Compare and merge Excel files using xlCompare

How to find and highlight differences in two Excel files

What is xlCompare?

xlCompare is an efficient spreadsheet comparison tool that compares Excel files (or sheets) for differences. It shows difference between Excel files, filters unique and modified rows, merges changes in Excel files and solves a lot of other tasks, based on spreadsheet comparison.

xlCompare 11.0
Published on: March 27, 2023


xlCompare gives you following benefits over other spreadsheet comparison methods


Simplicity reveals the beauty of xlCompare. Advantage of xlCompare is not only to effectively compare or merge Excel sheets or files, but to do this process as simple and convenient as possible.
Compare Excel files using xlCompare

Minimized risk of error

If you are doing your work manually - risk of mistake is much higher than if you are using professional tool.
Minimized risk of error

Increase in Productivity

xlCompare increases your productivity. You need to do only a few simple clicks to get the results. If you decide to use VLOOKUP, Conditional Formatting or VBA macros - there will be much more actions you need to do.
Filter rows that are present on two Excel worksheets

Incredible performance

Incredible performance on the large workbooks. xlCompare processes 1 million of rows in a few seconds.
Compare large Excel files

Perfect color-coded report

xlCompare gives you color coded diff report where you easily identify the differences. You can Print highlighted report in the PDF format. Export comparison report with all formatting into PDF file.
Difference report for Excel files

Compare two columns for matches

Compare two columns for differences and matches in Excel files. Hide columns you don't need in your report. Ignore fields in your table that should not be compared.
Filter data by specific segments and analyze only the records you need. Be focused on the differences in data and not on the comparison process.
Compare two columns in Excel
In the article below you will find the detailed information on how xlCompare can help you to compare two columns for diffs and matches.

3-way compare and merge

3-way worksheet comparison. You can use xlCompare as external diff tool in version control systems.
If you have Excel files (XLS\XLSX\XLSM) in your Git environment (or other version control system) - you can use xlCompare as external diff and merge tool for this type of files.
3-way Excel file comparison
Visit this article to get the complete guide on how to compare multiple Excel files by using xlCompare and alternate methods, you can use in Excel application.

Explore Formula Logic (FREE)

Analyze internal formula logic, find and fix errors in your Excel models.
xlCompare is a FREE formula evaluator and debugger for Excel files.
Find our how output cells in your model depend on the input cell.
xlCompare is a perfect alternative to Trace Dependents command in Excel.
Evaluate Formula Structure in Excel

And more

Watch this video to see xlCompare in the action:

xlCompare vs. Other Tools

Jump to this page to see what differs xlCompare from other Excel file comparison tools:

How xlCompare works

How to use xlCompare tool to find differences between two Excel sheets?
What you can do with comparison results?
Answers to these and other questions you will find in the article below. We've compared two price lists to show following options:
  • Compare Excel sheet by key columns
  • Filtering data by segments
  • Understanding comparison report
  • Filter unique and matching rows
  • Highlight results with color
  • Save outlined report on disk

xlCompare makes complex work simple!

xlCompare is a time-proven xl comparator solution, used on the thousands of computers around the world. We proud every our customer!
+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode
+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

Companies that trust our software

Volkswagen Logo
Siemens Logo
Zurich Insurance Logo
Xerox Logo
Oracle Logo
Electronic Arts Logo
Armed with xlCompare (Excel Spreadsheet Compare Tool) you move your productivity to the highest level.
This tool makes excel file comparison easy and quick.
If you value your time, you will make the choice!

10000+ satisfied customers

What our customers say about xlCompare?

Fundamental tool
As a professional Excel/VBA developer, XLCompare has become a fundamental tool in my development process. It works on even the most code-heavy and complex of workbooks, and is something I just couldn't do without.
Peter Hamilton, XY Spreadsheet Solutions
Very nice software
Very nice your software, the 3 ways blowed my mind out, I did a 2h job in 10 minutes (I looked 5 sec at my screen without moving because I was so surprised).
Olivier Regout
The only tool I've found
XLCompare has been able to handle our files very well. XLCompare was the only tool I have found able to handle these files at all. And with your company's very fast responses and fixes to the problems that I have identified along the way, we have been very happy with XLCompare and it capabilities.
Robert B.
The best excel comparison software!
I need to compare database reports from my co-workers every day and this tool saves a lot of my time. It compares 2 large workbooks in several seconds. Comparison report is perfect. Data can be easily merged and saved directly in the report. Very useful tool.
Ralph Langley
+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode
+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

Please, give us your feedback about xlCompare!

