Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Greatest Tool Ever: Beyond Compare

If you’ve never used this tool, prepare to have your life changed. Seriously! This tool makes the incredibly complex and tedious task of comparing two files or two directories of files EASY! No sarcasm here but this tool is beyond awesome. It also comes with an incredibly low sticker price of $60/per user (October 2019). All of this sorcery for that price? Unbelievable.

I use this tool religiously for comparing configuration files and or compare deployments. This tool is a serious lifesaver. It will help you spot differences you may miss with the naked eye.

Comparing Configuration Files

I love using Beyond Compare for comparing two configuration files. If you have a change in another environment like production, this will allow you to quickly identify exactly what has changed.

(Beyond Compare – Comparing Configuration Files)

Copying Changes Over

If you look at the image above you will see a yellow arrow. These arrows copy information bidirectionally. If you click the arrow pointing to the right it will copy the data to the right. This makes updating configuration files very easy.

Comparing Directories

This feature is great for identifying what has changed. Imagine you have a WordPress website that has been hacked. You can compare a recent backup that you know is clean or pull a copy of WordPress’s core files that match the version and quickly identify what has changed.

(Beyond Compare – Comparing Directories)

Editing Capabilities

You can edit and make changes directly to files as you are viewing them. It’s very simple and easy to use.

Syntax Highlighting

Beyond Compares supports syntax highlighting for C, C++, C#, Objective-C, Java, SQL, Delphi, Pascal, Python, Visual Basic, XML and more!

(Beyond Compare – Syntax Highlighting)

Integrated into Windows Explorer

The developers of Beyond Compare must use their own tool because they’ve clearly thought a lot of this through. When you right-click a file you can select “Select Left File for Compare”, this will open the file in Beyond Compare for editing.

(Beyond Compare – Integrated into Windows)