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Best Tools to Compare Files

Everyone knows how to compare two or three files, but sometimes you should choose a special application that could serve this need and is able to compare more different files featuring special functionalities. Here I will be glad to recommend to you some of the most perfect free tools to compare files that I have checked with and use them all the time.

If you are looking for the best tool to compare files, there are a lot to choose from. You may wonder which is the best way to compare files. Well, the answer is to look at your own needs and usage patterns and then try them out. You will find different tools that fit different needs.

File comparison free tool, or the Best Tools to Compare Files. File Compare Freeware is widely used by people all over the world. The main function of these programs is to compare hard drives, directories, files and folders; some of them can compare text files in two different languages and position documents with different words on a similar topic.”

If you are looking for a good file comparison tool to compare files and folders on the same computer or in different computers, then you have come to the right place. Here we’ll introduce the best tools that you can use to compare files quickly and easily.

Why Should You Compare Text?

When you’re working on your device every day, the files and documents pile up. The more they increase, the more the junk on your computer or tablet, which you need to work on.

You don’t want to miss any changes someone else makes or keep piling on the duplicate files – which is why you need to keep comparing the text on those files or documents regularly.

When you compare documents or text manually, it can be tedious – or downright impossible to do. You’re likely to miss out on some details so you may need to double-check if any changes have been made – even by hackers.

AptDiff

Aptdiff File Compare

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.

Price: free

DiffMerge

Diffmerge

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.

Price: free

Diffuse

Diffuse File Compare

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.

Price: free

ExamDiff

Examdiff File Compare

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.

Price: free

KDiff3

Kdiff3

Kdiff3 allows you to upload up to 3 files to compare at a time. It shows up a prompt where you need to load the files you want to compare. You can view the files next to each other on the interface later. All you need to do is to scroll through to view all of them at once.

The program compares or merges two or three text input files or directories, and also displays the results line by line and by each character (!). Moreover, it offers an automatic merge-option and an inbuilt editor for easy solving of merge-conflicts.

Furthermore, it provides support for Unicode, UTF-8, and other codecs, and also KIO on KDE that lets you access ftp, sftp, fish, smb, and more.

Among its other major features are, printing of differences, alignment of lines manually, and merging of version control history automatically. The best thing is, it comes with a responsive graphical user interface.

Price: free

Workshare Compare

Workshare Compare

If you are looking for a bit advanced tool that’s fit for business, Workshare Compare is perfect. It allows you to compare word documents and even PDFs (text-based). It can run on browsers, mobile phones, PCs, or can also be embedded in other document creation, sharing and management platforms.

The program makes sure that it completes the process fast and accurate while ensuring that no little change is missed. Despite the length or complexity of the content, you can toggle through easily between separate changes. You can also focus on the modifications grouped in categories.

It allows you to perform a comparison from Outlook, and also review Word, PDF, Excel and PowerPoint files. What’s more? It also provides you the option to compare snippets of text or code, or you can compare two images or tables, or for that matter, any content. Ability to access documents while on the move is one of its other great features.

Price: free trial available; pro version starts from $15

WinMerge

Winmerge File Compare

Winmerge is a free and open source file comparison tool designed for Windows. It helps you compare both files and folders, that generate differences in a visual text format which is easy to manage and understand. It’s extremely handy in identifying the changes that took place between different project versions, and accordingly blending the changes between different versions.

This program can also be used as an external comparison or merging tool, or also as a standalone application. It comes with a tabbed interface, supports Unicode, and handles Windows, Unix and Mac text file formats. Folder compare, image compare, version control, or shell integration, are some of its other major features.

Price: free

Beyond Compare Version 3

Beyond Compare lets you easily compare files and folders, including text files (with syntax highlighting for HTML), Word Docs, and PDF files, among others. Available for Windows and Linux for $30 (standard edition) to $50 (pro edition).

beyond compare document comparison

Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope lets you compare text documents (including source code) and images. It has built-in integration with other programs, and can read .psd, .txt, .png, .jpg, and .html files. Available for Mac OS X for €29.

File Comparison with Kaleidoscope

Meld

Meld is a free text comparison and merging tool that lets you compare text in your documents, including in-place edits. You can also compare folders with Meld.

The simple, cross-platform comparison and merge tool has an intuitive user interface and packs its functions neatly into an easy-to-navigate and handy menu.

You get many customizable settings to make your text comparison easy and quick, plus options to select a comparison module.

The tool displays the comparisons side-by-side, along with differences between the text highlighted so you can easily see any individual changes.

On either panel, there are vertical bars with colored blocks and an overview of all the changes like any insertions, deletions, changes, or conflicts. You can select the arrows in different segments to copy or merge text blocks or files with other text or files.

The software’s features include three-way text comparison with real-time changes regardless of the amount of information. Plus, it integrates with Git, SVN, Mercurial, and Bazaar among other source control systems for version control.

The native version filter helps you compare changes to the repository or local text file, and the text editor supports whitespace, line numbers, text wrapping, and syntax highlighting for a user-friendly experience.

With the text filters, you can use regular expressions or ignore text that matches a certain pattern while creating complex filters.

 WinMerge

WinMerge is an open-source text comparison tool that’s free to use and helps you compare your text – whether they’re folders or files. The software helps you view and compare text online from its numerous versions and offers extensive features that are highly useful.

You can compare text visually and merge documents easily. The tool generates differences in a visual text format that’s easy to understand and manage.

This way, you can identify the changes that were added between two different versions and blend them together. The software can also be used as an external merging and comparison tool or a standalone app.

The tool has a tabbed interface, handles Unix, Windows, and Mac text file formats, and supports Unicode. You can compare images, folders, and use other features such as shell integration and version control.

The software offers a split interface for you to compare your text, and the comparison is displayed through conflict and similar content highlights. You can see the characters and lines in respective text portions below the interface.

You can also edit the text in real-time, and your changes will be saved later. In read-only mode, the software analyzes your text and activates Merge Mode to make both texts identical.

Criteria to look out for

Consider the next criteria when looking for your best comparing app:

  1. Efficiency like whether the app targets professionals or ordinary users and whether it’s appropriate for the format you’re using.
  2. User-friendly interface. With the best apps, you work intuitively and don’t need to do extensive research each time you use a new feature.
  3. Sophistication such as collaboration, sharing, and updates about changes. This also includes any additional features you may think about and which will simplify your life.
  4. Online version. Choose online tools so you won’t waste your time to make them compatible with your operating system.

Conclusion

If you’re working on a software project, or simply wish to keep your files organized – whether it be images, documents, audio or video – there may come a time where you need to compare your files. Sometimes, the file differences are easy to spot and thus they can be compared manually. However, there is no way to compare non-identical documents automatically without an additional tool. One of the most common things to do when working on a project is comparing files. When trying to choose between two versions, or just making sure every character matches with what you’ve written later in the project, it’s important to know how can you tell if two files are exactly the same or not. You should always use the best tools for file comparison, because it helps you to stay on track and error-free.

File comparison tools have been around the block a few times, so to speak. They are used mostly for checking if files contain the same content and sometimes also for spotting file changes between two revisions of code or text files. A file comparison tool is similar to a word processor spelling and grammar checker – it highlights differences in words, style and formatting between two documents.

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