On a pretty regular basis I’ve found myself comparing two text files, and WinMerge is typically the Windows application I use for the job. It’s free, fast, and does a pretty good job of pulling out the differences between two text files. The problem is that, well, it’s yet another application you must have installed on your computer.
On Download Squad I saw a pretty cool website called Quick Diff that lets you perform comparisons of two blocks of text right from your web browser. I’ve used it a few times since I first found out about it, and while it’s not as robust as WinMerge I’d say it does a decent job for those quick comparisons you want to perform. Here’s an example of what the output looks like:
Then I started wondering what other kind of online text comparison tools were out there. Maybe there’s a better one I’m missing out on? I searched a bit, and that’s when I came across Text_Diff. The results of the same body of text were much more along the lines of what I was expecting:
The main difference between the two services is that Text_Diff actually recognized when just portions of words had changed rather than thinking that the entire word had changed. Another thing that can be both a positive and negative is that the result is provided to you as an HTML file that has to be saved to your computer in order to view the results. That kinda sucks because it’s an extra step you have to take, but at the same time it can be useful if you needed to send the results to someone. There is also a “text” output mode that you can select which doesn’t require you to download the results, but that doesn’t do all of the pretty highlighting.
Still not happy with either of these tools? You can always jump over to Digital Inspiration who walks you through how to use Google Docs to compare text files online. Let us know in the comments what you use to compare two text files.