I've been for long using git's (colored) --word-diff which I find awesome. I found myself today in a situation where I had two strings I needed to compare word by word and craving for something just like git's diff.

I am aware of wdiff + colordiff, but its results certainly aren't stellar:

me@me:~$ wdiff <(echo -e "abc\ndef") <(echo -e "dbcx\ndef") | colordiff

Is there any better option around? I don't particularly like those [-, -] and {+, +}.


You can use git's own diff-highlight. It can highlight word differences in unified diff output, and it can also cope with ANSI colors on input. So you can do something like this:

colordiff -u <(echo -e "foo abc\ndef") <(echo -e "foo dbcx\ndef") | diff-highlight
  • That only works for the trivial case where there is a single word changed on the line. When it gets multiple words changing, it incorrectly stretches the reverse-video across words which did not change: colordiff -u <(echo -e "foo abc x y\ndef") <(echo -e "foo dbcx x z\ndef") | diff-highlight – Thomas Dickey Sep 2 '16 at 0:25
  • @ThomasDickey It seems to need two words to re-synch. Anyway, it is what git does. shrug – Satō Katsura Sep 2 '16 at 4:12

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