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Compare fixed format files (select compare columns)

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  • Compare fixed format files (select compare columns)

    In using Beyond Compare to test development related to integration files which are fixed format ASCII we noted that it would be very helpful to be able to show the entire data line but to be able to specify beginning and ending column numbers (or highlight a portion of the line to define them) and then only to consider differences within that column as differences on the compare. This would allow you to quickly identify differences in the particular field(s) that were contained within those columns.

    Just wondering if this would be useful to others or if there is some reasonable way to accomplish this within Beyond Compare now and we just haven't found it yet.

  • #2

    Go to the Tools menu -> File Formats -> Create a new specific file format.
    Go to the Grammar tab and define a new grammar element.
    Give it an Element name ("Middle Section"), Category of Columns, and define your column range.

    Then open your files that are associated with the File Format (or pick the Format manually from the dropdown). Then go to the Session Menu -> Session Settings, and uncheck everything (Everything Else, etc) except for "Middle Section". Then only your "Middle Section" will be important (red). All other differences will be unimportant (blue).

    You can hide blue/unimportant differences by toggling on Ignore Unimportant Differences. This will toggle blue text to black, and treat it as equal.

    Let us know if you have any questions.
    Aaron P Scooter Software