Comparison of file comparison tools

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Contents

General

Basic general information about file comparison software.

Name Creator Software license Cost First public release date Latest stable version Windows Macintosh Linux Other platforms
Altova DiffDog Altova Proprietary USD 129 pro, 189 ent (single license), with a free 30 day trial version available v2010 Yes (Win 2000, XP, 2003 Server, Vista) No No
Aqua Data Studio AquaFold Proprietary USD 399 (single license), with a free 14 day trial version available 2002 v8.0.4 Yes Yes Yes Anything with Java
Araxis Merge Araxis Ltd Proprietary USD 129 (std) - 269 (pro) 1993 2009.3713 (May 18, 2009) Yes Yes No
Beyond Compare Scooter Software Proprietary USD 30 (std), 50 (pro) 1996 3.1.10 (February 3, 2010) Yes (Win95 and up) No Yes (only 32-bit version available)
Columbo, (for tabular files) NobHill Software Proprietary USD 49.95,with a free 30 day trial version available 2009 0.0.0.6(August, 2009) Yes (Win95 and up) No No
Compare It! Grig Software Proprietary USD 29 1998 4.1 (Mar 5, 2009) Yes No No
csvdiff Roland Schmitz GPL - 2006 1.7 (February 11, 2009) Yes Yes Yes Anything with Perl
DeltaWalker Deltopia Inc Proprietary USD 40 (std), 76 (pro) 2007 2009 (1.8.6 Jan 29, 2009) Yes Yes Yes
diff, diff3 AT&T BSD 3-clause, BSD 4-clause, GPL, Proprietary - 1974 Yes Yes (Mac OS X) Yes
Diff Commander Nikeware Proprietary USD 29 2005 2.0 (Feb 26, 2007) Yes No No
DiffDaff cyberpromote Freeware - 1.0.0 (Jun 6, 2006) Yes No No
DiffMerge SourceGear Proprietary Free 2003 3.2.0 (May 29, 2008) Yes Yes Yes
Diffuse Derrick Moser GPL - 2006 0.4.1 (Oct 12, 2009) Yes Yes (Source) Yes Anything with PyGTK
Eclipse Compare Eclipse EPL - Yes Yes (Mac OS X) Yes Anything with Java
ECMerge Ellié Computing Proprietary from USD 30 (std) / USD 50 (pro) / floating licence 2005 2.2 (Jan 28, 2010) Yes (Win98 and up) Yes (Mac OS X) Yes Sun Solaris
Ediff Michael Kifer GPL - Yes Yes (Mac OS X) Yes Anything with Emacs
ExamDiff Pro PrestoSoft Proprietary USD 35, with a free version available (ExamDiff) 1998 4.5.2.2 (July 1, 2009) Yes (Win98 and up) No No
fc Microsoft Proprietary Part of OS Yes (DOS) No No
FileMerge AppleComputer, Inc. Proprietary Free (part of Apple Developer Tools) 2.2.1 (2005) No Yes (Mac OS X) No
Guiffy SureMerge Guiffy Software Proprietary USD 59 2000 9.0 (July 29, 2009) Yes Yes Yes Anything with Java
IntelliJ IDEA Compare JetBrains Proprietary Part of application 6.0.5 (2007) Yes Yes Yes
jEdit JDiff plugin Various GPL Free 1998 1.9.0 Yes Yes Yes Anything with Java
KDiff3 Joachim Eibl GPL - 2002 0.9.95 (2009-03-03) Yes Yes (Mac OS X) Yes
Kompare Otto Bruggeman GPL - 3.5.0 (Nov 29, 2005) Yes (Cygwin) Yes (Mac OS X) Yes
Lazarus Diff Lazarus GPL - 2000 2009 Yes Yes Yes FreeBSD
LizardTF Ian Cornwell GPL Free - part of LizardTF 0.1.3 (Jan 10, 2008) Yes (Inc. 64bit) No No
MD5 File Comparison Tool Derek Trauger BSD 4-clause (equivalent) - 2009 1.0.0 Yes No No
Meld Stephen Kennedy GPL - 1.3 (Apr 18, 2009) No Yes (Mac OS X) Yes
Perforce P4Merge Perforce Free for personal use Free for personal use 2008.1 (Aug 27, 2008) Yes Yes Yes Sun Solaris
Semantic Designs SmartDifferencer SmartDifferencer Proprietary Varies per language 2009 1.x 2009 Yes No No
SmartSynchronize SyntEvo Proprietary USD 52 2.5.1 (Mar 11, 2007) Yes Yes Yes Anything with Java
Softinterface Diff Doc Softinterface Proprietary USD 199 (single license), with a free 30 day Doc' trial version available 2002 2007.3225 (Jun 06, 2007) Yes (Windows 98-Vista and up) No No
SwiftCompare lite Oorja Software Proprietary Freeware 1.3 (Sep 21, 2009) Yes (Win98 and up) No No
SwiftCompare Oorja Software Proprietary USD 27 1.3 (Jan 19, 2007) Yes (Win98 and up) No No
SyncEXPnet SyncEXP.net Proprietary USD 49 2002 3.7 (Feb 26, 2008) Yes No No
Tkdiff [5] GPL - 4.1.3 (Feb 20, 2006) Yes (Tcl) Yes (Tcl) Yes (Tcl) Anything with Tcl
TortoiseMerge [6] GPL Part of TortoiseSVN 1.4.8 (February 16, 2008) Yes (Win2k and up) No No
Total Commander Compare Christian Ghisler Proprietary Part of application 7.01 (Jun 21, 2007) Yes No No
UltraCompare IDM Computer Solutions Proprietary USD 29.95 5.0 (May 18, 2007) Yes No No
vimdiff Bram Moolenaar et al. GPL-compatible - 2001 7.0 (May 7, 2006) Yes Yes Yes Anything with vim
Visual Comparer Nikeware Proprietary USD 29 1.60 (Feb 26, 2007) Yes No No
WinDiff Microsoft Proprietary (with source code) Part of Platform SDK Yes No No
WinMerge Dean Grimm GPL - 1998 2.12.0 (March 5, 2009) Yes (Win95 and up) No No
xxdiff Martin Blais GPL - 2000 3.2 (Jun 30, 2006) Yes (ver. 2.9) Yes (source) Yes (source)
zsCompare Zizasoft Proprietary USD 35 (lite) USD 99.95 (std) USD 199.95 (pro) 2004 3.03 (July 6, 2006) Yes Yes Yes Anything with Java
Name Creator Software license Cost First public release date Latest stable version Windows Macintosh Linux Other platforms

