"Compare Two Docs"

Okay, I totally LOVE Scrivener.

I’ve done the tutorial and have dug around in the forums, plus posted a couple of questions.

Scrivener is so totally amazing. Right now for my current chapter I have an audiofile playing for mood, a character image for inspiration, and am finally making some progress. Yes, these are (perhaps) silly kinds of bells and whistles but for me they totally work.

I do have a question, though.

In MovieMagic Screenwriter one fabulous option is “Compare Two Scripts.” This isn’t available as part of MS Word to my knowedge, to my dismay, but it’s an amazing tool. You can open two versions of the same script and it will combine them and come up with a third version in which you can see all the differences–through strike-throughs and coloured text.

I haven’t found that Scrivener offers this option, but if it did, it would be TOTALLY perfect for me!

This is not currently in Scrivener at the moment, and from previous requests for similar “version control” type things, Keith has said it is unlikely to be included in Scrivener any time soon (if at all).

Writing Version Control code like that (effectively finding the differences between two files, but allowing for insertions, deletions, edits, etc.) is actually a very complex and difficult thing to do and get right, and Keith being one person, it would probably be too much work for him.

One option you might like to investigate if you are willing to get your hands a little dirty is subversion. I have only used it on Windows (and for programming, not writing) but it has a Mac version, and should allow you to do these sorts of comparisons and mergers. Some others on this forum have used subversion for their writing before and might be able to fill in the details of how to do it and whether it is useful.

Otherwise, there may be third party programs available for this sort of thing.


Word will compare two files and create a third file that indicates in color all inserts, deletes, and moves. Check the Help files in Word for a full explanation.

For those of us who do not have Word and are looking for a free solution, there is a program called kdiff3 which can take two text files and show all the differences between them in the way you have described. I have used it in the past to compare versions of stories to see, among other things, what was taken out at the request of censors in 19C Russia. The interface is a little awkward as you would expect from a unix port but it does what is does well.


Hope this helps,

Shouldn’t filemerge (included in the OS X Developer tools) be able to handle this? As long as the Scrivener exports/returned edits are plain text files, it should do exactly what you’re talking about - you described a standard Diff tool workflow to the letter…