diff - compare files line by line


diff [OPTION]... FILES


Compare files line by line.
-i --ignore-case
 Ignore case differences in file contents.
 Ignore case when comparing file names.
 Consider case when comparing file names.
-E --ignore-tab-expansion
 Ignore changes due to tab expansion.
-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 whose lines are all blank.
-I RE --ignore-matching-lines=RE
 Ignore changes whose lines all match RE.
 Strip trailing carriage return on input.
-a --text Treat all files as text.
-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.
--label LABEL
 Use LABEL instead of file name.
-p --show-c-function
 Show which C function each change is in.
-F RE --show-function-line=RE
 Show the most recent line matching RE.
-q --brief
 Output only whether files differ.
-e --ed Output an ed script.
 Output a normal diff.
-n --rcs Output an RCS format diff.
-y --side-by-side
 Output in two columns.
-W NUM --width=NUM
 Output at most NUM (default 130) print columns.
 Output only the left column of common lines.
 Do not output common lines.
-D NAME --ifdef=NAME
 Output merged file to show ‘#ifdef NAME’ diffs.
 Similar, but format GTYPE input groups with GFMT.
 Similar, but format all input lines with LFMT.
 Similar, but format LTYPE input lines with LFMT.
LTYPE is ‘old’, ‘new’, or ‘unchanged’.
 GTYPE is LTYPE or ‘changed’.
GFMT 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:
F first line number
L last line number
N number of lines = L-F+1
E F-1
M L+1
LFMT may contain:
%L contents of line
%l contents of line, excluding any trailing newline
 printf-style spec for input line number
Either GFMT or LFMT may contain:
%% %
%c’C’ the single character C
%c’\OOO’ the character with octal code OOO
-l --paginate
 Pass the output through ‘pr’ to paginate it.
-t --expand-tabs
 Expand tabs to spaces in output.
-T --initial-tab
 Make tabs line up by prepending a tab.
 Tab stops are every NUM (default 8) print columns.
 Suppress space or tab before empty output lines.
-r --recursive
 Recursively compare any subdirectories found.
-N --new-file
 Treat absent files as empty.
 Treat absent first files as empty.
-s --report-identical-files
 Report when two files are the same.
-x PAT --exclude=PAT
 Exclude files that match PAT.
-X FILE --exclude-from=FILE
 Exclude files that match any pattern in FILE.
-S FILE --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.
 Keep NUM lines of the common prefix and suffix.
-d --minimal
 Try hard to find a smaller set of changes.
 Assume large files and many scattered small changes.
-v --version
 Output version info.
--help Output this help.
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 FILES. 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.


Report bugs to <>.


Copyright © 2007 Free Software Foundation, Inc. License GPLv3+: GNU GPL version 3 or later <> This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute it. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.


The full documentation for diff is maintained as a Texinfo manual. If the info and diff programs are properly installed at your site, the command
info diff
should give you access to the complete manual.

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