winmerge folder comparison.png

One Windows app that I use almost everyday is WinMerge. It’s become extremely popular as a free way to compare two text files to see what differences there are between them. Having WinMerge at your side is a no-brainer when you’re working in an environment where multiple people have access to files, and you’re not able to track every little change with a source control solution like SVN.

A feature that I’ve found many WinMerge users don’t know about is the ability to compare the files of two directories. All you have to do is go to File -> Open in WinMerge, and point it to the two folders that you want to compare (as seen in the screenshot above). You can even do some advanced filtering so that the results only include certain file extensions or names, and you can optionally have it look through subfolders.

After you’ve gotten past that screen you’ll be presented with a list of files found in both folders, and if you look at the Comparison result column you can see which files are different. I recommend clicking on that column header so that the results that are different will stand out a bit more:

winmerge folder list.png

Hopefully this little tip will make WinMerge much more valuable to you.

WinMerge Homepage (Windows only; Freeware)