Comparing text files using Notepad++

Notepad++ is my favourite text editor for Windows.  It’s great, it’s free and you should use it.  I’ll leave you to discover it’s cool little features, including themes under Style Configurator.  My favourite theme is khaki for its ease on the eyes when trawling through logs.  black on white gets pretty tiresome.  Syntax colour highlighting according to your coding language is a nice touch too, for spotting those elusive typos tripping up your code.

It used to include a plugin called Compare, that you could use to compare different files and highlight their differences, but this was removed due to compatibility issues.  Hopefully it’ll return.  In the meantime, it is possible to download the plugin separately, and copy it to the plugins folder under Program Files (x86)\Notepad++\plugins

Expand the zip file and copy the .dll into place…


Restart Notepad++ (it conveniently opens whatever files were open before it was closed – another nice feature).  The plugins menu now has the Compare plugin…


Files are compared and differences highlighted…


There is also a convenient navigation pane on the right hand side (not shown) that shows all the red and green areas (mismatches and differences) in the files.

Enjoy the best free text editor and file comparison functionality all in the same app and ask yourself why in 2015 Microsoft’s own Notepad bundled with Windows still doesn’t have any of these essential features built in.

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