If you’re looking for the best file comparison tools, then there is no other place to look. We review all the different specialized and unsophisticated diff programs. Our editors have developed the list by reading various online forums and social media sites for feedback from many users. We have also done some original testing of our own to come up with this complete list of best file comparison utilities available in 2018.
We all have a few files and folders that need to be compared, but we don’t always want to go find the right tools for the job. That’s why we’ve gone through all of the popular file comparison tools, and put together this list that collects the best of them all in one convenient place.
AptDiff is a freeware that’s now discontinued, but still available to download through some third-party websites. Despite being free, it’s an advanced and responsive file comparison tool for Windows. It lets you compare two files (text or binary) to check if any of them is a duplicate. It gets downloaded quickly and is pretty easy with no complications involved. From options to customize keyboard shortcuts, getting file backups, or personalizing the UI fonts and colors to supporting multiple languages, there’s a lot that it’s capable of.
Those looking for a file comparison tool would find DiffMerge much helpful due to its powerful features. The application visually compares files and even merges them on major platforms like Windows, Mac, and Linux. Moreover, it graphically represents the modifications between the two files. Also, it features options like intra-line highlighting and complete support for editing. Similarly, it also shows the modifications (merging) between three files, graphically.
It enables the files to merge automatically whenever possible, and also allows complete control on the editing of the file generated. Furthermore, it compares the two folders side-by-side, while displaying which files are only present in a single file or in the other. It also shows the file pairs that are either similar or different.
If you are looking for a simple, yet powerful graphical tool that helps to merge and comparing text files, Diffuse can be your best bet. It can easily compare random file parallelly while providing you the option to manually adjust line-matching and also the option to edit files directly.
Not just that, it can also recover amendment of files from Darcs, SVK, Monotone, Git, Mercurial, Bazaar, RCS, Subversion, and CVS libraries for comparison and merging. What’s more? Line-matching can be manually amended by the user, option for syntax highlighting, or easy navigation of keyboard are some of its other major features to look out for.
It’s an easy to use file comparison tool, that allows you to compare to documents. Examdiff is a freeware that does not need you to mention both the filenames, but just entering the directory name for one of the files for comparison should be fine. Among its significant features are auto pick feature to remember matching files, automatic detection of file changes and notifying users to repeat the file comparison, quick selection of the two files to compare, drag and drop option to add one or two files in the program window, or easy editing of both the files.
There are any more features offered by this tool which you can explore on your Windows platform.
Choosing the best file comparison software, you cannot pass by Beyond Compare – a truly one-of-a-kind comparison tool. Versatile and complex, Beyond Compare allows you to literally compare anything you want, from files of different types and sizes to folders and entire repositories like Dropbox or Amazon S3. And it works perfectly with large files.
Aside from highlighting the differences, you can also merge files, synchronize changes, and generate comparison reports for checks in this app. A 3-way merge is also possible!
- Intelligent file comparison software to compare files, folders, and drives
- Has no problem with large files
- Ability to merge and edit changes, as well as produce reports based on comparison results
- Intuitive folder sync
- Limited navigation between compared items
- Not so many formats supported
Pricing: $30 per user per month, but if you have more than 4 users, the price goes down.
Strictly speaking, Pics.io is a lot more than a mere instrument for file comparison. It’s a comprehensive app for cloud-based digital assets management (DAM). And it has all the related bells and whistles, such as collections, tagging, keywording, search, sharing, versioning, and many others.
One of the core functionalities of Pics.io is the Visual Diff tool. And it works ideally for comparing visuals: photos, all kinds of images, Sketch and other multi-page designs, PDFs, and video files. With Diff Tool, two similar visual files will be placed one over the other for better contrast, and you can move the slider sideways to compare them.
- Side by side comparison of visuals to see the subtlest changes such as brightness or saturation
- Working with any formats you need, designer files included (Adobe XD, Sketch, or AI), plus videos and PDFs
- Powerful version control in case revisions pile up over time
- Commenting to discuss file changes with colleagues
- A bit of a learning curve
Pricing: $18 per user per month, though there are also pricing plans suitable for team users.
Free and open-source, Meld is a great comparison app to see the difference between two or three files and merge them. The compare software allows you to navigate between contrasts easily. As usual, the changes get marked with a different color. Also, use the regex text feature to ignore the differences you want to leave untouched.
This file comparison software will also come in handy to compare folders. Feel free to compare two (or even three!) media libraries to see differences file by file. Alter files on the fly, and once you notice that something’s missing, don’t hesitate to open the folder directly from Meld to fix things.
- Comparing two or three files at once
- Edit or merge files right in the file comparison app
- Support for folder comparison
- Basic file management when comparing directories
- Needs download and installation
- Clunky interface, and sometimes, the app is difficult to operate as Meld is designed for tech-savvy users
- Available for Windows and Linux only
As the name suggests, Diffchecker is an online tool to check the differences between two files. It lets you compare texts, PDFs, spreadsheets, and even images. Besides its online tool, Diffchecker has desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Thanks to its clean UI and multiple views, you can view line-by-line differences between text files. For images, it has a slider to zoom in for viewing differences.
Diffchecker can compare PDFs too, as its OCR technology enables it to read scanned copies. Similarly, you can view the cell-by-cell differences when comparing two spreadsheets, either in XLS, XLSX, CSV, or other formats. Best of all, it can merge the two files together.
While the free plan will suffice for most, you can upgrade to the Pro plan to get advanced features and real-time diff reports for $8 per month. If you want to install the Diffchecker desktop app, it costs $12 per month. But the desktop version lets you compare entire folders as well.
DiffNow is an online diff finder tool for comparing different types of files. You can input text, upload various types of files, and enter URLs to compare them. Better still, you can upload complete folders as ZIP files for comparison.
The free account gives you only 20 comparisons per month. You can upgrade to a Premium account for $3 per month to get unlimited comparisons.
Copyleaks is a plagiarism detector at its core, but has a tool for comparing text as well. Using Copyleaks Text Compare, you can either paste the text, upload a file, or enter the URL.
Perhaps the best thing about this tool is that you can compare more than two files together. The supported file types are HTML, TXT, PPT, Doc, PDF, etc. It supports multiple languages and gives you a comparison report to download.
Since it’s a plagiarism detector, the Copyleaks Text Compare tool focuses on similar content rather than the differences. It shows the identical text, paraphrased content, and minor changes. Therefore, if you’re looking for a free online plagiarism detector, this can serve as one.
File and directory comparison software help you quickly identify differences between files, folders and entire drives. A great tool for everything from simple backups to large data centers, File Explorer is free for home use and available for Windows 8, Vista, XP and 7.