Saturday, January 5, 2008

Apple Mac OSX, Compare Files and Folders

There are plenty of paid-for utilities on Apple Mac OSX which compare files and folders.

What many people do not know is that Apple give you an excellent tool for free, part of Dev Tools.

Install Dev Tools, or download it, and look for /Developer/Applications/Utilities File Merge.

Not only can you put files into the two windows, you can put in folders as well.

Click 'compare', a new window opens and after a few minutes you'll get a listing.

Items in grey means that folder/file is identical, items in black means there is a difference.

To see how the files/folders differ click an item and you get message at the bottom of the window.

- “added to right” - the file/folder is only in the folder on the right
- "added to left" - the file/folder is only in the folder on the left

To make it easier to see what is different you can use the Exclude boxes in the upper right.

28 comments:

Hans said...

Trick doesn't work with non-ASCII files :(

John said...

Hey good find. I forgot all about the developer tools.

Fawkes said...

This absolutely DOES work for non-ascii files. I just compared a directory and a CD-ROM full of zip files.

Thanks for this tip!

QuiteTall said...

Glad people find this useful - I know _I_ do!

Cheers!

Heather said...

Fab stuff, stumbled across this in my search for some sort of compare software yesterday, just tried it out and it works just fine for me. Thanks :D

Anonymous said...

great tip

thanks so much

peetj said...

Thanks for this. It saved me a lot of time given firstly that I already had the Developer software loaded and secondly it was easy to use.

Cheers

peetj...

QuiteTall said...

Glad this works so well for everyone

QT

d_MatthewS_b said...

I'm new to mac and want to compare my picture library for any duplicates. Where can you download these or is it already installed as part of Leopard? Thanks!

QuiteTall said...

Hi.

You need the Developer Tools DVD. If you can't find it you can get it from Apple http://developer.apple.com/technology/xcode.html. The Xcode tools includes the Dev tools.

HTH

QT

Vinson Ravenell said...

Thanks this helped me with a program from a book that wasn't working and I compared my code with the code from their website and it was completely different than the book. Proved I wasn't crazy and their book was filled with mistakes.

Joe Lee said...

Thanks for the tip. That is just what I need. I don't have to buy Araxis Merge or Deltopia now. :D

QuiteTall said...

useful, and free... can't beat that!

Igal said...

Thank you very much!

idscop5b said...

I have two csv files: "prospects" and "clients". I have to do a mailing to prospects but I need to eliminate the prospects who have become clients. So, I need to compare the two files and create a third file which is prospects -(minus) clients. I can find the overlap with filemerge, which is very helpful in itself, but I haven't figured out how to avoid manually deleting the common names from prospects. Any ideas? Anyway, thank you very much for turning me on to this useful tool

Anonymous said...

Thank you for pointing to File Merge.

It worked fine for me.

Best,
Uwe

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot...! Saved me lots of time...
:-P

Ciao,
Salva

jai said...

Thanks for the heads up!

Is it possible to use FileMerge to compare pages documents? Any guidance is appreciated!

riegal said...

how did you install dev tools

erikbriones said...

thank you for this!

I have been searching for a third party app to use for Dreamweaver.

I hope it works for me tonight!

;)

DavidDelMonte said...

Thanks a ton. Very helpful.

@riegal >http://developer.apple.com

J Stafford said...

This is a great post, but Apple just put a great new tool up called DeltaWalker. It's free and can be found here: http://www.apple.com/downloads/macosx/development_tools/deltawalker.html

aaron said...

Is there any way to compare files regardless of folder structure? For example, I have totally rearranged the way I structure my pictures folder, and I want to compare all the files on my primary drive to the files on my backup drive to make sure that all the FILES are still the same, even if they are in different folders.


Any ideas?

Anonymous said...

J. Stafford - you have a funny (not in a good way) definition of "free". Shareware is not free.

Thank you to QuiteTall for this helpful post - I was just wondering what to do and stumbled here :) Still very useful I'd say...

Shalzers said...

OMG I LOVE YOU. Thanks so much this is AWESOME! Now I am going to go make a sandwich with all the time this app saved me.

Shalzers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Very nice, thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

I can highly recommend DiffMerge, which is also free but seems more powerful than FileMerge

http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/25426/diffmerge