list.

Related:

  • Portable, free, cross-platform, GUI-based prose-friendly plain-text diff and merge tool?
share | improve this answer

edited Nov 30 at 14:23

answered May 8 ’14 at 14:10

kenorb

6,55064395

  • 1

    I would upvote this one a few times if I could. Never knew that TextWrangler could compare files.
    –  LarsH
    Sep 11 ’14 at 22:48

  • opendiff gives me the following error: xcode-select: error: tool ‘opendiff’ requires Xcode, but active developer directory ‘/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools’ is a command line tools instance
    –  Pieter
    Nov 29 ’15 at 15:35

  • @Pieter So you’ve to install XCode then as per error. Check this or Google the issue.
    –  kenorb
    Nov 29 ’15 at 18:32


  • I was under the impression that I only needed the Xcode Command Line Tools , but okay.
    –  Pieter
    Nov 30 ’15 at 19:08


  • 1

    kdiff3 is no longer in brew, probably because it has not been developed/updated since 2014.
    –  wisbucky
    Feb 27 at 23:36

 | 
show 2 more comments


up vote
13
down vote

Agree with the recommendation for FileMerge.app. You also have the free, cross-platform DiffMerge program, but I like FileMerge better.

share | improve this answer

edited Nov 3 ’10 at 9:40

Loïc Wolff

13.3k43962

answered Nov 3 ’10 at 0:36

Michael H.

760614

  • DiffMerge is not as good as Windiff. It compares only files. You cannot just copy,paste and compare contents.
    –  Kannan Ramamoorthy
    Aug 17 ’17 at 6:39

  • DiffMerge is no longer developed/updated since 2013.
    –  wisbucky
    Feb 27 at 23:32

add a comment  | 


up vote
10
down vote

Stumbled upon this thread today and thought I’d contribute this new cross-platform OSS diff tool that supports file and directory comparision. It is a good alternative to WinMerge for Mac.
http://meldmerge.org/

Meld is a visual diff and merge tool targeted at developers. Meld helps you compare files, directories, and version controlled projects. It provides two- and three-way comparison of both files and directories, and has support for many popular version control systems.

Meld helps you review code changes and understand patches. It might even help you to figure out what is going on in that merge you keep avoiding.

share | improve this answer

edited May 3 ’12 at 3:08

answered May 2 ’12 at 15:50

Mark Nadig

21125

  • Thanks for posting an answer, digger69! Can you please add a little more information about Meld? How does it solve the OP’s question? Thank you!
    –  daviesgeek
    May 2 ’12 at 20:42

  • I can’t get it to run, and it needs pygtk and uses uncommon xz compression format.
    –  lulalala
    Jul 11 ’12 at 7:28

  • 1

    You can install it with HomeBrew ( github.com/mxcl/homebrew ) brew install meld
    –  sventechie
    Apr 19 ’13 at 22:25


  • FileMerge is far more capable and visually attractive than Meld (which has, for example, no good diff3 view). There is no reason at all to use Meld on Mac OS.
    –  Marnen Laibow-Koser
    Mar 23 ’14 at 23:56

  • 2

    The way to install meld currently (as of 2017) is: brew tap caskroom/cask; brew cask install meld. It is now bundled as an OSX application and does not require any additional packages.
    –  wisbucky
    Feb 27 at 23:38

 | 
show 3 more comments


up vote
8
down vote

A modern, powerful, but paid (currently Mar-2013 $69.99) file merging application for OS X is Kaleidoscope . It handles folders, files, and even images. Ad copy from the page:

Compare text in Blocks, Fluid and Unified layouts in both Two-Way and Three-Way modes. Quickly navigate and search through the most readable diff you’ve ever seen.

share | improve this answer

answered Mar 19 ’13 at 23:40

ghoppe

7,1161822

  • 1

    Not that great, not for the price, which is now about $100 CAD. It is missing a number of features and it can often hang totally on big files. To the point where I (once )had to power off the machine via the power switch because I couldn’t bring up the Force Quit dialog. That same file, run through GNU diff? Less than 3 seconds to return results. When it works, it works well, but it doesn’t always. Also, it is really quite naive at recognizing blocks of moved text.
    –  JL Peyret
    Jul 9 at 21:42


add a comment  | 


up vote
7
down vote

Araxis Merge (http://www.araxis.com/merge_mac/index.html) is the gold standard in this area and has a similar cost (what is the weight of bits?). There are Windows and Mac versions, and it is truly excellent if you find yourself spending a lot of time doing multiway diffs and merges (more common in these days of distributed version control systems).

