What I want:

  • recursively compare all files which are in both directories
  • option to ignore multiple specific directories (e.g. node_modules and .git)
  • highlighting of differences on word/character level (e.g. abc changes to axc, so x will be highlighted)
  • runs on Linux
  • free (as in legally obtainable and usable for unlimited time for any purpose without any cost)

Preferably under an open source license.

I am using diff and while it matches most of the requirements, it can't show differences in line, just lines that changed (no quick way to tell, what changed on that line). I also tried kdiff3 which (at least looking at --help) can't compare directories. It doesn't matter to me if it's CLI or GUI.

1 Answer 1


You can use diff as you did, and then pipe the output into diff-so-fancy , which is free.

I have two files , f1.txt and f2.txt . they are 3 lines long, and they differ only in one character in line 2.

The diff-so-fancy output looks like this:


I had to add the screenshot to display the colors as I see them. Perhpas they look different on your computer.

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