diff(1) — Linux manual page


DIFF(1)                       User Commands                      DIFF(1)

NAME         top

       diff - compare files line by line

SYNOPSIS         top

       diff [OPTION]... FILES

DESCRIPTION         top

       Compare FILES line by line.

       Mandatory arguments to long options are mandatory for short
       options too.

              output a normal diff (the default)

       -q, --brief
              report only when files differ

       -s, --report-identical-files
              report when two files are the same

       -c, -C NUM, --context[=NUM]
              output NUM (default 3) lines of copied context

       -u, -U NUM, --unified[=NUM]
              output NUM (default 3) lines of unified context

       -e, --ed
              output an ed script

       -n, --rcs
              output an RCS format diff

       -y, --side-by-side
              output in two columns

       -W, --width=NUM
              output at most NUM (default 130) print columns

              output only the left column of common lines

              do not output common lines

       -p, --show-c-function
              show which C function each change is in

       -F, --show-function-line=RE
              show the most recent line matching RE

       --label LABEL
              use LABEL instead of file name and timestamp (can be

       -t, --expand-tabs
              expand tabs to spaces in output

       -T, --initial-tab
              make tabs line up by prepending a tab

              tab stops every NUM (default 8) print columns

              suppress space or tab before empty output lines

       -l, --paginate
              pass output through 'pr' to paginate it

       -r, --recursive
              recursively compare any subdirectories found

              don't follow symbolic links

       -N, --new-file
              treat absent files as empty

              treat absent first files as empty

              ignore case when comparing file names

              consider case when comparing file names

       -x, --exclude=PAT
              exclude files that match PAT

       -X, --exclude-from=FILE
              exclude files that match any pattern in FILE

       -S, --starting-file=FILE
              start with FILE when comparing directories

              compare FILE1 to all operands; FILE1 can be a directory

              compare all operands to FILE2; FILE2 can be a directory

       -i, --ignore-case
              ignore case differences in file contents

       -E, --ignore-tab-expansion
              ignore changes due to tab expansion

       -Z, --ignore-trailing-space
              ignore white space at line end

       -b, --ignore-space-change
              ignore changes in the amount of white space

       -w, --ignore-all-space
              ignore all white space

       -B, --ignore-blank-lines
              ignore changes where lines are all blank

       -I, --ignore-matching-lines=RE
              ignore changes where all lines match RE

       -a, --text
              treat all files as text

              strip trailing carriage return on input

       -D, --ifdef=NAME
              output merged file with '#ifdef NAME' diffs

              format GTYPE input groups with GFMT

              format all input lines with LFMT

              format LTYPE input lines with LFMT

              These format options provide fine-grained control over the

              of diff, generalizing -D/--ifdef.

       LTYPE is 'old', 'new', or 'unchanged'.
              GTYPE is LTYPE or 'changed'.

              GFMT (only) may contain:

       %<     lines from FILE1

       %>     lines from FILE2

       %=     lines common to FILE1 and FILE2

              printf-style spec for LETTER

              LETTERs are as follows for new group, lower case for old

       F      first line number

       L      last line number

       N      number of lines = L-F+1

       E      F-1

       M      L+1

              if A equals B then T else E

              LFMT (only) may contain:

       %L     contents of line

       %l     contents of line, excluding any trailing newline

              printf-style spec for input line number

              Both GFMT and LFMT may contain:

       %%     %

       %c'C'  the single character C

              the character with octal code OOO

       C      the character C (other characters represent themselves)

       -d, --minimal
              try hard to find a smaller set of changes

              keep NUM lines of the common prefix and suffix

              assume large files and many scattered small changes

              color output; WHEN is 'never', 'always', or 'auto'; plain
              --color means --color='auto'

              the colors to use when --color is active; PALETTE is a
              colon-separated list of terminfo capabilities

       --help display this help and exit

       -v, --version
              output version information and exit

       FILES are 'FILE1 FILE2' or 'DIR1 DIR2' or 'DIR FILE' or 'FILE
       DIR'.  If --from-file or --to-file is given, there are no
       restrictions on FILE(s).  If a FILE is '-', read standard input.
       Exit status is 0 if inputs are the same, 1 if different, 2 if

AUTHOR         top

       Written by Paul Eggert, Mike Haertel, David Hayes, Richard
       Stallman, and Len Tower.

REPORTING BUGS         top

       Report bugs to: bug-diffutils@gnu.org
       GNU diffutils home page:
       General help using GNU software: <https://www.gnu.org/gethelp/>

COPYRIGHT         top

       Copyright © 2023 Free Software Foundation, Inc.  License GPLv3+:
       GNU GPL version 3 or later <https://gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html>.
       This is free software: you are free to change and redistribute
       it.  There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law.

SEE ALSO         top

       wdiff(1), cmp(1), diff3(1), sdiff(1), patch(1)

       The full documentation for diff is maintained as a Texinfo
       manual.  If the info and diff programs are properly installed at
       your site, the command

              info diff

       should give you access to the complete manual.

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the diffutils (GNU diff utilities) project.
       Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨http://savannah.gnu.org/projects/diffutils/⟩.  If you have a bug
       report for this manual page, send it to bug-diffutils@gnu.org.
       This page was obtained from the project's upstream Git repository
       ⟨git://git.savannah.gnu.org/diffutils.git⟩ on 2023-12-22.  (At
       that time, the date of the most recent commit that was found in
       the repository was 2023-09-20.)  If you discover any rendering
       problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe there
       is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

diffutils 3.10.207-774b       December 2023                      DIFF(1)

Pages that refer to this page: cmp(1)diff3(1)gendiff(1)grep(1)patch(1)quilt(1)sdiff(1)suffixes(7)