man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2014

diff (1g)


diff - compare files line by line


diff [OPTION]... FILES


User Commands                                             DIFF(1)

     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

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          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

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          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:

     %%   %

          the single character C

          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.

     -r  --recursive
          Recursively compare any subdirectories found.

     -N  --new-file
          Treat absent files as empty.

          Treat absent first files as empty.

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User Commands                                             DIFF(1)

     -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  direc-

          Compare  all  operands to FILE2.  FILE2 can be a direc-

          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.

          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  stan-
     dard  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 (C) 2004 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
     This  is  free  software;  see the source for copying condi-
     tions.  There is NO warranty; not even  for  MERCHANTABILITY

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     See   attributes(5)   for   descriptions  of  the  following

     |Availability   | text/gnu-diffutils |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted        |
     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.

     This  software  was   built   from   source   available   at    The  original
     community       source       was       downloaded       from

     Further  information about this software can be found on the
     open source community  website  at

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