Compare Features

Name Show in-line changes Directory comparison Binary comparison Moved lines 3-way comparison Merge
Altova DiffDog Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Aqua Data Studio Yes Yes
Araxis Merge Yes Yes Yes Yes (Professional Edition only) Yes
Beyond Compare Yes Yes Yes No Yes (Professional Edition only) Yes (Pro only)
Compare It! Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
csvdiff No No No
DeltaWalker Yes Yes Yes Yes (Oro only) Yes
diff No Yes No No No No
diff3 No No Yes (non-optional)
Diff Commander
DiffDaff No Yes No No
DiffMerge Yes Yes Yes Yes
Diffuse Yes No Yes (n-way comparison) Yes
Eclipse Compare Yes Yes Yes
ECMerge Yes Yes Yes (optional, and ancestor can be hidden) Yes
Ediff Yes Yes Yes
ExamDiff Pro Yes Yes Yes No Yes
fc No No Yes No No
FileMerge Yes (alternate color within line diff) Yes Yes Yes (optional ancestor) Yes
Guiffy SureMerge Yes Yes
IntelliJ IDEA Compare Yes Yes
jEdit JDiff plugin No Yes
KDiff3 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Kompare Yes No No
Lazarus Diff
LizardTF Yes v.stamps Yes Yes
Meld Yes Yes No Yes (optional) Yes
Perforce P4Merge Yes No No Yes Yes
Semantic Designs SmartDifferencer Yes {Source language constructs: move, insert, delete, rename} No No Yes No No
SmartSynchronize Yes Yes Yes
Softinterface Diff Doc Yes No No
SwiftCompare lite Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
SwiftCompare Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Tkdiff No No No No No No
TortoiseMerge No Yes Yes
Total Commander Compare Yes Yes Yes No Yes
UltraCompare Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
vimdiff Yes Yes (via DirDiff plugin) Yes
Visual Comparer
WinDiff Yes Yes No No No
WinMerge Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
xxdiff Yes Yes No No Yes Yes
zsCompare Yes No Yes
Name Show in-line changes Directory comparison Binary comparison Moved lines 3-way comparison Merge

