As its name suggests, this tool is aimed to compare files and folders. It can handle different types of contents, including source code, text, pictures and data. Likewise, it supports a wide range of file formats. Moreover, Beyond Compare can synchronize various locations, even the remote ones.
The application has a nice and intuitive interface, which adapts itself to the type of work session you start from the initial screen. In this regard, there are various kinds of sessions, including Folder Compare, Folder Merge, Folder Sync, Text Compare, Text Merge and Picture Compare. Unfortunately, inexperienced users may find using the tool a challenge, although the excellent accompanying help documents certainly contribute to make the learning curve less steep.
A Folder Compare session shows two folders side by side. Fortunately, the application supports not only local folders but also FTP locations and archives. Besides, the utility allows comparing any of these locations with a snapshot, which is a compressed list of a given folder and all of its subfolders, including each file's timestamp, size, and file attributes. This permits having a time-frozen image of how a folder looked at an earlier time. In a Folder Merge session, the program shows two or three folder structures simultaneously. The program can then make a combined version of the two original folders. Another variant is the Folder Sync session, which synchronizes the contents of two folders.
In relation to text, the application allows comparing two text files by displaying them side by side or one under the other. A series of functions allow you to find and fix differences. Moreover, in another type of session, you can combine text from two or three panes into another. For this purpose, there is a very convenient layout.
Luckily, multiple types of image formats can also be compared. The application shows the pictures in different panes for visual comparison. The tool can find the differences for you depending on the set level of tolerance, for example, it may ignore slight changes in color. What's more, in Blend Mode, you can combine two images into a third.
All in all, Beyond Compare is among the finest applications of its kind. It can compare various types of contents using filters. There’s certainly a way to schedule some tasks using a scripting language; moreover, the code you create can also be run from the command line.