Quickstart: open two files
In Beyond Compare, start a new session from the pulldown menu:
Session->NewSession->TextCompare. A pair of blank panels will appear. Now you need to get some directories open.
(1) Either click Beyond Compare's manilla-folder -buttons to browse for your files or
(2) you can drag in files with a mouse, or
(3) as shown below, use the context menu in your own filesystem. Open a window of your filesystem, rightclick, in the grey context menu, select Compare. You should see some files and folders open up:
Things to notice about your two text files once they open up: pink areas have major differences, blue areas are unimportant differences, such as blanks, spaces, or capitalization. If the files are computer code, things like code comments will show up as blue differences, while misspelled or refactored variable names will show up as red differences.
Also, look at the mailslot at the bottom of the screen. That is where you can zoom in to the character details of a single line. Try rightclicking it and playing around!
BC lacks word wrap, for technical reasons. The interface is giving you visual control over some powerful things and so far, Scooter has favored that power over the (seemingly simple) feature of wordwrap. Bottom line: it is not as simple to implement as it seems.
In the meantime, when lines are over 100 chars long, I
1) go to over under layout:
view->display over under.
2) If that is not enough, I zoom out with the shortcut key: Ctl + Shift + Scrollwheel (exact key varies per Mac/Win/Linux).
3) Finally, I inspect really long lines in the bottom mailslot window.