I'm used to meld for editing while seeing an intra-line diff that's updated live in response to edits. One just types in the left or right pane of the window and then save one or both files.

I'm trying to use kdiff3 for the same purpose. I believe it does support live edits in the same style as meld, but I can't figure out how to edit. Both left and right panes show differences how I expect, but appear to be non-editable: if I click on them I see no cursor, and typing has no effect. I've explored the menus and command line options and can't seem to find the right option.

Here's how I'm running it:

kdiff3 ~/left_file.txt ~/right_file.txt

How can I use it to edit these files while viewing a live comparison?

  • 1
    I presume you get good reasons for using some now quite old utility. If you are in search of some utility well integrated with the kde-plasma environment and dolphin in particular, why not prefering much more recent kompare ? ( apps.kde.org/fr/kompare )
    – MC68020
    Feb 7 at 18:13
  • Not great reasons: 1. can't use meld on a work mac 2. didn't know about kompare, thanks. However: I have the same issue with kompare: I don't seem to be able to edit the text. I'm starting to suspect that's a feature of meld that both kdiff3 and kompare simply lack Feb 7 at 20:36

1 Answer 1


Being stated that I would personally prefer kompare (latest update 2023-12-07) to kdiff3 (last version 2014-07-04) when looking for some diff utility well integrated to the kde-plasma desktop applications (dolphin in particular) unless still using kde4.


AFAIK meld displays only 2 panes, one for each diffed file, each one enabling edition.

Since, above only diffing, merging is the primary goal of the project

KDiff3 started because I had to do a difficult merge.

kdiff3 uses a dedicated extra pane and editing facilities are only available into that Merge Output Editor Window.

  • Thanks! I'm not sure if the word "since" strictly belongs in your answer in the sentence "Since... merging is the primary goal" (I use meld for merging too, and being able to edit is the main feature for that from my point of view), but it answers my question. Feb 8 at 8:25

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