Please, describe your question or inquery using the form below. We will be happy to respond you!
Use this form to ask any question about xlCompare, schedule a demo, etc.

xlCompare Product News

xlCompare 11.0 was published!
This is more than a regular update. xlCompare get new features and was significantly redesigned.
10/26/22 - 10/28/22
xlCompare was presented on the Japan IT Week in Tokyo by our partner HULINKS Inc..
xlCompare on Japan IT Week
Trace Precedents in Excel worksheets using xlCompare. Alternative way to get list of precedents in your Excel model.
How to evaluate formula values in Excel files using xlCompare. Additional feature you can use for free to debug your models. Perfect replacement for standard Evaluate Formula tool in Excel.
Spreadsheet Tools established partnership with HULINKS Inc. to distribute xlCompare (Excel Diffツール) on the Japanese market.
「Spreadsheet Tools社と素晴らしいパートナー契約ができたことをうれしく思います。xlCompareは当社のドキュメントソリューションに貢献してくれるでしょう」 株式会社ヒューリンクス 常務執行役員 若林 登
[プレスリリース] ウクライナ Spreadsheet Tools 社との販売バートナーシップ契約締結について
Major update 10.7 was released!
We suggest you to upgrade your xlCompare to the most recent version. This update is free for all registered customers.
Let's talk about Excel Diff Tools.

The most efficient way to compare mismatch data between two Excel files

If you are looking for effective way to compare Excel files, we would like to suggest you our product xlCompare

Compare Excel Files (worksheets)

Merge Excel files (worksheets)

  • merge two Excel files into one
  • merge two Excel sheets
  • combine all sheets into one
  • merge folders

15+ years on the market!

Available in the Microsoft Store©

Excel Compare in the Microsoft Store
Compare Excel files using xlCompare
xl comparator tool in the action
xlCompare is a leader on the market of Excel file comparison tools

There are dozens of useful features and advantages xlCompare offers

With xlCompare you will quickly do all spreadsheet comparison and merging tasks you experience on the daily basis!
3-way comparison for excel files

Find Changed Cells

xlCompare looks into your worksheets for changed cells and gives you a colored report, with highlighted changed cells and inserted\deleted rows.

Find Unique Rows

Keep your table up to date by detecting unique and duplicated data on the worksheet. xl comparator finds all records inserted into your Excel Table.

Find Changed Formulas

Check all formulas on the worksheets for modifications. xlCompare points you to the changed part of the formula. Don't locate differences in text manually!

Color Coded Report

All changed cells and unique columns rows are marked with color on the worksheet. You will easily identify them among other worksheet cells. If this is not enough - use Ignore Formatting option to disable all original cell formatting.

Remove Duplicates

Get read of duplicated records in one click. Highlight duplicates with different background colors to put accent into these rows. Move and Copy set of duplicate rows by filtering them on the worksheet. Filter Duplicate Rows and Keys.

Different Algorithms

Depending on the spreadsheet you compare - Price List, Accounting Statement, Financial Model - xlCompare offers the most suitable comparison algorithm. This gives more accurate comparison results.

Merge Changes

Easy-to-use Merge Commands move cells from one worksheet into another in the native and visual form. Update cells one by one or by using bulk merge commands. Fill database table with updated records in seconds.

Difference List

Browse all differences in one structured list. Analyze changes and merge cells, rows and columns between compared excel files directly from this list. Difference Explorer gives you clear answer - what actually was modified in the workbook.

Rich Set of Options

Ignore Hidden Rows and Hidden Columns. Select data to be compared. Display Cell Difference. Highlight cells with color when merging. Command line options. xlCompare has many options you can use to achieve the best comparison results.

How you can use xlCompare to compare two Excel files?

We've compared two price lists in the XLSX format to introduce you primary xlCompare features and options.
Spend a few seconds to see how xlCompare works

Why do you need xlCompare?

xlCompare saves your working time, spent on comparing Excel files. Time is valuable resource in the modern business processes.
excel file comparison tool diff report

Compare Excel files quickly and efficiently

xlCompare compares large Excel files within seconds with a maximum accuracy. Get extremely clear and easy to understand comparison report.

