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How to Use diff to Compare Two Files at Mac Command Line

Through this article we will teach you how to Use diff to Compare Two Files at Mac Command Line. When we write code, sometimes we want to compare two similar but different files. Diff tools, short for difference, allow programmers to look at the two files side by side and see exactly what makes them different – where new lines of code have been added; if variable names have been changed; or when lines of code have been removed.

Most of the time we use diff tools when we are comparing two different versions of the same code, usually an older version and a newer version. Or we could compare our code to someone else’s code. Need to quickly compare two files for differences? The “diff” tool on the command line provides a great choice for users who feel comfortable with the terminal. The Diff function allows you to easily compare two files, with a command command reporting all the differences between the entered files.

The diff command is available by default on a Mac (Apple Laptop), and it works the same way on Linux distros and other unix operating systems, just worry, and for Windows users, it’s pretty similar to an fc file comparison tool.

For best results, you need to work with some sort of plain text files, not rich text. If necessary, you can always make a copy of the file and convert it to plain text using the Mac textutil command-line tool or even using TextEdit. Below we have mention the steps to Compare Two File to Command Line Using Diff.

Compare Two File at Mac Command Line Using Diff

The difference is the command line tool, so you must first launch the Terminal application found in / Applicaitons / Utilities / and you are then ready to get started.

The basic script for the diff script is as follows:

diff (file input 1) (file input 2)

For example, if we want to compare bash.txt and bash2.txt in the current directory, the syntax is as follows:

diff bash.txt bash2.txt

The -W flag can be handy for plain text files because it prompts the diff program to leave a space when comparing files. And of course, you can use the full path to the files for comparison if necessary, for example, to compare a modified host file to another version:

diff -w / etc / hosts ~ / Downloads / BlockEverythingHosts.txt

The sample may look something like this:

$ diff -w / etc / hosts ~ / Downloads / BlockEverythingHosts.txt

0a1

# time for a break

9a12

> 127.0.0.1 facebook.com

Larger and less than symbols act as a kind of pointing arrows that indicate from which file the difference comes from the order shown in the original command syntax.

Diff is quite powerful, you can also use a diff file to compare two directory contents, which can be useful for checking backups or file changes or file integrity.

Obviously diff requires a command line, but if you prefer to be in the familiar graphical user interface of Mac OS when comparing documents, there are several options, such as comparing two-word documents to Microsoft Word, or if you work with code and syntax, try the Xcode FileMerge tool, git- file or even an excellent BBEdit text editor for Mac. And if you’re on a Windows operating system, the fc command works basically the same as the diff command, and ‘fc file1 file2’ achieves roughly the same comparison as diff.

Do you have any other tips for the diff file or comparing the two files? Share them below!

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FAQ: How to Use diff to Compare Two Files at Mac Command Line

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In this guide, I told you about the How to Use diff to Compare Two Files at Mac Command Line.
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In this guide, I discuss about the How to Use diff to Compare Two Files at Mac Command Line, which is very helpful.
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Apple Devices only.
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mac OS or iOS
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Final Words

We hope our article on Use diff to Compare Two Files at Mac Command Line will help you and resolve all your problems. Alternatively called comparison, diff is short for “difference” or “difference” and describes a program’s ability to show the difference between two or more files.

James Hogan
James Hogan
James Hogan is a senior staff writer at Bollyinside, where he has been covering various topics, including laptops, gaming gear, keyboards, storage, and more. During that period, they evaluated hundreds of laptops and thousands of accessories and built a collection of entirely too many mechanical keyboards for their own use.

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