Man Linux: Main Page and Category List


       colordiff - a tool to colorize diff output


       colordiff [diff options] [colordiff options] {file1} {file2}


       colordiff is a wrapper for diff and produces the same output as diff
       but with coloured syntax highlighting at the command line to improve
       readability. The output is similar to how a diff-generated patch might
       appear in Vim or Emacs with the appropriate syntax highlighting options
       enabled. The colour schemes can be read from a central configuration
       file or from a local user ~/.colordiffrc file.

       colordiff makes use of ANSI colours and as such will only work when
       ANSI colours can be used - typical examples are xterms and Eterms, as
       well as console sessions.

       colordiff has been tested on various flavours of Linux and under
       OpenBSD, but should be broadly portable to other systems.


       Use colordiff wherever you would normally use diff, or pipe output to

       For example:

           $ colordiff file1 file2
           $ diff -u file1 file2 | colordiff

       You can pipe the output to ´less´, using the ´-R´ option (some systems
       or terminal types may get better results using ´-r´ instead), which
       keeps the colour escape sequences, otherwise displayed incorrectly or
       discarded by ´less´:

           $ diff -u file1 file2 | colordiff | less -R

       If you have wdiff installed, colordiff will correctly colourise the
       added and removed text, provided that the ´-n´ option is given to

           $ wdiff -n file1 file2 | colordiff

       You may find it useful to make diff automatically call colordiff. Add
       the following line to ~/.bashrc (or equivalent):

           alias diff=colordiff

       Any options passed to colordiff are passed through to diff except for
       the colordiff-specific option ´difftype´, e.g.

           colordiff --difftype=debdiff file1 file2

       Valid values for ´difftype´ are: diff, diffc, diffu, diffy, wdiff,
       debdiff; these correspond to plain diffs, context diffs, unified diffs,
       side-by-side diffs, wdiff output and debdiff output respectively. Use
       these overrides when colordiff is not able to determine the diff-type

       Alternatively, a construct such as ´cvs diff SOMETHING | colordiff´ can
       be included in ~/.bashrc as follows:

           function cvsdiff () { cvs diff $@ | colordiff; }

       Or, combining the idea above using ´less´:

           function cvsdiff () { cvs diff $@ | colordiff |less -R; }

       Note that the function name, cvsdiff, can be customized.


           Central configuration file. User-specific settings can be enabled
           by copying this file to ~/.colordiffrc and making the appropriate

           Alternate configuration template for use with terminals having
           light backgrounds. Copy this to /etc/colordiffrc or ~/.colordiffrc
           and customize.


       Bug reports and suggestions/patches to <> please.


       colordiff is written and maintained by Dave Ewart
       <>. This manual page and the source XML was written
       by Graham Wilson <> for Debian and is maintained by the
       author. Dave Ewart maintains the Debian package.