Merge multiple excel sheets into one

Consolidate contents of multiple excel files(sheets) into one, excluding existing rows. Optionally highlight inserted rows with color.

Compare Excel files (sheets) by key columns

Get the best comparison results with primary key columns and rows (table heading) defined on the worksheet

Compare three XLSX\XLSM\CSV files

Use xlCompare as a xlsx diff checker, that offers 3-way comparison and merge option for excel files. Compare 3 Excel files for differences.

Find matching rows between two Excel worksheets

Compare your Excel files for differences with xlCompare and apply filter matching rows command. xlCompare displays rows that are present in both Excel files, excluding added and removed ones. Save them into other workbook by using Save | Visible Rows in the Right Click Menu.

Compare two Excel files from command line

All commands that are present in the xl comparator are available from the command line. You can compare and merge Excel files in a batch mode.

Compare Visual Basic Projects

Compare VBA Projects in Excel files. Process code modules and forms including controls. Merge all changes in the forms controls and VBA modules, that were found in two Excel files.
+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode
+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

Find matching rows in two Excel files

Imagine that you have two Excel files with different structure. For example, every Excel files is a list of users extracted from two database tables.
Another name of this operation is Intersection. Your task is to find intersection of two sets of records.
On the internet forums, relative to various Excel tips and tricks, this operation is often called Find duplicates between two Excel worksheets.

How to find records (users) that are present in both lists?

Do the following:
  1. Start your xlCompare
  2. Drop two Excel files into the application
  3. Complete Comparison Wizard and get the report on your screen
  4. Apply Matching Rows command from the Home tab on the Ribbon
Now you have users, that are present in both Excel files, on your screen.
Filter matching rows in two Excel sheets

Save this list into external file

You don't need to do anything complex to extract records from Excel file in xlCompare. Just to the right click and use menu command Save | Visible Rows.
This command saves visible cells from selected worksheet into file on disk.


xlCompare is a tool that quickly performs Excel file comparison operations and allows to easily extract matching rows from Excel spreadsheets.

Get rows that are not present in another Excel file

This is typical task if you are working with Excel files or CSV files, that contains database data.
CSV files are often used to keep tables extracted from the database.
This operation is named Difference. Result of the operation is items from first Excel file, that are not present in the other Excel file.

To get the difference between Excel files, do the following:

  1. Drop both files into xlCompare.
  2. Get the comparison report on your screen. Just complete a Comparison Wizard by clicking on the Compare button.
  3. Apply Unique Rows filter. This command is present on the Home tab of the Ribbon.
Now your xlCompare application contains Difference between two Excel files.
Filter matching rows in two Excel sheets
Select the panel you need and save records on the disk using Save | Visible Rows command from the right click menu.


xlCompare is a robust and reliable tool that performs various spreadsheet comparison operations. Every complex action is transformed into set of simple operations.

Reasonable question:

Is there an alternative to xlCompare tool? Can this be done directly in Excel application?
Yes, sure. You can use VLOOKUP function to determine if cell is present on the other sheet. So, if you know several worksheet functions, like VLOOKUP, IF, INDEX, MATCH, ... you can configure your Excel file to filter different rows.
So, what are the benefits of xlCompare if I can do all of this in Excel?
xlCompare gives you ability to get the same results much more quickly with much less efforts and with minimum risk of error.
xlCompare saves your working time and this is important advantage.
+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode
+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

Compare cells in Excel files in detail

Compare Values

xlCompare compares values of the corresponding cells in the left and right panels.
Cells with different values receive color formatting:
  • Orange background color
  • Red border color
You will easily identify them among other cells on your worksheets.
Compare cell values in Excel Different cell values in Excel worksheets

Difference in cell values

xlCompare has an option to display difference in the changed cell values.
Instead of adding value of the corresponding cell, xlCompare shows you difference between value of this cell and value of the corresponding one.
This option is extremely useful if you are working with tables, that contain numerical data - financial statements, price lists, accounting statements, etc.
Difference in cell values in Excel xlCompare displays how one cell differs from another one

