I deleted an unused function from my code some time ago, and now I would like to add it back in again.

The check-in history does not help me. is there any tool, with a GUI, which I can use to search through all previous versions of a given file (a single file in this case, but multiple is welcome) for a given text?

It would be nice to show the file contents, maybe with some search/edit capabilities, but just the revision number is enough.

Gratis. Must be free for commercial use. Either Windows or Linux is OK.

  • How graphical is graphical? What must be there to help you except entering the search term? Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 18:55
  • 1
    Until someone answers: something like svn log -v --xml --diff <file> should result in a file that can be searched for the wanted difference. Commented Jun 9, 2016 at 18:59

2 Answers 2


Have you ever tried TortoiseSVN? It allows you to use "Blame" on a file to see previous versions of the file and highlight changes. It's free, but it is only for Windows.

UPDATE: For a full blown text search, I found something called SVNQuery. I have never used it, but I found a this question on Stack Overflow that looks like it might be similar to yours.

  • Well, tortoisesvn.net/blame.html says "TortoiseBlame - who changed which line, when and why?", so it won't let me search for a given text :-( BUT, +1 for a very helpful
    – Mawg
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 11:45
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    Thank you. I added an update to my answer. Hopefully it will be more help more with your problem :-)
    – Chillie
    Commented Jun 10, 2016 at 12:49

Since you are looking for some text in the files past that information will only be available in to the server rather than locally - so access will be slow.

You could however use git as an svn client to download a git repository of your project, this will take some time but believe me it will save it as well and then from the command line you can use git grep to find any text in the history either for the whole repository or a single file.

There is also a built in GUI gitk or a large number of 3rd party GUI tools that include the capability to search the entire history of a single file or the whole repository. The GUI also lets you view the file with changes as unified diffs.

Git and gitk are available, free, for just about every platform.

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