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View colored, incremental diff in workspace or from stdin with side by side and auto pager support
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Term based tool to view colored, incremental diff in git/svn/hg workspace, given patch or two files, or from stdin, with side by side and auto pager support. Requires python (>= 2.5.0) and less.

default side by side


Install with pip

Cdiff is already listed on PyPI, you can install with pip if you have the tool.

sudo pip install cdiff

Install with

You can also run the from the source if you don't have pip.

git clone
cd cdiff
sudo ./ install

Download directly

Both pip and installs cdiff to system wide directory, if you want a minimal tool without the boring external dependencies (like me), just save to whatever directory which is in your $PATH, for example, $HOME/bin is in my $PATH, so I save the script there and name as cdiff.

curl -ksS > ~/bin/cdiff
chmod +x ~/bin/cdiff


Cdiff reads diff from diff (patch) file if given, or stdin if redirected, or diff produced by revision tool if in a git/svn/hg workspace. Use option -s to enable side by side view, and option -w N to set a text width other than default 80. See examples below.

Show usage:

cdiff -h

Read diff from local modification in a svn, git, or hg workspace:

cd proj-workspace
cdiff                   # view colored incremental udiff
cdiff -s                # view side by side
cdiff -s -w 90          # use text width 90 other than default 80

Pipe in a diff:

git log -p -2 | cdiff -s
git show 15bfa5 | cdiff -s
svn diff -r PREV | cdiff -s

View a diff (patch) file:

cdiff foo.patch
cdiff foo.patch -s
cdiff foo.patch -s -w 90

View diff between two files (wrapper of diff):

cdiff foo       # equivalent to diff -u foo | cdiff
cdiff foo -s

Redirect output to another patch file is safe:

svn diff | cdiff -s > my.patch


  • Works with python >= 2.5.0 (subprocess.Popen seems not working with PIPE in 2.4.3, maybe you can fix it)
  • Only takes unified diff for input
  • Side by side mode has alignment problem for wide chars

Pull request is very welcome, make sure run make test to verify. It only has minimal verification today and that depends on human eyes too (issue #7). Single commit in pull request would make it easier for review, for example to collapse last 3 commits into 1 before push, use git rebase -i HEAD~3, pick the first and squash the other two.

See also

I have another tool coderev which generates side-by-side diff pages for code review from two given files or directories, I found it's not easy to extend to support git so invented cdiff. Idea of ansi color markup is also from project colordiff.

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