Longer example, opening .csv files

One exciting things about BC Table Compare is the versatility of what you can feed to it.

Beyond Compare Table Compare can look at a pair of tabular data files. It accepts .xlsx Excel, and .csv, but also things like PDFs and Word Docs if they have tabular data. It can accept any delimiter, too, not just tabs and commas.

Our data sets for this demo are incomes and popular purchase items in the United States of America.

In the following demonstration we will:

  • open two plaintext files in Table Compare.

  • show how to use spaces and slashes as a data delimiter.

  • manually move columns that are in the wrong place

  • set a key column


There are three ways to open files. Let's use the context menu. Browse your file system, then rightclick and choose Compare. The two files should open up a Beyond Compare session.

If you don't see a context menu, turn it on in the menu: Tools->Options->ExplorerIntegration->CompareUsing (so it gives you Table Compare as an option)

Customize the Delimiter

The bad news is, if we open files as .csv, BC will try to separate their data by commas. The good news is, if you tell BC to recognize the filename somehow, you can set it

In the we started with, notice that one file was formatted with slash marks but the other file was formatted with space separators. We can quickly set up rules in BC so that these files based on space-separation and slash separation.

First we invent our new "File Formats" in Tools->FileFormats->[+]->TableCompare.

Then, any time we need them, we can use the pulldown menu below the RefereeButton.

A quick explanation of the top of the window. A key appears to mark the row that BC thinks is a key column. This column will be considered important for aligning our two files. We will reset it in a minute so it is on the state-name columns. In the green box we see an indicator that the line-endings are from a PC (as opposed to Mac, Linux, or Mix). Next to that, the display reminds us what type of delimiter is enabled: slash or space.

Open the session settings by either the Referee-Button or from Session->SessionSettings->Columns. First make the states line up by clicking their square and using the little arrow buttons. Then turn key off in Column 1 and on in Column 2. I will let you do that with various right-clicking and left-clicking on your mouse.

This looks good now. Again, I got this view by pressing

Rightclicking the column tops is possible too.

With a little more playing around you can get to a view where your key columns are aligned: Session->SessionSettings->Alignment

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