Here is a list of best free document comparison software for Windows. These document comparison freeware let you compare text of two documents in split windows (horizontally/vertically). The comparison is done by line number. The difference in content of each line of two documents is highlighted in different colors in each one of these software. You can also manually compare and analyze the documents in terms of identical and non-identical content. The number of conflicts/changes are also displayed. The comparison results can be exported in the format of TXT or HTML.
Most of these document comparison software offer two features, which are as follows:
- Compare: This feature is to simply check for conflicts in two documents as mentioned above.
- Merge: Along with comparison, this feature lets you merge two documents into a base document to create a final version of a combined document. This is done by merging identical and non-identical content into one.
Most of these document compare software provide built-in text editor. This lets you individually edit each document and save changes while comparing them. You can easily move content from one to another, to resolve differences between the two. Some of these document comparison tools let you compare more than two documents at a time. You can even compare two folders in a few of them.
All of them support plain text documents i.e. TXT files. But, you can also compare text content of other document formats like RTF, DOC, DOCX, XML, HTML, etc.
Note: These document comparison software only compare text content of documents.
My Favorite Free Document Comparison Software For Windows:
DiffMerge is my favorite document comparison software. It provides a variety of tools to compare two documents with ease. It also lets you merge three documents in one document file by resolving conflicts in them.
I liked Compare Files too because of its simplicity. It lets you manually analyze two documents line by line. It is lightweight and portable.
You can also checkout the lists of best free Folder Compare, Registry Compare, and Document Management software for Windows.
DiffMerge is a free document comparison software for Windows. Simply go to File > Open File Diff and add two documents to compare. It basically compares the text content of the two documents in a split window (horizontally or vertically). This comparison is done line by line. You can see the non-identical content highlighted in red color by default. So, this way you can easily analyze the different content of the two documents. It shows number of changes in both documents below its interface.
Features to lookout for:
- It provides two tabs to manage content of the documents being compared: Reference View and Edit View. Reference View lets you analyze content of two documents line by line, while you can actually move content from left to right document in Edit View tab.
- To make both the documents identical, use Edit View tab to replace with left, prepend from left, or append from left. Remember, you can make changes in document at the right side only.
- You can choose a Ruleset for comparing and showing content of documents based on their type, like Python Source, Text Files, Java Source, Visual Basic Source, etc.
- In case the two documents belong to different encodings, Character Encoding Indicator lets you change encoding character set, for being able to compare the two files.
- You can export compared results in TXT format. To save the same result in HTML, you need to complete paid registration.
- You can customize color schemes to highlight different, equivalent, identical, etc. compared content of two files.
One of its key features is Open File Merge. It opens up three split windows to let you see changes in three documents simultaneously. You can also merge content of two branched versions to create a common version.
Its a good document comparison tool with an easy user interface. Not just documents, you can compare two folders too using DiffMerge. Home Page Download Page
ExamDiff is another free document comparer software. To start with, it lets you browse two documents to compare. After that, you can see comparison between the two in split windows. It displays the changes by line numbers in both documents. You can easily view and analyze non-identical content in a particular line number. Tools to navigate to previous to next change or vice versa are also provided. Number of difference are shown at the bottom of its interface.
It also lets you edit documents individually. You can recompare files as well after editing them. Other options of this document comparison tool let you view documents separately, swap them, save unix diff files to compare them in future, etc. You can also search for content within documents.
It provides an option to associate particular file types to it. You can add document formats to browse and compare, including DOC, DOCX, PDF, RTF, etc.
It is an easy to use document comparison software. It provides all key features on its toolbar to quickly use them. You can set preference for comparison results, like ignoring white space in lines, ignore case, ignore leading and/or trailing white space, etc. Also, it lets you change color schemes for added, deleted, and changed lines. Home Page Download Page
WinMerge is an open source document comparison software for Windows. It lets you compare two documents on its split interface. The comparison is shown by highlighting similar and conflict content. As above mentioned software, this one too does comparison by line numbers. It displays number of lines and characters in respective documents at the bottom of its interface.
In the respective comparison windows, you can even edit each document in real time. Later, changes can be saved. In case you want to analyze any/both of the two documents in read-only mode, you can do that too. To make both the documents identical, enable the Merge Mode. It lets you copy content from document at left to document right or vice versa. But, make sure that you have disabled read only mode for the two. When documents become identical, it displays the message for the same on its interface.
Easy navigation options are also available. Other tools for syntax highlighting, locking panes, swapping panes, location panes, zooming in/out, etc. are also provided in this software. You can also apply line filters (with regular expressions) and file filters (delphi filter, XML/HTML devel, etc.). It also provides a text editor.
You can compare documents including TXT, DOC, DOCX, HTML, PDF, etc. The comparison report can be generated in HTML files. It also lets you Print the same as a PDF or XPS file.
WinMerge is one the best document comparison software in this list. It is easy to use and offers essential as well as advanced tools to compare two documents. Home Page Download Page
Compare Files is a portable document compare software. It doesn’t really compare and return result by highlighting differences. But, you have to manually analyze the two documents on your own. After adding two documents from its interface, you can see the two in horizontal split windows. Here, you can see content of both documents line by line. You can manually check for the content present in both, absent in one, similar in both, etc., as per your requirement.
