FileMerge – The File Comparison Tool You Might Just Need

When you buy a Mac, you’re not just getting a gorgeous piece of hardware dressed in the most awesome operating system – you’re also getting most of the tools you’ll ever need to start being productive. There are a lot of these little apps that come bundled with a Mac but are never used, not because they’re useless, albeit because you might have never knew they’re there. Lots of these applications are found in your Utilities folder (/Applications/Utilities and /Developer/Applications/Utilities). Today I’ll be showing you a good example of one of these handy little hidden apps – FileMerge, an application that easily compares and merges files or directories.

FileMerge starts up with a simple interface to pick two files. You can drag and drop a couple and proceed with comparing them.

Once you take that to comparing step, you can see an easy interface for differences – additions, removals, and changes. By default all modifications are brought on from the right version of the file.

If you would like to use the left version for a specific change, select the arrow for the change and choose “Choose left” from the dropdown in the footer.

Once you’ve made all your changes you can drag the drawer from bottom up to find your final result or alternatively save your merged file straight away.

You could explore comparing directories but it’s quite the same idea.

It’s obviously not the most advanced of tools, and not the most compelling interface but it does get the job done very quickly and easily. A more advanced option would be Kaleidoscope which, for €29, takes this a step further and lets you compare images and gives you a whole lot of more options you can play around with.

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