Compare Formulas in Excel

Formulas are compared on the function level. xlCompare divides formula into the logical expression and compares corresponding parts.
This algorithm allows xlCompare to determine and reject changes caused by inserted and deleted rows.
Compare formulas in Excel Different formulas with highlighted changes

Compare Formula Values in Excel

Values of the calculated cells (that contains formulas) receive different color formatting.
This formatting means that value in the cell was changed, but formula is the same.
So, in fact this cell was not changed. xlCompare doesn't add merge command to this cell.
Compare formula values in Excel Different formula values (calculated cells)

Compare cell formatting

xlCompare detects modifications in the cell formatting in addition to processing cell values.
If your colleague reformatted some cells, for example, highlighted group of cells with red background - xlCompare points you directly to this group.
xlCompare detects changes in:
  • Background color
  • Border style and color
  • Text color
  • Font name and size
  • Text Alignment
  • Number Formatting
Compare cell formatting in Excel Highlighted cells with different font options

Complete list of changed cells

xlCompare collects all changed cells found in two Excel files and publish them in the bottom part of the window.
All modifications are grouped by the worksheet and by type.
Legend area on the left side of the Difference Explorer displays statistics for the comparison.
Use legend items to filter various types of the differences in the Difference Explorer window.
Complete list of changed cells in Excel Difference Explorer: complete comparison summary
+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode
+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

Compare Excel Files by Key Values

One of the biggest groups of Excel files can be named Tables with Key Columns. Excel spreadsheet is a suitable form to keep and edit database records.
You receive this type of worksheets very often. Every price list is a table, list of your clients is a table, list of transactions, and so on. Databases are deeply integrated into our business, and you need an effective tool to work with your data.
xlCompare offers a big set of commands and options you can use to effectively compare, filter and merge tables, stored in Excel files. Below we show you how to configure primary keys on your worksheets and get the comparison report, that is based on the key values.

Setup primary keys on the worksheet

Before you get the comparison report you need to point xlCompare to the primary key columns and rows in your file.
When xlCompare opens Excel file it analyzes data in the worksheet and assigns primary keys on the worksheet if possible. However, you can modify the default selection and assign another key columns, if initial assignment was wrong.
Right Click Menu
Clear keys
Before you select your own combination of the keys, you need to clear current selection. Use Primary Keys | Clear menu item in the Right Click Menu on the worksheet.
This command removes all primary keys columns and rows from the worksheet.

Add new keys

Now, add select the column(s) you would like to mark as key and right click on its heading. Apply command Primary Keys | Set as key.
This command assigns key icon to the heading of the selected column and highlights it with color.
Now you can easily identify key column among other columns.

Primary key with multiple columns

Can the primary key consist of several columns? Yes, to select a complex key - just repeat previous step for every column you need.
If primary keys go in the unsorted order, this is not a problem. You can select key columns in the any order on your worksheet.

Primary key row

Row Heading example
Usually, database table contains heading. This is row that contains field names.
If your table has key row - select it and set it as key using the same menu command as for the columns.
xlCompare highlights key rows on the worksheet as well.
Key row or heading is an important part that greatly simplifies the comparison. So, if your worksheet has key rows, please make sure that xlCompare knows about it.

Apply same keys to all sheets

I'm working with Excel file that has 30 worksheets with similar data. Corresponding file has same number of sheets.
Do you need to configure key columns and key rows on every worksheet.
No. You need to configure them only on the first sheet and apply the Primary Keys | Set to all sheets menu command from the right click menu.
It assigns same keys to every worksheet in all opened files. In a second you will have your keys assigned to all sheets.

Remember keys for future use

In the files I receive key columns goes in the reverse order. Do I need to configure columns one by one, every time I open the new spreadsheet?
xlCompare has a command that greatly simplifies this process. It will save you a lot of time and make comparison much easy for you.
After you've configured key columns on your sheet first time - your menu command Primary Keys | Remember Key
This command says xlCompare that it should remember this key.
Next time you can assign this saved selection by using command Primary Keys | Saved | Your Key.
So, usually you can setup columns only a few times and after this just reuse the saved choice.
Saved combination of the primary keys

How to compare Excel tables by primary keys step by step

All you need to do is to point xlCompare to the keys it should use. All other work is done by the application. So, at this step we are ready to get the results.
Press the Compare Files button on the ribbon. This button starts the comparison and opens comparison wizard.
Comparison Wizard is a window where you see what will be compared and how.

