Comparing Files and Folders
IntelliJ IDEA lets you review the differences between files, folders, and database objects, as well as between local files and their repository versions.
You can compare:
- any two files
- the file in the editor with the Clipboard contents
- any project file with the file in the active editor tab
- the file in the editor with a file outside the current project
- a local file with its repository version
IntelliJ IDEA displays the differences in the Differences Viewer for Files:
You can apply changes using the chevron buttons .
To append changes, press Ctrl (for Windows and Linux) or ⌘ (for macOS): the buttons will turn to .
Compare two files
- Select the files you want to compare in the Project tool window.
- On the context menu, choose , or press Ctrl+D.
Compare active editor with Clipboard
- Right-click anywhere in the editor and choose Compare with Clipboard from the context menu.
Compare active editor with a project file
- Right-click the file you want to compare with the currently opened file in the Project tool window.
- Choose Compare File with Editor from the context menu.
Compare active editor with any file
If you often need to compare files that are outside your project with the active editor, or don't want to have the Project tool window open, you can use the Compare File with Editor option that lets you choose any file and compare it with the active editor.
To add this action to the editor tab's context menu:
- Press Ctrl+Alt+S or choose (for Windows and Linux) or (for macOS) from the main menu, and then go to .
- In the right pane, expand the Editor Tab Popup Menu node, click Add After, and choose the Compare File with Editor action under Version Control Systems | Diff & Merge.
Compare a local file with its repository version
- Select a modified file anywhere in the Version Control tool window.
- Click the icon on the toolbar or press Ctrl+D.
IntelliJ IDEA allows you to compare files in two folders against their file size, content, or timestamp. The differences are displayed in the Differences Viewer for Folders:
The top pane lists all files in the selected folders, while the bottom pane shows the differences between two versions of the selected file (see Comparing files).
- Select the folders you want to compare in the Project tool window.
- On the context menu, choose Compare Directories, or press Ctrl+D.
- Use the following toolbar buttons to filter the list:
- : click to display files that are present in the left folder, but are missing form the right one.
- : click to display files that are present in the right folder, but are missing from the left one.
- : click to display files that are present in both folders, but whose contents, timestamp or size are different.
- : click to display files that are present in both folders and that are identical with regard to the option selected in the Compare by dropdown.
IntelliJ IDEA lets you sync the contents of two folders, or apply changes from one folder to another.
- For each file, click the icon in the * column until you've set an action to be taken on that file.
- : copy the selected item from the left to the right folder. If such file already exists in the right folder, it will be overwritten.
- : copy the selected item from the right to the left folder. If such file already exists in the left folder, it will be overwritten.
- : no action will be performed (the two files are identical).
- : no action will be performed (the two files are different).
- : remove the selected item.
- Do one of the following:
- To apply the selected action to the current item, click the Synchronize Selected button on the toolbar.
- To apply the selected actions to all items, click the Synchronize All button on the toolbar.
Compare different files in two folders
Sometimes a file may be present in one folder, and another file with a similar name in the other folder (for example,
VCS_library_1.5). These may be versions of the same file that you want to compare. Also, there may be a situation when you think a file was renamed, but is otherwise identical to a file in another folder. IntelliJ IDEA lets you compare two files, one of which is present in the right folder, and another one in the left even though such files are treated as different entities:
- Select the files you want to compare in the left and the right pane.
- Click the Compare New Files with Each Other icon on the toolbar. The differences between the selected files will be displayed in the bottom pane.