Sunday, August 14, 2011

Using Notepad++ to Do File Comparison

In my previous post, I blog about the “Best File Comparison Software” that there isn’t really any freeware out there can compete with the Araxis Merge software. I’m surprise this is still true until today…

I introduced ExamDiff and TKDiff in my previous post but what is really missing for these 2 tools is the programming language editor (e.g. C++, Java and etc.) You can compare but you can’t highlight those programming syntax and edit those files. This is because both tools are just mainly designed for file comparison tools and not designed for you to edit the files.

The good news is Notepad++ can do both! With Notepad++, you can edit almost all programing and scripting languages and most importantly you can perform file comparison as well without open another tools or software!

To download this Notepad++ freeware, please go to

The file comparison feature is not enabled by default. It is the plug-in that you need to install. To install, you need to go to the “Plugins –> Plugin Manager –> Show Plugin Manager” from the file menu. Check the “Compare’ and click “Install” as you can see in the following:

Once it is installed, you will need to restart the Notepad++...

 Steps to Compare
  1. Open files that you would like to compare.
  2. Go to "Plugins -> Compare -> Compare". 

Good: What is interesting here is you can compare more than 2 files at once! This is really cool but may not be practical as I seldom compare files more than two. Perhaps this could be something useful to you?

Not So Good: The other thing that I encounter is when you compare a large file, the performance is pretty slow. It takes quite some to load the comparison result and it shows “Not Responding” rather than the “hourglass”. Something to improve on…

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