diff man page

diff — compare files line by line


diff {{file1}} {{file2}}

diff -w {{file1}} {{file2}}

diff -y {{file1}} {{file2}}

diff -r {{directory1}} {{directory2}}

diff -rq {{directory1}} {{directory2}}


diff [OPTION]... FILES


Compare FILES line by line.

Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short options too.

output a normal diff (the default)
-q, --brief
report only when files differ
-s, --report-identical-files
report when two files are the same
-c, -C NUM, --context[=NUM]
output NUM (default 3) lines of copied context
-u, -U NUM, --unified[=NUM]
output NUM (default 3) lines of unified context
-e, --ed
output an ed script
-n, --rcs
output an RCS format diff
-y, --side-by-side
output in two columns
-W, --width=NUM
output at most NUM (default 130) print columns
output only the left column of common lines
do not output common lines
-p, --show-c-function
show which C function each change is in
-F, --show-function-line=RE
show the most recent line matching RE
--label LABEL
use LABEL instead of file name and timestamp (can be repeated)
-t, --expand-tabs
expand tabs to spaces in output
-T, --initial-tab
make tabs line up by prepending a tab
tab stops every NUM (default 8) print columns
suppress space or tab before empty output lines
-l, --paginate
pass output through 'pr' to paginate it
-r, --recursive
recursively compare any subdirectories found
don't follow symbolic links
-N, --new-file
treat absent files as empty
treat absent first files as empty
ignore case when comparing file names
consider case when comparing file names
-x, --exclude=PAT
exclude files that match PAT
-X, --exclude-from=FILE
exclude files that match any pattern in FILE
-S, --starting-file=FILE
start with FILE when comparing directories
compare FILE1 to all operands; FILE1 can be a directory
compare all operands to FILE2; FILE2 can be a directory
-i, --ignore-case
ignore case differences in file contents
-E, --ignore-tab-expansion
ignore changes due to tab expansion
-Z, --ignore-trailing-space
ignore white space at line end
-b, --ignore-space-change
ignore changes in the amount of white space
-w, --ignore-all-space
ignore all white space
-B, --ignore-blank-lines
ignore changes where lines are all blank
-I, --ignore-matching-lines=RE
ignore changes where all lines match RE
-a, --text
treat all files as text
strip trailing carriage return on input
-D, --ifdef=NAME
output merged file with '#ifdef NAME' diffs
format GTYPE input groups with GFMT
format all input lines with LFMT

format LTYPE input lines with LFMT

These format options provide fine-grained control over the output

of diff, generalizing -D/--ifdef.

LTYPE is 'old', 'new', or 'unchanged'.

GTYPE is LTYPE or 'changed'.

GFMT (only) may contain:

lines from FILE1
lines from FILE2
lines common to FILE1 and FILE2

printf-style spec for LETTER

LETTERs are as follows for new group, lower case for old group:

first line number
last line number
number of lines = L-F+1

if A equals B then T else E

LFMT (only) may contain:

contents of line
contents of line, excluding any trailing newline

printf-style spec for input line number

Both GFMT and LFMT may contain:

the single character C
the character with octal code OOO
the character C (other characters represent themselves)
-d, --minimal
try hard to find a smaller set of changes
keep NUM lines of the common prefix and suffix
assume large files and many scattered small changes
colorize the output; WHEN can be 'never', 'always', or 'auto' (the default)
specify the colors to use when --color is active PALETTE is a colon-separated list terminfo capabilities
display this help and exit
-v, --version
output version information and exit

FILES are 'FILE1 FILE2' or 'DIR1 DIR2' or 'DIR FILE' or 'FILE DIR'. If --from-file or --to-file is given, there are no restrictions on FILE(s). If a FILE is '-', read standard input. Exit status is 0 if inputs are the same, 1 if different, 2 if trouble.


Written by Paul Eggert, Mike Haertel, David Hayes, Richard Stallman, and Len Tower.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to: bug-diffutils@gnu.org
GNU diffutils home page: <http://www.gnu.org/software/diffutils/>
General help using GNU software: <http://www.gnu.org/gethelp/>

See Also

wdiff(1), cmp(1), diff3(1), sdiff(1), patch(1)

Referenced By

atool(1), bzdiff(1), cmp(1), combinediff(1), cut-diff(1), darcs(1), dbfilediff(1), debrepro(1), diff3(1), diffpp(1), diffstat(1), dwdiff(1), dwfilter(1), fixcvsdiff(1), flipdiff(1), gdiffmk(1), gendiff(1), git-diff(1), git-diff-files(1), git-diff-index(1), git-diff-tree(1), grep(1), hg(1), interdiff(1), ixplore(1), lbzdiff(1), manlifter(1), merge(1), ntfscmp(8), obnam(1), oggz-diff(1), patch(1), perlbug(1), perlhist(1), pycocci(1), rancid_intro(1), rc(1), rcsdiff(1), rpmdev-diff(1), sdiff(1), sgmldiff(1), spatch(1), spgen(1), srec_cat(1), suffixes(7), summain(1), t-prot(1), unifdef(1), wiggle(1), xs(1), xzdiff(1), zdiff(1).

September 2016 diffutils 3.5 User Commands