If you’d like to follow along, you can download our example zip file. It contains all the example files used throughout the manual.

You can open DiffPlug by double-clicking its icon on the desktop:


The program window will look like this.

program window

The tab you are looking at is called the DiffManager. If you ever lose it, you can get it back by clicking the diffmanager button button on the toolbar or by using the [Ctrl D] keyboard shortcut.

Inside the DiffManager is the DiffList. The DiffList is a scratchpad that helps you keep track of the files you’re working with. The general workflow is that you will drag files you want to view or compare onto the DiffList.

There are multiple ways to get files onto the DiffList:

  1. You can drag them from your desktop.
  2. If your file is already open in DiffPlug, you can drag the file’s title bar to the DiffList.
  3. Even if the DiffManager is not visible, you can still drag files onto the diffmanager button button on the toolbar to add them to the DiffList.


Once a file is on the DiffList, you can open it by double-clicking.

double click

To open a diff, single-click the first file, then hold [Ctrl] while double-clicking the second file.


When you compare two folders, you will see that files are marked with different colors:

  • Green means the files are the same.
  • Red means the files are different.
  • Blue means the files exist on only one side (they were added).
    • Grey indicates that these files are beyond the edge of the diff. Usually they are the children of Blue folders.
  • Orange represents files which are the same at this level, but contain children with Blue or Red elements.

Recents and Favorites

DiffPlug keeps track of the last 100 files you’ve opened in the Recents list.

recents list

The DiffManager also provides a second DiffList called Favorites where you can store your favorite files. It works just like the DiffList, but it’s a little more permanent.

favorites list

Using the right-click menu / drag and drop

Right-click a file or a pair of files in the DiffList to see all of the available actions.

One file file context menu Two files file diff context menu

Another way to open a diff is to drag a file and then drop it on top of the file with which you would like to diff.

Going further

If you’re interested in using DiffPlug for a certain kind of file, check out one of the viewer / differ sections:

If you’re interested in the more advanced features of the DiffPlug interface, you should check out some of the platform features sections, such as:

If you want to use DiffPlug with filesystems beyond just your local disk, check out one of the filesystem sections, such as: