How to Compare Two Files in Notepad++ Using a Plugin

Compare Two Files Easily in Notepad++

Notepad++ is a free text and code editor for Microsoft Windows operating system. Users can compare two files in Notepad++ side by side with a compare plugin. It shows multiple differences with different colors. The compare plugin works better for source code rather than simple text. In this article, we will show you the method through which you can easily compare two files in Notepad++.

Compare Two Files in Notepad++ Using a Plugin
Compare Two Files Easily in Notepad++

Using the Compare Plugin

There is a specific compare plugin in Notepad++ to compare two files. However, it is not available by default and you need to download it manually through the plugin manager. The latest Notepad++ uses Plugin Admin as a plugin manager. If you are using an outdated version of Notepad++, then simply update it or install the Plugin Manager manually. Compare plugin will do a comparison through the lines.

A few of the symbols/signs that you will find for lines after using the compare plugin have different meanings as stated below:

  • Added (+): This sign will show the lines that only exist in the new file and not in the old file.
  • Deleted (-): The minus sign will show the lines that do not exist in the new file, but are only present in the old file.
  • Moved (⇳): The stream that appears once in another file, but in a different location.
  • Changed (≠): Most of the lines will be similar but with some changes that are highlighted in a different color.

The compare plugin is limited and may not provide the features that you are looking for in Notepad++. Anyway, follow the below steps to check it out:

  1. Open your Notepad++ by double-clicking on the shortcut. You can also search for Notepad++ through the Windows search feature and open it.
  2. Click on the Plugins menu in the menu bar and choose the Plugins Admin option.
    Opening plugin manager
  3. Search for the Compare plugin in the list of plugins. Select the plugin and click on the Install button.
    Installing plugin manager
  4. It will ask you to restart the Notepad++ to install the Compare plugin. Click on the Yes button to approve the action.
  5. Once the Notepad++ is restarted, the Compare plugin will be installed.
  6. Now open two files that you want to compare. You can do it by clicking on the File menu and choosing the Open option, then selecting the files that you want to open.
    Note: You can also simply drag and drop files to the Notepad++ to open them.
  7. After that, click on the Plugins menu, choose the Compare option, and then click on the Compare in the sub-menu.
    Using the compare plugin
  8. It will compare the two files and show the differences between them.
  9. You can also click on the Plugins, then Compare, and choose the Settings option to further configure Compare plugin options. The colors for differences can be changed for Compare plugin too.
  10. To close the comparison of files, click on the Plugins menu again, choose the Compare, and then click on the Clear Active Compare or Clear All Compares option.
    Clearing the comparison

Kevin Arrows

Kevin Arrows is a highly experienced and knowledgeable technology specialist with over a decade of industry experience. He holds a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) certification and has a deep passion for staying up-to-date on the latest tech developments. Kevin has written extensively on a wide range of tech-related topics, showcasing his expertise and knowledge in areas such as software development, cybersecurity, and cloud computing. His contributions to the tech field have been widely recognized and respected by his peers, and he is highly regarded for his ability to explain complex technical concepts in a clear and concise manner.