Check order of the keys

Use Keys button to check order of the primary keys in your files. This button brings Manage Primary Keys window where you see primary key columns assigned to all worksheets.
Usually, this step is optional and can be skipped, but you can do it to make sure that files are configured properly.
Edit primary keys window

Assign Excel table algorithm

xlCompare has several comparison strategies, that are called comparison algorithms. Comparison Wizard is the only place where you can select the comparison algorithm of every pair of worksheets.
The most used strategies are Excel Table for databases and General Worksheet for all other types of Excel files.
Select the worksheets, you need to change, and use Options button. It opens window where you can select the appropriate algorithm.
Every comparison strategy (algorithm) is marked with icon. This icon, that is shown in the list, gives you a quick information about the options uses for this pair of worksheets.
Select comparison algorithm

Get the results

After you finalize comparison wizard with Compare button, xlCompare gives you results that are based on the key columns and key rows (heading rows).
Now you can filter and merge data on the compared worksheets. Command you need to use to extract unique or modified rows are explained in the sections above.
Comparison report for Excel files with primary keys

Options you need to know to get the best results

Can the comparison be done in just a one click?
In the simple case - yes, but unfortunately data, our customers are working with, have complex structure and sometimes table is jut looks like a database, but it is not a classic database. For example, table may have duplicate values of primary keys and this is not an error, like in the database theory.
So, you need to know several options offered by xlCompare for the database data.
Options | Database comparison

Compare Excel sheets with changed keys

If your tables contain pair of almost equal rows with minor changes in the key value - this could be a modified key value. And not the insertion of 2 different rows into both tables.
This option allows primary keys to be changed.

Sort tables and comparison results by key

By default, xlCompare doesn't change order the data on your worksheets. It sorts cells internally and this doesn't have a visual reflection.
However, you can get your data sorted, by selecting option to sort the records. Also, this options sort the comparison report by key values.
This is important if you are going to merge two tables and get the right order of the records.

Highlight primary keys on the worksheet

xlCompare highlights the key columns and rows on the worksheet with color. This is made to notify you about key columns that will be used.
This is perfect visual representation of the key columns and rows on the worksheet view.

Ignore columns to minimize comparison noise

I've got a lot of changed values in one of the compared fields. Can I remove them from the comparison report.
Yes, use the Ignore Columns menu for this. It displays a checkmark on the column heading. Once unchecked - column is marked as ignored from comparison.
Ignored columns are not taken into account and doesn't produce any output for the comparison report.
Ignore columns in Excel compare

Merge two Excel tables with key columns

I need to combine two Excel sheets that have a key columns. Can I do this with xlCompare?
Yes, first that you need to do is to follow the instructions above to get your sheets compared properly.
After you have comparison results on your screen, go to the Merge tab on the ribbon.
Insert Rows from Left and Insert Rows from Right are the commands you should use to move all the rows from one panel into other.
Order of the inserted rows is determined from the comparison report. So, you can play with option that Sort the results to change order rows in the merged table.
Merge tab on the Ribbon in xlCompare

Having a question on how to compare Excel worksheets by keys?

+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode
+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

Clear and easy to understand comparison report

Boost your productivity with Excel Compare! In a few seconds, you'll get a comprehensive report with minimum efforts.
First thing that you see after you press Compare button is the comparison report. This is the most important part of the xlCompare tool.
The results you are getting on your screen should be as easy to understand as possible. You don't need to waste your working time to learn the tool.
We've spent years to polish the report by using customer's suggestions. And new xlCompare has very native color-coded report for the compared Excel spreadsheets.
Look into this section for more information on the features used in xlCompare:

Differences are highlighted with background color

Compare Excel files and highlight differences
All discrepancies that were found by xlCompare receive color formatting on the worksheet. This makes them different from the other cells on the worksheets. You can easily identify changed cells and inserted rows among other data in your Excel file.

Updated cells

All cells that are different on two worksheets – have changed values, formulas or styles are highlighted with orange color. Orange color formatting perfectly highlights changed cell in your Excel file. You will never miss it.

New and removed rows

Unique rows (rows that was added or removed in one of the Excel tables) receive green background for the left panel and red fill color for the right one. This is a standard formatting for the difference checking tools.

