File Compare

The File Compare window shows the contents of two files, one in the left and one in the right area of the window. A File Compare is typically invoked via Query|Show Changes from the Project Window but there are other ways to invoke a File Compare in SmartSVN. Together with a File Compare, a Properties Compare can be invoked, if properties of the files to compare are different as well.


Depending on your Preferences, performing a file comparison can also invoke an external file compare tool. This section refers only to the built-in File Compare of SmartSVN.

Depending on the source of the compared files (local working copy, repository), none, only the right, or both editors in the File Compare window may be editable. Depending on the invoking command, when a copied file is compared and the copy source file is removed, the pristine copy of the source file will be used for the comparison, provided that its contents are available.


If the file compare refuses to compare a file because it’s binary, check the corresponding MIME-Type property. Regarding the used encoding, refer to Text File Encoding. You can also configure to the set MIME-Type and auto-detect the type in the Preferences.


The file contents are compared line-by-line, where the underlying algorithm finds the minimum number of changed lines between the left and the right content. The differences between left and right content is highlighted by colored regions within the text views, which are linked together in the center Link Component. The Link Component allows to take over changes from one side to the other, depending on which side is editable.


When the mouse is positioned over the Link Component, you can use the mouse wheel to jump from difference to difference.

Depending on the Preferences, not only complete lines, but also the content within lines is compared if they are not too different. These comparison results in inner-line changes. You can take over such changes from left to right or vice versa with Apply Left and Apply Right, respectively, from the popup menu (invoked on the change itself).

General Settings

The Tab Size specifies the width (number of characters) which is used to display a TAB character. With Show whitespaces whitespace characters will be displayed. With Show line numbers a line number gutter will be prepended.

Select Remember as default to have the selected options apply to all File Compare frames.

For basic settings regarding text components, refer to the Preferences.

Compare Settings

If Ignore whitespace for line comparison is selected, two lines are treated as equal, if they only differ in the number, but not in the position of whitespaces.

If Ignore case change for line comparison is selected, uppercase and lowercase characters are treated as equal.

The Inner-Line Comparison specifies the ‘tokenizing’ algorithm of the lines, for which the individual tokens within two lines will be compared against each other. Alphanumeric words results in tokens, which form alphanumeric words, i.e. words, which are consisting only of letters and digits and which are starting with a letter. All other characters are considered as tokens on their own. Character-based treats every character as a single token. This is the most fine-grained comparison option. C identifiers and Java identifiers are similar to Alphanumeric words, but in addition to letters and digits certain other characters are allowed to be part of a single token. Off completely disables the inner line comparison, i.e. every line is considered as single token.

With Trim equal start/end of Inner-Line changes selected and two tokens being different, the equal starting and ending characters within both tokens won’t be displayed. For instance, for the tokens foobar and foupar the difference will only display as up.

Select Remember as default to have the selected options apply to all File Compare frames.