API / Editor Features

Name GUI CLI Scripting Horizontal / Vertical Syntax Highlighting Reports
Altova DiffDog Yes Yes both Yes XML, UNIX Diff
Aqua Data Studio Yes No HTML
Araxis Merge Yes Yes Yes both since Araxis Merge 2007 XML, HTML, Slideshow, diff
Beyond Compare Yes Yes Yes optional Yes XML, HTML, CSV
Compare It! Yes Yes No both Yes HTML, Text, diff
csvdiff No Yes No Yes
DeltaWalker Yes Yes both No HTML, XML
diff No Yes horizontal
diff3 No Yes horizontal
Diff Commander
DiffDaff Yes No optional
DiffMerge Yes No vertical No Yes
Diffuse Yes Yes vertical Yes
Eclipse Compare Yes vertical Yes
ECMerge Yes Yes ECMAScript optional Yes XML, HTML, CSV, Text, Diff
Ediff Yes No both Yes
ExamDiff Pro Yes Yes optional Yes UNIX, HTML, Diff
fc No Yes horizontal
FileMerge Yes Yes vertical Yes No
Guiffy SureMerge Yes Yes both Yes HTML
IntelliJ IDEA Compare Yes vertical Yes
jEdit JDiff plugin Yes both Yes
KDiff3 Yes Yes both
Kompare Yes vertical No
Lazarus Diff Yes Yes
LizardTF Yes No both
Meld Yes Yes vertical Yes No
Perforce P4Merge Yes Yes vertical No No
Semantic Designs SmartDifferencer No Yes No Generalized Diff
SmartSynchronize Yes Yes vertical
Softinterface Diff Doc Yes Yes both Yes .doc, HTML, CSV
SwiftCompare lite Yes No No vertical Yes Yes
SwiftCompare Yes No No vertical Yes Yes
Tkdiff Yes
TortoiseMerge Yes Yes No No
Total Commander Compare Yes optional
UltraCompare Yes Yes No Yes No Unix diff
vimdiff Yes Yes vim script both Yes No
Visual Comparer
WinDiff Yes Yes horizontal No
WinMerge Yes Yes vertical Yes CSV, Tab-delimited, HTML, XML
xxdiff Yes Yes optional
zsCompare Yes Yes horizontal
Name GUI CLI Scripting Horizontal / Vertical Syntax Highlighting Reports