Virtually aligned rows

xlCompare put all changed rows one vs. one. Corresponding rows are always on the same level and you don't need to scroll other panel for the corresponding value.
Corresponding cell is exactly on the same height on the it's worksheet.
xlCompare finds reordered data and puts rows in the report into the right order.

Tooltip with detailed information

Just put your mouse over the cell and xlCompare will give you a complete information about this modification in a form of Tooltip window.
This is very easy method to find out what was changed in this cell. Do you spend your time to determine what was changed. xlCompare will present all the information to you.

Tendency arrows

Small arrow near the changed numeric value indicates increase of decrease of the value. Just look over the cells and you are getting first impression about the tendencies in your data.

Difference between updated numbers

xlCompare shows original value and modified value right in the same place. You don't need to locate correspondent value on the other sheet.
For the numerical cells xlCompare offers an option where you will get the difference, instead of modified value.
This is very useful feature that will save your time from calculating the differences yourself.
Original and modified value and difference between Excel cells

Complete list of all discrepancies

xlCompare groups all the differences into single list and publish them in the difference explorer window on the bottom of the comparison report.
Differences between two Excel tables

Summary grouped by type

All changes found in two Excel tables are grouped by the worksheets. Inside the worksheet group, changes are grouped by unique rows and columns and updated cells.
You can browse each group separately.


Comparison Legend on the left of the difference explorer is like a short summary of the operation.
You see total number of differences and number of differences in every group.
Click on each group to get the difference report filtered by this type of difference.

Total number of differences

Total number of the changed cells and unique rows is reflected in the Sheet Tab and in the caption in Difference Explorer.
Total number of differences in Excel tables

Get more space for your report

If you are working with 13' or 14' laptop, probably you don't have enough space on you screen for the data. xlCompare allows you to hide the Difference Explorer window to get more space for the worksheets.
Hide difference explorer to miximize comparison report

Options that affect comparison report

xlCompare has number of the options you can use to modify the results you are getting. Unfortunately, the data we receive is usually unsorted and may contain incorrect values, so you need to apply options to play with your comparison report and to get the best results.
Formatting options in xlCompare

Extended View

Extended View is an option that displays corresponding value right under the original value.

Display Difference

This option displays difference between two cells in the Excel tables, instead of showing the modified value. It works in the combination with Extended View option.

Hide equal sheets (modules)

When your Excel files consists of multiple worksheets, xlCompare hides equal sheets, or sheet that was not included into the comparison report.
This allows to get the comparison report more compact and point you to the actual differences between your Excel tables.

Change colors

What to do if you don't like formatting options offered for you by xlCompare? Option formatting page in the options and select the formatting you need. xlCompare offers you to define your own color formatting for every type of the difference.
+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode
+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

Compare and Update two Excel Tables

Process large Excel tables within seconds with a maximum accuracy.
xlCompare has a database comparison algorithms, that performs this task quickly and efficiently.
Compare Database Tables

Get Inserted\Removed Records

xlCompare detects new rows and columns in the worksheet and highlights them with background color. The colored pointers on the scrollbars help you to locate updated and inserted data in your Excel file.

Find Duplicates in 2 Tables

Keep your database up to date. Find and remove duplicates and redundant records. With xlCompare, you can find, highlight and remove, all duplicate rows with minimum efforts. Duplicates can be found by key, by full row data, or by criteria.

Compare "Mixed" Data

A rich set of options gives you a way to significantly reduce comparison noise. Compare strings with numbers, ignore characters, apply comparison accuracy, ignore hidden rows and columns and more ...

Compare Visual Basic Code and Forms

A complete comparison of the Visual Basic Projects. xlCompare does all comparison and merge operations needed for VBA developers.
Compare VBA code with VBA diff tool xlCompare
VBA Diff Tool (xlCompare©) in the action

Modified Code

xlCompare finds changes in the VBA Modules and displays them with color formatting.

Changed Forms and Controls

Finding modifications between Forms in an Excel Worksheet is the most complex task. It won't be in in other comparators. xlCompare not only displays for you all Forms and Controls in the hierarchical tree view form, but also compares them and displays even minor changes between VBA Controls.