It lets you compare documents in formats including DOC, DOCX, RTF, TXT, XML, HTML, etc. It is very easy-to-use with simplistic interface. To know more about it, click here. Home Page Download Page
Kdiff is another open source document compare software. Not two, but it lets you compare three documents at a time. As other mentioned software, it also displays content of documents in split windows. It addresses both documents as A (left) and B (right) documents. To compare them, it highlights different and missing content in each line in different color schemes. It also displays total number of conflicts and number of solved/unsolved conflicts. It provides various Encoding style such as UTF, ISCII, ISO, Windows, Big5, IBM866, etc. to choose from.
Diffview menu lets you decide the elements to show in split windows while comparing two documents, including white spaces, line numbers, and space and tabulator characters. You can also enable Word Wrap Diff Window and add/clear manual different elements.
It also lets you merge conflicts from base file to modified one. You can choose whether you want to keep content of A or B document, while resolving differences. A section below its interface lets you clearly view, modify, and merge conflicts. You can save the merged/modified file as a separate document.
It doesn’t provide a dedicated option to generate comparison report. But, you can save the same as PDF file using Print option.
You can compare TXT, RTF, DOC, DOCX, etc. documents using it.
Kdiff is another one of good document comparison software. You can even compare directories using this freeware. Also, it lets you customize font, color schemes (foreground, background, for specific document, for highlighting, etc.), editor settings, merge preferences, etc. Home Page Download Page
P4Merge is another free software to compare documents. It provides two main features, which are:
- Diff: It basically lets you view browsed documents in split windows to compare them line by line. You can see different content highlighted in grey in both documents. Number of differences in both documents is displayed on the top of its interface. You can easily navigate from one difference to another or go to a particular line number within a document. It also provides options to edit documents separately.
- Merge: It basically merges content of two documents into a base document. You can also compare the three (base, 1st, and 2nd document) in side by side windows. It lets you view the number of conflicts among them. The different content of document are merged into the base file, while similar ones remain unchanged. The preview of merged document is shown in a section at the bottom of its interface. This preview window can be used as a basic text editor too. The final document can be saved as a separate document file.
It is a good document comparison software with ability to compare and merge documents effortlessly. It provides options to choose Character Encoding (Unicode, Western European, Greek, etc.) and Comparison Method (ignore line ending differences, recognize line ending and white space differences, etc.). You can also customize interface preferences like font, tab spacing, etc. Home Page Download Page
TkDiff is another open source document compare software for Windows. Like other mentioned software, this one too compares the text content of two documents in line by line manner. You can view both documents in split windows. The different content in each line are highlighted in blue, rest of the content remains same.
It also lets you use Merge option to make the two documents identical. The merged document can be saved as a separate document. At the launch, it provides a More option, in case you want to merge three documents into one. This option lets you browse three documents to merge namely Ancestor, File 1, and File 2.
It provides an option to edit each document file individually in a Simple Editor window. After editing the files, you can recompute the differences between the two.
You can easily navigate through split windows to compare and analyze two documents. Some handy tools to mark current difference, show change bars, ignore white spaces, show Diff map, view first/next/previous difference, etc. help you compare the documents easily. You can also export the comparison results as a TXT file. Home Page Download Page
SmartSynchronize is a document comparison software, free for non-commercial purposes. It lets you open two documents in compare mode to analyze the differences between them. Like other software, the differences are highlighted in both documents shown in split windows. You can effortlessly move from one difference to another or to a specific line number to compare content of the two.
It lets you resolve the conflicts between two documents and make them identical. To do so, you can click on a particular line number and use Take Left or Take Right option. Take Left lets you insert same content on a particular line number from left side document to right side document. Whereas, Take Right does the opposite.
It provides 3-Way Merge feature to merge two documents into a third base document. In this mode, you can compare three documents and combine them into one.
It lets you edit the documents which are being compared and save changes in real time. You can export the the comparison results as HTML file.
All in all, its a nice document compare software. Several handy tools and simple user interface make it an easy to use software. Home Page Download Page
DirDiff is quite a different document comparison software than other mentioned software. It lets you compare text content of as many documents you want. It shows content of each added file with line numbers in different colors (see full screenshot). You can manually compare the differences among added documents.
I liked DirDiff as it lets you compare many document files at once. Also, the format of documents may differ. It also lets you compare folders. It also provides options to search for any specific text, show drag handle icon to quickly drag and drop document files to compare, etc. It doesn’t require installation as it comes in portable version. Home Page Download Page
Office Diff is a simple and portable document comparison software. It basically takes two input documents to compare and generates a HTML file to show differences between them (see full screenshot). In HTML file, you can view line by line comparison. Different elements including added, change, and deleted lines are highlighted in different colors. That’s it. It doesn’t let you compare two documents in real time. In case you just need to check identical and non-identical parts of two documents, you can use this basic document comparison tool. Home Page Download Page