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Folder Comparisons



Launching a comparison

Use the Document / Comparsion/Merge / New Folder Comparison (Ctrl+M) command to open an empty Folder Comparison view or  Document / Comparsion/Merge / New Comparison... (Ctrl+N) menu item to select the sources directories to use and/or the options to apply to the new document. The dialog box allows you to open side-by-side or 3 way comparisons. You can check the Merge option to start with the merge pane open.

Working with comparisons and merges

Each source folder is open and browsed in a usual tree view. The columns widths are synchronized so you do not have to resize them separately.

  • Differences

The differences are presented by using different background colours for the modified files. These are either added, removed or changed. You can define the colours in the Options dialog box. The status bar shows at any time the basic statistics together with the colours.

  • Navigating in the folder hierarchy

You can move in files and folders by using arrows and  scrollbars.

  • Buttons
Next Difference Previous Difference The Next and Previous difference buttons allow you to browse the differences
Next Conflict Previous Conflict The Next and Previous conflict buttons point you directly to the conflicts, already solved or not
Next Unresolved Conflict Previous Unresolved Conflict The Next and Previous Unresolved conflict buttons browse only unresolved conflicts


  • Generic copy

Merge has a Generic Copy feature which allows many simple operations in a  few clicks (from both merge and differentiation mode). This Copy feature allows you Copy, Mirror and Update (and many more when combining the options).

  • Merge mode

Merge follows a set of rules which are defined: first, for the whole document in the session options and second, for the items that you select and "resolve" by hand. Depending on the work that you want to realize different options will interest you.

In order to help you to get your folders in the wanted state, Merge combines several options:

  • output folders: only the folders that you specified as output folders get updated, you have no risk of data loss for your important directories
  • 'other' folder: you can specify an alternate folder as output whatever the job that you are accomplishing, so that you can make some 'experiments' with no risks for your valuable data
  • updates are " retained": you first specify what you want to do with an item and later validate the action, Merge will show in the "Result" and "Remaining actions" columns what will be done so that you won't get unexpected results
  • cases classification: Merge classifies the different situation with respect to differences, absence and presence of the items so that you can act on them in a discriminate way. For example, you can decide to keep the most recent files for the files that cannot be merged while let those that can be resolved by hand as "unresolved" and treat them using the built-in file merge view
  • full undo/redo: you can undo/redo resolve actions as long as their results were not written to disk
  • conflicting items are displayed in bold: your attention is attracted to the important files. The conflicts are colored as well, as long as they are not resolved, when they get the default text color



  • Conflicts

Conflicts are displayed only in merge mode. When comparing two folders, all the differences are as well conflicts. When comparing three folders, Ellié Computing Merge can deduce in many situations what changed from the ancestor folder configuration. When the software cannot decide what to do, it defines a conflict so that your attracted to the given portion of the tree view. The Resolving conflicts in Folders section explain features to solve conflicts.

Comparing archives (ZIP, tar...)

ECMerge contains a built-in converter called Xtract which can unzip ZIP files. You do not need anything special to compare such files (as well as any renamed ZIP files format, such as Open Document format or .xslx for example), except adding the extension to the list of files to unzip in the converters options. We recommend you to install 7 Zip, it works on all the platforms supported by ECMerge and will open many more formats than just ZIPs.

 Many useful options are available through the contextual  right-click menu. The top level Actions menu reflects at any time the commands of the contextual menu.

See also