Merge Commands

Merge VBA Code and Form Controls in single click. Just select code lines and click on the check icon! In a few seconds you will resolve all merge conflicts in your VBA code.

xlCompare as a part of Version Control Applications

xlCompare is a Diff Viewer and Merge Tool for Source Control Systems.
Integrate it into a third-party application with a set of command line options, as well as a 2 and 3-Way Worksheet Comparison feature.

Compare Multiple Excel Files

3-Way comparison - Compare changes made by you and your co-worker in the same version of the workbook.

Resolve Merge Conflicts

Compare Excel files for differences to find and fix merge conflicts. Resolving merge conflicts between different versions of the same Excel file is one of the most important and complex tasks in version control. xlCompare compares 3 versions of the Excel workbook - YOURS, THE BASE and THEIRS. It gives you comprehensive reports of the changes made, with ability to merge conflicts.

Diff Viewer for SVN\GIT Tools

xlCompare supports rich set of the command line options, to be integrated into the SVN\GIT environment as Diff Viewer and Merge Tool.
Compare three Excel files with xl comparator
Use xl comparator to resolve conflicts

Highlight Conflicts

All differences are marked with colors exactly in the worksheet views. Conflicts will have a red color to attract your attention, among other diffs.

Aligned Rows

Inserted\Deleted rows are virtually inserted into same place in the corresponding workbook. This gives a normal look for the modified worksheets.

Detailed Report

Put the cursor over the colored cell to get a detailed report about the changes made.

Explore Formula Logic and Debug Calculations in Excel files

xlCompare is more than the usual workbook comparing program. This tool has features creating productivity in various aspects.
Evaluate OFFSET worksheet function

Explore Formula Logic

View internal logical structure of the formula on your worksheet. Divide the formula into elementary parts. Display them in the hierarchical tree form. It's the most suitable way for recursive analysation.

Where the Value Came From

Review the list of calculation errors (#N\A, #VALUE, #DIV\0) and find out where the error came from. Expand all formula calculations and get source of the unexpected result.
Trace Precedents in Excel files

Trace Precedents

A drill-down trace of the formula dependencies in depth. Go through the formula precedents to find its input value. Check if 2 cells are dependent from one to another.

Merge multiple Excel files into one

Drop files you are going to merge into xlCompare

Open your Excel files in xlCompare, to start merging you files with excel diff tool. This is very simple step. Excel File Compare has a number of commands to open Excel files. We recommend to drop your files into the xlCompare application. This way is the most fast and simple.

Define Primary Keys in your Excel File

Usually this command (merge excel files into one) is applied to excel files with database structure. Like price lists, invoices, various tables stored in Excel files. For this type of data Primary Key is a basis. Accurate comparison results are not possible without defined key columns and key rows on the worksheet. Excel File Compare Tool (xlCompare) works flexible with Excel files and allows to define primary keys and to create complex key that consists of several columns and contains duplicated values.

Use the Merge button on the Home tab

After files are opened and primary keys are defined, excel diff tool has all needed information to consolidated excel files into one. Go to the Home tab on the Ribbon and press the Merge button to merge all different rows and updated cells from the FILE2 into the FILE1 (right to left).

Get your Excel Files merged!

Simplicity is one of the principles of the our excel diff tool xlCompare. We would like to give you powerful and best excel file compare tool, but it should be as easy to use as possible. The most actions you can do in Excel File Compare are done in a few clicks only.

Merge all sheets into one in Excel file

Open your excel file in the Excel File Compare Tool

We've described how to open excel file in xlCompare tool in the article above. So, just drop your excel file into the xl comparator (xlCompare) window.

Check the Primary Keys

Normally this step is optional. xlCompare has a number of algorithms to define the primary keys in your excel file. In most cases you need to look into them only. However, if you have a complex data, or ID column is missed and primary key consists of the several columns - you may need to edit them using the Right Click Menu.

Open Merge Excel Sheets Wizard

Merge command on the Home tab on Ribbon opens Merge Excel Worksheets Wizard, if you have only one workbook opened in the excel file compare. The Wizard has minimum fields to be filled. Just select worksheet that receives consolidated data and check the worksheets whose contents should be merged. That's all. All other work is done by excel diff tool xlCompare. Complete the Wizard to get the results.

Get your worksheets consolidated!

