Screenshot of ExamDiff application, showing two window panes - left and right - and highlighting the differences between two files
Screenshot of the ExamDiff application

Here’s a simple piece of software that I love, and find incredibly helpful: ExamDiff.

ExamDiff allows you to compare two text files and it will show you what the differences are, highlighting the lines where changes have occurred.

There are enough options in the free version to make it very useful. For example you can choose to:

  • Ignore all white space in lines
  • Ignore changes in amount of white space in lines
  • Ignore case
  • Treat both files as text files
  • Ignore leading white space in lines
  • Ignore trailing white space in lines

It’s really useful when, for example, you’ve been editing a CSS file and realise that you should have been marking it up with /*comments*/ to indicate your changes.

Simply load the original file (you did keep a backup, didn’t you!) and the new file and click OK. A few seconds later: ta-da! You can now immediately see which lines you’ve altered, as those lines have now been highlighted.

I don’t use it terribly often, but it’s a great application to have in your toolkit for those moments that you quickly need to compare two files.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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