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Visualizing Git diffs in Meld.

by Valeriu Paloş on March 7, 2013

Here’s a quick way of configuring your (Linux-based) Git installation to use the excellent Meld program by default for displaying/editing the outputs of the git diff and git merge commands (e.g. git diff «filename»).

Install Meld

…if you haven’t already (note that we assume Git to be present):

# on Debian-based distros (ymmv)
sudo apt-get install meld

Viewing/editing file diffs via Meld

Configure Git to use Meld as the default tool for git diff:

git config --global diff.tool meld
git config --global difftool.prompt false

Now, rather than the classic git diff, simply use:

git difftool

Resolving merge conflicts via Meld

Basically do the same for the git mergetool command:

git config --global merge.tool meld
git config --global mergetool.prompt false

And then, instead of git merge, simply use:

git mergetool

…in the conflicting areas of your Git project.

Full directory comparison

Git supports full directory comparison via the following command:

git diff --no-index «folder-inside-git-project» «folder-to-compare-against»

While both useful and powerful, this command can be quite difficult to use, especially is you have a large tree structure. However, it just so happens that this is another aspect where Meld shines. Just run:

meld «folder A» «folder B»

And you will be able to visualize and edit the entire set off differences of both folder structures (including files).



  • The *tool.prompt false bits are needed to prevent the prompting of the user on each command invocation (which is the default behaviour).
  • The full directory comparison mode supported by Meld is obviously available for any folders, not just those inside Git projects.
  • I’m using Ubuntu 12.10, your setup may require different configuration options (although if you have a decently recent Git you should be fine).

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