Is there a good folders comparison tool for Mac?
October 22, 2008 3:06 PM   Subscribe

I need a good and fast tool to compare two folders side by side, with the ability of exclude .SVN and other useless files. I've found some ones like Compare Folders and DeltaWalker but I haven't tried these yet. Do you recommend them?
posted by Leech to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Unix has got to be the answer. If you're running Windows, consider installing Cygwin ( The comparison you want to make is probably a simple command line, traversing a directory tree, listing files and folders, and stripping out the junk.
posted by doteatop at 3:16 PM on October 22, 2008

I've used Beyond Compare v2.0 (WinXP) and think it's excellent. Whether it'll meet your needs you'll have to try and see.
posted by snarfois at 3:17 PM on October 22, 2008

Beyond Compare is excellent for this.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:18 PM on October 22, 2008

Response by poster: Mac please.

@doteatop: ya, but I hate to "stripping out the junk" of diff :(
posted by Leech at 3:27 PM on October 22, 2008

I really like meld, it's well colored and easy to use, and supports three way diffs, and has a great interface

Installing on os x via darwinports
posted by zentrification at 4:14 PM on October 22, 2008

Response by poster: Ok, found it. Changes
posted by Leech at 4:38 PM on October 22, 2008

Personally, I just use "diff -Naur dirA dirB". Diff supports exclusion patterns and so on. It's not all that great on binary files though. Which makes me stabby when students turn in projects with binaries still in them.
posted by pwnguin at 5:29 PM on October 22, 2008

Diffmerge ( is free and does all that Changes does (but not for free).
posted by aroberge at 6:08 PM on October 22, 2008

Changes is great, but a bit pricey for my needs. If you're just worried about contents and not metadata, then try this:
  1. Open TextWrangler
  2. Open 2 new documents
  3. Drag one of your folders to one of the empty TW documents, and the other to the other
  4. Choose Search->Compare Two Front Documents
Probably not what you want to have to do several times a day, but if this is an infrequent task, this is a simple and free way to go.
posted by al_fresco at 11:39 PM on October 22, 2008

@al_fresco: thanks for that tip!
posted by snarfois at 3:57 AM on October 23, 2008

Xplorer2. Freeware and great. (Additional functionality in the not-free version, of course.)

You can even "sync" the two windows so that they travel through identical file structures together - that is, if there's a folder called "A" with subfolders "B", "C", and "D" on two drives (doesn't matter what paths precede the "A" folders), you can move between the folders by simply moving in one of the two sync'ed windows.
posted by IAmBroom at 4:36 PM on October 24, 2008

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