When comparing Beyond Compare vs WinMerge, the Slant community recommends Beyond Compare for most people. In the question“What are the best diff tools for Git?” Beyond Compare is ranked 5th while WinMerge is ranked 6th. The most important reason people chose Beyond Compare is:
Beyond Compare can be used to compare both files and folders. File-Filters possible!
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Supports comparing folders
Beyond Compare can be used to compare both files and folders.
Pro Synchronize folders
Can be used to synchronize folders. Including wildcards.
Pro Supports 3 way merge
Good overview. Clear display of changed lines (background color) and changed characters (foreground color).
Pro Has rules for adding ignore-masks and replacement rules
So parts you don't want to see in your comparision can be hidden with ignore masks. Parts that are okay to be changed can be set with change-lists so beyond compare knows what's the replacement value and skips displaying this. So you can focus on the for you important changes. For example with the ignore mask I was able to compare two logs with different timestamps but nearly same content. (beginning with timestams the first x characters adding to ignore)
Pro Supports editing files directly
Pro Customer Service is awesome and easy to work with
Pro Can compare remote directories
Beyond Compare can compare directories through FTP, SFTP. Also it can compare directories hosted on Dropbox or Amazon S3.
Pro Works well with large files
Pro Can be used to compare image files
This is a useful feature for game developers using Git.
Pro One license covers all major OS's (Linux/Windows/Mac)
Pro Compare folders and files
Can show what files has been changed in a folder, allows comparing files in tabs.
Pro Lightweight, quick startup
Binary is less than 3 MB, so it starts quickly
Pro In line comparison
Can show differences within a line.
Can filter out files for folder comparison, lines for file comparisons, with regular expressions.
Options also allow to ignore whitespace differences, white lines, case change, line-ending changes, etc.
Pro Free & Open source
Winmerge is a free and open source tool.
Pro Good navigation
Keyboard shortcuts (and toolbar buttons) to navigate to next (previous) difference, side panel shows a map of the files with changed lines and allows to jump to a given place.
Pro Good detection of moved lines
Detects when a block of lines has been moved in the file and shows the relation.
Pro File edition
You can quickly copy changed lines (or files in folder comparison) in both directions with keyboard shortcuts. You can edit the files as well, with syntax highlighting of some languages.
Pro Good shell integration
Select two files and compare them. Alternatively, select one file, navigate elsewhere, select the other file to compare.
Also supports drag'n'drop of files / folders from Explorer.
History of past comparisons.
Con Paid proprietary software
Beyond Compare is not free, it offers different license options depending on the number of members in a team and depending on the software version.
Con Windows only
It's only available for Windows. No Mac or Linux versions available. It is possible to run in Linux via WINE, although a bit unstable.
Con Development is stopped
No update for years; last official release was made in 2013.
Two forks are still in active development as of 2017.
As of 2015 it was on par with the historical version, and has additional features such as showing only differences and a 64-bit version.
Winmerge-v2-jp: https://bitbucket.org/sdottaka/winmerge-v2 and https://github.com/sdottaka/winmerge-v2
Adds support for 3-way merge, diff-only view, and improvements to the diff algorithm among other additions. Has a 64-bit version.
An 'official' list of forks is maintained (despite the url) at http://www.geocities.co.jp/SiliconValley-SanJose/8165/unofficial_winmerge_nightly_builds.html
Con No 3-way merge
Cannot merge 3 files, can do only comparisons by pairs.
Makes it unsuitable for merging operations, still useful to compare two versions in the history.