Utility: Comparing Differences And Merging File Content
Being presented with a number of files, each version containing similar but slightly different text, and trying to understand the difference in content between them can be made simpler with a dedicated utility, such as WinMerge.
As an example, imagine being presented with two lots text files and the dates are pretty similar but the file sizes are different – how could you know what changes are needed to be carried over from one version to another – ideally one set of text files is all that is needed – this is where WinMerge aims to help.
Currently up to version 2.12.4 WinMerge is an open source tools for comparing and merging files on Windows.
Upon launching the application you can select either files to compare, or whole folders and you can filter by file extension too.
Once a source and conflict comparison are selected you are then presented with a list of the files (in folder view) together with a comparison result which tells you if the files match, if they are different, and if they only exist in one particular folder.
Double-clicking on a file in the folder view takes you to a more detailed file comparison page.
The detail comparison page has a number of informational and editable panels.
An overview area showing where the differences occur within the files, and two panes showing the content of each file with the differences highlighted.
Some of the differences identified by different colour highlighting including unnecessary whitespace, missed whitespace, and differences in the text itself.
With this approach it is easy to scroll through the content of files identifying differences allowing for fast correction and updating of both files (as you scroll through one document the other automatically scrolls to keep up).
As you update the files the highlighting dynamically changes too.
WinMerge is supported on a number of Windows platform from Windows 98, up to Windows Vista and 2008.
To learn more and download this utility visit WinMerge.