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3-Way Difference Navigation

The Go to Next Difference and Go to Previous Difference [1] buttons and Go to Previous Difference Characters and Go to Next  Difference Characters [2] buttons on the toolbar and the graphical navigation map [3] shown to the left and right of the compare panes are the primary methods for navigating the differences detected by UltraCompare when files are compared.  



Clicking on the Go to Next Difference button [1] will position the cursor at the next difference in the active compare (the pair of files with the highlighted bar between them) and clicking on the Go to Previous Difference button [2] will position the cursor at the last difference previous to the current cursor position in the active compare.  Both give the user an easy method for stepping through differences sequentially without having to manually search them out.  These are available for navigation of all differences including Text Compares, Binary (smart) Compares, Binary (fast) Compares, and Directory Compares.


The graphical navigation map [3] is displayed to the left and right of the compare panes during a 3-Way Text Compare.  By default this is displayed in scrollable mode.  If you prefer, you may click on the Scalable Map / Scrollable Map toggle in the View menu to switch to a scalable rather than scrollable navigation map.  In this mode the differences are represented for the entirety of both compared files rather than shown as a scrollable map.


Double clicking on the graphical navigation map [3] will position the compared files accordingly.  This allows very quick point-to-point navigation within the files rather than sequentially stepping through differences and also presents a quick overview of the number of differences between compared files.  The red rectangle displayed within this space represents the visible portion of the files being compared.


If a closer inspection of the contents of one of the compared files is desired, users may click on the Maximize First Pane, Maximize Second Pane, or Maximize Third Pane [6] buttons to automatically maximize the display space for the related pane.  Clicking the icon again will restore the related pane to its default size.  Where a targeted review of character differences in the active line is desired, users may click the Show Active Line Window [7] button to toggle the display of an additional window highlighting the differences between the lines which have focus in the active compare.


Difference Highlighting

It is important to note that in a 3-way text compare the colors used to highlight the background of the compared frames provide useful information regarding all three files at once, while the information displayed in the status bar [5] and the additional frames applies only to the active pair (indicated by the highlighted vertical bar between frames and the text "Pair [1 - 2]" in the status bar).


Background Color



data in these sections match in active frames


data in these sections are different - see symbols below for indicator

Blue Fading to White

data in these sections are different from one compared frame but match the other - this background highlighting would only be seen in Frame 2

Vertical Blue Bars

indicates empty lines (no data, no hard returns) - usually caused by padded lines added to one frame to accommodate data occurring in one file that does not exist in another


Compare Symbol



data exists in right frame but not left


data exists in left frame but not right


only empty lines exist here


data exists in both frames but is different 



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