Better WinMerge defaults

by Matt 15. January 2009 18:12

I like WinMerge. It’s a nice, free file comparison program. Works very well indeed.

I have just 2 problems with it.

Firstly, it doesn’t support three-way merging, meaning I can’t use it for TortoiseSVN (that honour goes to SourceGear’s DiffMerge), but it’s great as a stand alone file diff-er.

Secondly, it comes with a poor set of defaults. Now, you can import and export your customised settings, so here’s a copy of mine. Main differences:

  1. No splash screen
  2. Consolas as the main font
  3. Automatically scroll to the first difference
  4. Multiple windows for file and folder comparison (why wouldn’t I want this set?)
  5. Moved block detection is enabled – this can get much better results in the diff, and the location bar on the left shows a link between the source and destination of the moved block
  6. Automatic rescan – detect new changes after each change to the file
  7. Disabled backup files
  8. And the biggie – changed colours for inline differences. By default, WinMerge checks for changes within a line, and displays those words that are different in a different colour. But, it displays the differences with a lighter colour than the rest of the line, de-emphasising the changes:

image

I’ve just swapped the colours, so the changed words are a darker shade, making it more obvious what’s changed:

image

Simple, but effective. And I’ve had to do this enough times, that I thought I’d output the settings so I’ve always got them to hand. If you’re interested, grab them from here.

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