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I’m a huge fan of the free WinMerge app because it’s a fast way to compare two text files (or folders) and find the differences between them. There are also online options such as Quick Diff if you don’t want to use a dedicated app, but I recently stumbled upon an alternative to WinMerge that is a bit lighter.

DiffMerge is a bit unique because it can actually compare three files at a single time, but I’m guessing there are rare cases where you need to compare that many files at once. I also find it to be cool since it is cross-platform so that you get the same interface across Windows, Mac, and Linux machines. Here are some of the features highlighted by the developer:

  • Diff – Graphically shows the changes between two files. Includes intra-line highlighting and full support for editing.
  • Merge – Graphically shows the changes between 3 files. Allows automatic merging (when safe to do so) and full control over editing the resulting file.
  • Folder Diff – Performs a side-by-side comparison of 2 folders, showing which files are only present in one file or the other, as well as file pairs which are identical or different.
  • Windows Explorer Integration – Right-click on any two files in Windows Explorer to diff them immediately.
  • Configurable – Rulesets and options provide for customized appearance and behavior.
  • International – Compatible with 42 different character encodings.
  • Cross-platform – Identical feature set on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.

Not bad, and it’s free. If you do decide to give this a shot I recommend browsing through the settings because there are quite a few things you can customize including the color schemes that are used for highlighting differences.

DiffMerge Homepage (Windows, Mac, and Linux; Freeware)