I've hardly ever used anything other than Meld. Can you recommend anything else?

It would be extra nice if you give a reason for your recommendation (as a Comment).

[note] I want an alternative because Meld has recently lost the feature to copy entire contents from one file to another. I'm referring to the functionality available via the Copy To Left/Right right-click menu item.

[update] I just checked, and the problem was introduced by 1.3.2. 1.3.1 works well, and the latest I've checked is 1.4.0, and it doesn't work.

  • 4
    Have you tried kdiff3.sourceforge.net?
    – kasterma
    Commented Dec 6, 2010 at 16:26
  • @kas I just tried now, and I noticed that it doesn't offer what I need from such a tool (check the note I added to the Question).
    – tshepang
    Commented Dec 6, 2010 at 16:47
  • 2
    @Tshepang: kdiff3 does allow for this. Mark a file "merge from A to B" and then begin the merge. You may choose, difference by difference, which parts to copy. Omit any that you don't want to copy. When satisfied hit Save. To copy the whole file just mark it as "Copy A to B." You may need to reverse A and B, depending on which way you're actually copying.
    – Sorpigal
    Commented Dec 6, 2010 at 17:09
  • @Sor You sure? I'm using version 0.9.95 and I don't find "merge from A to B". I checked under Merge menu.
    – tshepang
    Commented Dec 6, 2010 at 17:16
  • 1
    @Tshepang I use Meld 1.3.0, which I believe is the latest version. Select the entire contents of the left hand side file (click over the text and press Ctrl+A), then right click over it. I get the the option "Copy to Right", and clicking on it copies entire contents of the left hand side file to right hand side file. Similarly, I get the "Copy to Left" option for the other file. So, it does allow you to copy the entire contents of a file to the other.
    – Barun
    Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 18:11

7 Answers 7


There are a number of tools that are usable:

  • meld
  • kompare -- diff file viewer
  • kdiff3 -- file difference viewer
  • Diffuse -- file difference viewer

Do you have two files and want to view their differences? Use a "file difference viewer". Do you have a diff file and want to look at it in an easy-to-read display? Use a "diff file viewer".

  • +1 for suggesting Kompare; It seems better than the Kdiff3, at least for my use.
    – tshepang
    Commented Dec 6, 2010 at 19:40
  • 1
    there is also diffuse: diffuse.sourceforge.net/manual.html
    – gabe.
    Commented Dec 6, 2010 at 22:52
  • @gabe Added that lovely tool to the list.
    – tshepang
    Commented Dec 7, 2010 at 0:18
  • diffuse do have some nice svn knowledge out of the box, so you can more or less use it like "svn diff".
    – Johan
    Commented Dec 7, 2010 at 7:39
  • 1
    @Tshepang - I love that kdiff3 will highlight individual characters that have changed in a line. Most diff tools will just highlight the whole line, which can make it more difficult to figure out what changed. Just one nice feature to keep in mind... Commented Feb 18, 2011 at 14:12

There is also vimdiff (with its GUI version gvimdiff).


Emacs' bundled ediff package is a pretty good diff viewer (start with the commands in Emacs' Tools / Compare and Tools / Merge menus). It has all the basic features (highlight the differences between two files, jump between differing blocks) and most common intermediate features (compare portions of files, compare revisions grabbed from version control, compare directory trees, use a common ancestor as a reference point, produce a merged version). It doesn't have very fancy ignore capabilities, however.

What Emacs has over most other diff viewers includes better search capabilities, syntax highlighting, Lisp extensibility. Oh, and an integrated editor.

  • When I tried the emacs diff viewer I found that the buffers didn't scroll at the same time (in vimdiff they scroll so the related parts are next to one another all the time). Do you know you to achieve this in emacs?
    – kasterma
    Commented Dec 6, 2010 at 22:43
  • @kasterma: v/^ (ediff-scroll-vertically, going up or down depending on the key you press to invoke it) scrolls all the windows in parallel. Commented Dec 6, 2010 at 22:47

I recommend kdiff3. It can be used both by programmers to compare src files during software development or by people doing periodic backup to compare 2 folders (recursively all the way down), the first one in your system hard disk and the second one external backup hard hard disk.

In the later case you can configure for a date and time and size comparison as opposed to line by line comparison needed by programmers. It comes up with a nice colour coded output for each dir/file involved in the comparison and you can selectively add/remove the new files you have created/deleted in your system hard disk to the backup hard disk.


I have used tkdiff (http://sourceforge.net/projects/tkdiff/) for years. It does what I want as far as displaying differences between files, and it's able to write out a "merge" file with any ol' selection of left and right file difference selections.

Drawback: it's written in Tcl/Tk, and not all systems have that.


I think xxdiff does what you want.


A comparison of various diff utils. Old but still valid.



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