The pricing starts (as of Sept 2011) at $129.

share | improve this answer

answered Sep 28 ’11 at 22:56

Art Taylor

589412

  • Why pay so much when excellent free tools exist?
    –  Marnen Laibow-Koser
    Mar 24 ’14 at 0:13

  • 1

    To keep the response up to date, I’ll start with the link: araxis.com/merge/index.en but basically, you can compare more than just 2-way text files.
    –  Art Taylor
    Mar 24 ’14 at 6:16


  • 1

    FileMerge does excellent 3-way diffs. P4Merge does comparisons on some binary files (not a feature I need much, though). Both are free.
    –  Marnen Laibow-Koser
    Mar 25 ’14 at 17:16

add a comment  | 


up vote
2
down vote

Maybe you will find the app SourceTree interesting: http://www.sourcetreeapp.com/ SourceTree is a free Mac client for Git and Mercurial version control systems. Therefor it isn’t a general purpose diff or merge tool but it is worth mentioning it.

share | improve this answer

edited Nov 12 ’12 at 7:53

answered Sep 29 ’11 at 11:08

Kai K.

13118

  • "SourceTree is a free Mac client for Git and Mercurial version control systems". Sounds nice, but does it include a diff/merge for any file?
    –  parsley72
    Nov 12 ’12 at 0:19

  • It does include a diff/merge tool.
    –  sventechie
    Apr 19 ’13 at 22:26

add a comment  | 


up vote
2
down vote

Beyond Compare is now in beta for the Mac. It’s the best diff/merge program I’ve used on Windows and is definitely worth checking out.

http://www.scootersoftware.com/support.php?zz=kb_mac

share | improve this answer

answered May 27 ’14 at 5:02

Gary Makin

1213

add a comment  | 


up vote
2
down vote

Perforce, a source control application, has a free * diff and merge tool that is cross platform and works fine on my mac. It’s called P4Merge.

http://www.perforce.com/product/components/perforce-visual-merge-and-diff-tools

It presents file-diffs very nicely and handles three-way merges like a champ. As a long-time WinMerge user I was very happy with it. Its use of little gem-like icons in a 3-way merge takes some getting used to. One icon is for my change, one for their’s, and one for the common ancestor. Once you get that straight it was very helpful.

* it was free, but may now be subject to Perforce’s licensing. Perforce in-general is restricted to a certain number of users and/or files unless you buy it. However, these restrictions only make sense when using their server-side software. These client-only tools can’t really be licensed like that. I’ll update if I ever hear back from the company on this matter.

share | improve this answer

answered Jun 26 ’14 at 12:46

Aardvark

1213

add a comment  | 


up vote
2
down vote

There’s an application called SemanticMerge for Mac .

SemanticMerge, as the name says :-), is a tool able to merge based on code structure instead of blocks of text. It basically means it parses the code first and then merges based on methods, classes and so on, so it is quite refactor friendly since it can match methods/functions even when they’ve been moved to different locations within the file.

At the time of writing this, Semantic supports .NET, C, Java, C++ and JavaScript.

share | improve this answer

edited Aug 29 at 8:50

Nimesh Neema

13.9k43771

answered Feb 25 ’14 at 7:34

Pablo Santos

211

  • Sounds great but link is dead
    –  Vladimir
    Apr 1 ’16 at 5:26

add a comment  | 


up vote
1
down vote

I am a Mac user attached to elegance and esthetics as a significant factor in productivity for cognitive reasons. A fully native and elegant Human Interface is for me of paramount importance.

I tried many contenders (Araxis, P4Merge and many others). I purchased several. I loved Changes for a long while. Now my favorite is Kaleidoscope. It provides 3-way merge, it can compare images in a smart way, it has a slick and elegant interface.

When an application claims to be cross-platform, that rings an alarm bell. More often than not, it means an ugly, non-native interface. Having to cringe when working is not my idea of having fun at work.

share | improve this answer

answered Aug 28 ’13 at 14:06

Jean-Denis Muys

1518

  • "Cross-platform" doesn’t necessarily mean an ugly non-native interface. There are enough widget libraries out there that look sensible on multiple OSes that it’s pretty easy for developers to make nice-looking cross-platform applications. Frankly, I prefer cross-platform applications (other things being equal) because I don’t want to lock myself into one OS.
    –  Marnen Laibow-Koser
    Mar 24 ’14 at 0:03

  • You don’t disagree. I wrote "More often than not". It is my experience that cross-platform apps "more often than not" fail to feel native. "look sensible" is easy, but far from enough. I prefer native apps, despite the risk of lock in, because frankly, I don’t want to spend many hours cringing every step of the way because of the uncanny valley an app has dug itself in, by trying, but mostly failing, to feel native while staying cross platform. An example of such an (otherwise excellent) application is YNAB.
    –  Jean-Denis Muys
    Mar 30 ’14 at 12:27

  • Then yes, I do disagree. Some cross-platform apps do fail to look native, but more often than not, I believe they do look native. Because the good ones look native, you don’t notice them, so only the bad ones come to your notice.
    –  Marnen Laibow-Koser
    Apr 1 ’14 at 16:40

