Bonus chatter: Using the Visual Studio diff window to compare any files

A neat little trick I discovered recently, and promptly forgot to share is that you can make use of Visual Studio’s diff window for any pair of files, without the need for a project or solution. All you need is a little command line trickery.

Hey reader!
After many years, I’ve finally decided to start moving off WordPress and onto a blog I host myself. This post is now available at ““. Eventually this version will be retired so please update links on any sites you control, to avoid 404s in the future.

For VS2012 you can type:

"%VS110COMNTOOLS%/../IDE/devenv.exe" /diff {fileOne} {fileTwo} {displayNameOne} {displayNameTwo}

(If you’re running VS2013, you can use the environment variable VS120COMNTOOLS instead)

Just replace {fileOne} and {fileTwo} with the absolute paths to the files you want to compare. You can optionally provide {displayNameOne} and {displayNameOne} as “friendly names” for the two diff panes.

And up pops a window like:


Could be useful for scripts and tools that need to display differences between files…

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