Notepad++ Compare Plugin – Download, Install and (How to) Use

Notepad++ Compare Plugin

Compare is a plugin for Notepad++ text editor that helps to compare two text files side by side to see the difference. This is a very useful diff plugin to show a difference between 2 files side by side, diff against Git, SVN and last save.

Plugin Features,

  • Easy, fast, and free
  • Side-by-side visual differencing
  • The navigation bar shows a map of compared files
  • Easy navigation between differences
  • Comparison against SVN database

Download Compare Plugin for Notepad++

Download the Plugin source code from the official Compare plugin project from GitHub and use Visual Studio to create the respective ComparePlugin.dll file. This version has some stability issues, so another Author fixed it.

That version is present under GitHub compare plugin repository. It has the zip files for both Notepad++ 64 bit and 32-bit versions along with source code.

  • Source code(zip)
  • Source code(tar.gz)

Add Compare Plugin in Notepad++

There is no need to download compare plugin if you use the plugin manager/Admin to install it. If there is no plugin manager or you face any issues, then you need to download and install it manually. Read the below install section for further details.

There are two methods to install this Plugin.

1. Install compare plugin using Plugin Manager/Admin

Open Notepad++. Navigate to Plugins-> Plugin Admin … Search Compare Plugin in Available Tab, select and click install button. Plugin admin installs compare plugin and restarts Notepad++.

Search Compare Plugin in Plugin Adming and click install button

Next, go to the Plugins menu and you can see compare plugin there.

notepad compare plugin option

You can refer to How to Install Plugin in Notepad++ for step-by-step instructions with screenshots. You can also use plugin admin if the plugin manager is missing.

2. Manually adding Compare Plugin

In some cases, Plugin installation may fail while using the Plugin Manager or there may not have a plugin manager as it was removed, then use the manual method of installation. One of the advantages of the Manual Method is you get the up-to-date plugin, as the plugin manager/admin repository may have an older version.

Installation Steps,

  1. Close Notepad++.
  2. Download or
  3. Extract the file.
  4. Copy ComparePlugin folder and ComparePlugin.dll to Notepad++/Plugins installation folder
  5. Start Notepad++

Compare Plugin will be visible under the Plugins menu.

Navigate to Plugins ->Compare. It shows a popup with all the commands and options available. This list down all the Keyword shortcuts as well.

notepad compare plugin option

Using compare plugin

Comparing files is one of the most important and regular activities in any project. You compare one version with another version to understand the difference between those before moving the code files to a higher instance. Sometimes you compare the data files also.

VSS, Clear case, and other configuration tools provide this functionality. But, I like using Notepad++ to compare files because it is easy, fast, and free. Before seeing how to use it, let’s see some minimum settings available for it.

Plugin Settings/Options

The main settings cover which is the first file in difference, old file position and other options. Color Settings allows you to set color coding for Added Line, Deleted Line, Moved Line, Changed Line, and Change Highlight.

You can select the color you want by clicking the button.

compare plugin settings

Compare Text File

Start Notepad++. Open the files that you want to compare and navigate to Plugins->Compare menu and click Compare to compare the files. Within seconds, it shows differences/comparison side by side as shown below. The difference is clearly highlighted with a marker and different colors.

file comparison windows

You can use the up/down arrow to check the difference.

This plugin adds a small toolbar to notepad++ using which you can easily control different options for this plugin explained below.

compare plugin toolbar

1 – Set as First to Compare
2 – Compare – Click to Compare open files
3 – Clear Active Compare – Close the compare window
4 – First – First difference
5 – previous – Previous Difference
6 – Next – Next Different
7 – Last – Last Difference
8 – Navigation Bar – Show/Hide Navigation Bar


Compare plugin is one of the best add-ons you should have in Notepad++. It is fast, accurate, and quickly compares text files. So go ahead and install the plugin now.

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