  • I suppose I haven’t come across the same cross-platform applications as you have. I gave you an example. What would be a good example of a really native cross-platform application? Transmission perhaps, which I agree does really feels fully native. Back to the topic at hand. I know of no cross-platform compare/diff app that feels really native on the Mac.
    –  Jean-Denis Muys
    Apr 3 ’14 at 8:41


  • Chrome and Firefox (and other XUL apps like Zotero and KomodoEdit) are great examples of cross-platform applications that truly feel Mac-like. Frescobaldi is surprisingly good in this respect as well, particularly considering that it’s a Python application (I guess it uses a widget library that has a good Mac skin). SublimeText is another example; it doesn’t exactly have a "standard" Mac-style interface, but it certainly feels native.
    –  Marnen Laibow-Koser
    Apr 3 ’14 at 16:50


add a comment  | 


up vote
1
down vote

Meld is a good option..

steps to install meld on Mac :

  1. Install MacPorts:

    Installation information can be found in : MacPort installation
    Before installing MacPort, you have to install Xcode and the Xcode Command Line Tools if your computer doesn’t have them.

  2. Open your terminal and execute following commands

    i) Installing rarian :
    “sudo port install rarian”

    II) Installing meld :
    “sued port install meld”

  3. Configure the dbus service to start at boot

    I) sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemons/org.freedesktop.dbus-system.plist

    II) launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchAgents/org.freedesktop.dbus-session.plistdf

  4. Add LC_ALL variable to the .bash_profile file at your /home directory
    export LC_ALL=en_US

  5. Type meld command in the terminal and the application will be launched for you.

getting-meld-work-on-mac-os-x

share | improve this answer

edited Nov 21 ’14 at 3:36

answered Nov 20 ’14 at 8:46

Saneth Dharmakeerthi

112

  • Could you explain how it’s installed rather than just posting a link?
    –  Jash Jacob
    Nov 20 ’14 at 10:02

  • These instructions are now obsolete. All you have to do now is: brew tap caskroom/cask; brew cask install meld
    –  wisbucky
    Feb 27 at 23:42


add a comment  | 


up vote
1
down vote

I use VisualDiffer .

It’s not as good as WinMerge, but pretty close and very cheap (only $34.99 at the moment!). It is promising.

Here’s a screenshot.

VisualDiffer screenshot

share | improve this answer

edited Mar 18 ’15 at 2:26

answered Apr 30 ’13 at 1:53

Jonny

66741428

  • Still using this on a daily basis 2 years later. I recommend.
    –  Jonny
    Mar 18 ’15 at 2:25

add a comment  | 


up vote
0
down vote

Changes – http://connectedflow.com/changes/

share | improve this answer

answered Apr 26 ’12 at 20:24

Jordan Lev

21

We’re looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don’t just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don’t include explanations may be removed.

  • Welcome to Ask Different, Jordan! Thanks for posting an answer! Can you please add more information about Changes? How does it answer the OP’s question? Answers need to be more than links and need to answer the OP’s question specifically.
    –  daviesgeek
    Apr 27 ’12 at 18:32

add a comment  | 


up vote
0
down vote

My favorite free solution for merging the contents of files is KDiff3 . KDiff3 can do two-way and three-way merges, has a decent GUI and has some pretty powerful features to assist with the merge.

My favorite non-free, but inexpensive ($30-ish) solution for merging the contents of files is Beyond Compare 3 . Yes, Beyond Compare 3 is only available as a native Windows or Linux app, but I run it in WiNE via the easy to use Wineskin Winery app.

When it comes to merging the content of directories both KDiff3 and Beyond Compare 3 can do it, but IMO KDiff3 is not very usable in this regard. Fortunately Beyond Compare 3 excels at directory merges, even on OS X.

share | improve this answer

answered Mar 19 ’13 at 21:05

HairOfTheDog

1,017810

add a comment  | 


up vote
0
down vote

Seems like there were plans to make WinMerge 3 available for Mac too:

  • http://forums.winmerge.org/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=231
  • https://bitbucket.org/grimmdp/winmerge/issue/4/mac-os-x-use-winmerge-in-menu

I haven’t made my choice for Mac. But on Windows I use WinMerge, on Linux Meld (which is also available for Mac), currently using twdiff , I already tried FileMerge.app, and going to try DiffMerge .

A note about Meld:

Meld does work on OS X and Windows, but there are no all-in-one packages for those systems available at the moment. On OS X, Meld is available from MacPorts or Fink.

share | improve this answer

edited May 17 ’13 at 5:32

answered Mar 19 ’13 at 20:21

user454322

143116

  • 1

    No updates in repository since 2011. WinMerge 3 is dead? bitbucket.org/grimmdp/winmerge
    –  Jonny
    Apr 30 ’13 at 1:20


  • Meld is bundled for OSX now. brew tap caskroom/cask; brew cask install meld
    –  wisbucky
    Feb 27 at 23:43

add a comment  | 

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