Other features

Some other features which did not fit in previous table

Name ZIP support FTP support Version Control browsing Patch creation Patch application Patch preview Unicode support XML-aware
Altova DiffDog Yes Yes CVS Yes Yes Yes
Araxis Merge No Yes Perforce[1], Subversion[2], Visual SourceSafe[3], AllChange[4] UNIX diff Yes[5] Partial[6]
Beyond Compare Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compare It!
csvdiff No No No
DeltaWalker Yes Yes Yes Yes
diff No No No Yes No No No No
diff3 No No No
Diff Commander
DiffDaff No No
DiffMerge No No No Partial[clarification needed]
Diffuse Yes
ECMerge Yes Yes CVS (1.11-, 1.12+), evolution, Perforce, Subversion, Visual SourceSafe, Mercurial Yes Yes Yes UTF8, UTF16 LE/BE, UTF32 LE/BE can reformat XML for easier handling in text diff/merge
Ediff Yes Yes
ExamDiff Pro Yes[7] Yes[8] normal diff only Yes
fc No No No
FileMerge No supported by OS No No No
Guiffy SureMerge Yes Yes Yes[9]
jEdit Yes Yes Subversion Yes Yes Yes Yes
KDiff3 Template:Optional Template:Optional Partial[10]
Kompare Yes
Lazarus Diff
LizardTF Team Foundation Server Yes
Meld CVS, subversion, mercurial, git, bzr, darcs, monotone Yes Yes
Perforce P4Merge No Yes
Semantic Designs SmartDifferencer No No No No Yes
SmartSynchronize No No No Yes
Softinterface Diff Doc
SwiftCompare No No
Tkdiff No No CVS, RCS No No No No No
TortoiseMerge No No No
Total Commander Compare Yes
UltraCompare Yes
vimdiff Yes Yes Yes Yes
Visual Comparer
WinDiff No No No No
WinMerge Yes No Mercurial[11], SubVersion[12], Visual Source Safe, Rational ClearCase[13] Yes Yes
xxdiff No No No No No No No No
zsCompare Yes No Yes
Name ZIP support FTP support Version Control browsing Patch creation Patch application Patch preview Unicode support XML-aware

Aspects

What aspects can be / are compared?

Filename casing CRC Filedate Daylight saving Character casing
Altova DiffDog Yes Yes Yes
Araxis Merge Yes Yes Yes
Beyond Compare Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Compare It!
csvdiff Yes Yes
DeltaWalker Template:Optional Yes Yes Yes
diff Yes No No No Template:Optional
diff3
Diff Commander
DiffDaff No No No No Yes
DiffMerge Template:Optional No Yes No Yes
Diffuse
Eclipse Compare
ECMerge Yes CRC32/MD5 Yes Yes Yes
Ediff
ExamDiff Pro No Yes Yes Yes Yes
fc No Template:Optional
FileMerge No No No Template:Optional
Guiffy SureMerge Template:Optional Yes Yes
IntelliJ IDEA Compare
KDiff3 Yes No Yes No Template:Optional
Kompare Yes
Lazarus Diff
LizardTF
Meld Yes No Yes No No
Perforce P4Merge Template:N/a No No No Yes
Semantic Design SmartDifferencer
SmartSynchronize
Softinterface Diff Doc
SwiftCompare lite Yes Yes Yes Yes
SwiftCompare Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tkdiff
TortoiseMerge
Total Commander Compare Template:Optional Template:Optional
UltraCompare
vimdiff No No No No Yes
Visual Comparer
WinDiff No No Template:Optional Yes Template:Optional
WinMerge No No Template:Optional Template:Optional
xxdiff Yes No No No Template:Optional
zsCompare Yes Adler32, CRC32) Yes Yes Template:Optional
Filename casing CRC Filedate Daylight saving Character casing

See also

References

  1. Araxis Merge's Perforce File System Plugin
  2. Subversion Araxis Merge's File System Plugin
  3. Araxis Merge's Visual SourceSafe File System Plugin
  4. Araxis Merge's AllChange File System Plugin
  5. exact support depends on operating system, windows or OSX
  6. Merge doesn't implement any infoset-level XML diff, but it can reformat XML (and HTML) files to make comparisons easier. This reformatting is purely visual and doesn't alter the content of the files[1].
  7. through a plug-in
  8. through a plug-in
  9. UTF8, UTF16, MBCS, SJIS, over 150 file encoding and character set formats
  10. cannot identify UTF-8 files as unicode unless they have a BOM mark in the beginning
  11. [2]
  12. [3]
  13. [4]

Software libraries

  • Perl (found on CPAN)
    • Algorithm::Diff
    • Array::Diff
    • Text::Diff
    • XML::Diff
Personal tools

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