As you see in a few clicks you are getting the consolidated worksheet. If you receive invoices, part lists, price lists or other tables splitted into smaller parts - xlCompare is a best excel file compare tool to automate your work and increase your productivity.

xlCompare vs. On-line tools to compare Excel files

What are the reasons to choose xlCompare if there are on-line services
There are several services on the web that offer free spreadsheet comparison. Just drop your Excel files into your browser and in a few clicks get your files compared.
This looks easy. If spreadsheet comparison is so simple, that can be done using online diffchecker tools, why several companies develop their desktop applications for comparing Excel files?

Key benefits of desktop spreadsheet compare tools over the on-line web services:

1. Load large Excel files faster

xlCompare uses own spreadsheet engine, that loads Excel files faster than Excel application.

2. More complex comparison algorithms

Desktop applications have more flexibility in memory management and data processing. Everything that is implemented in the desktop app can be done in the diffchecker created with javascript. But will the performance capabilities be the same?

3. Highlighting the Results

Web browser limits formatting options in online difference checker. On-line tool can use only html features to display Excel files and highlight the results. xlCompare is much more flexible in this:
On-line difference checker for Excel files
Output produced by on-line difference checker tool
Compare Excel files using xlCompare
Comparison summary produced by xlCompare for the same Excel files

4. Filter changed cells

Online diffchecker tool doesn't allow you to filter rows in the compared worksheets.

5. Merge cells commands

xlCompare gives you several tools to merge changes in two Excel files. You can quickly transfer data between your Excel files. This is impossible in the web-based tools.


On-line diffchecker services for Excel files are good and robust tools, that you can use to find differences in Excel files. But their visual capabilities and functionality of significantly less than functionality of xlCompare and other desktop spreadsheet comparison tools.
If you are looking for a tool you can use as diffchecker for XLSX files in your SVN\GIT environment - on-line services are not an option at all.
+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode
+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

Fuzzy search for matching values on the Excel worksheets

In most of the spreadsheets you are working with, cells don't match exactly. Otherwise, there will be no reason for Excel file comparison tools.
xlCompare determines which rows are matching using set of rules, each of them can be modified by the user in Options.
In general, this task is called fuzzy search on the Excel sheets. For every row we need to find matching one, when there is no exact match.
Comparison rules in xlCompare allows you to tune up the comparison results and adjust your report by decreasing the number of false positive differences.
xlCompare uses algorithms, that are adopted for spreadsheet comparison. This set of rules in the Options is your Control Panel for this process.
These algorithms are basis of the xlCompare. They are continuously improved and polished. This set of rules will grow in the future to give you more control over the process.
Detailed description of the rules you can use you can find in the FAQ section:
Rules tab in Options window

xlCompare is an Ultimate Tool for Excel File Comparison

xlcompare space on quora

xlCompare Space on Quora!

We've created this space to publish useful information about xlCompare and discussing various tips and tricks. Post your question in this space to share it with community.
We will be happy to see you in the list of our followers and contributors!

xlCompare saves your time and increases productivity!

xlCompare is a leading xl comparator solution that provides you powerful and efficient tool to compare excel files and CSV files.
Armed with this excel diff tool you will have following benefits:
This article on Quora clearly describes the advantages you are getting.
We give you more than excel spreadsheet comparison tool - we give you effectiveness.
There are online solutions that works with xlsx and csv files and checks Excel files for difference in values. Why do I need this xlsx diff tool? In the article below we've started this discussion.
We will be happy if you decide to share your feedback with us or with community on the Quora service.

FAQ: What are the options I need to know

If you open Options window in the xlCompare you may be a bit confused - this application has a lot of options. How to learn and use all of them.
Options window in xlCompare
xlCompare works with different kinds of worksheet data and gives you a number of options to tune up the comparison results. Most of the options changes some visual options of the software or allows to change the formatting or delimiter for text files.
All these options are rarely used and 90% of users normally don't change the default behavior. However, there are 2 pages you need to know about.

Comparison Rules

Rules tab in Options window
This is the most important page in the options. It defines set of rules used by the application to compare data on the Excel worksheets.
Here you can allow to ignore some minor typing mistakes in string values, ignore case in the text cells, ignore specific characters and specify the numeric accuracy.

Allow key values to be changed on your worksheets

Imaging that you are working with 2 worksheets where one file contains record about John Smith, and in the second file there is a typing error and name was imported as John Smitn.
xlCompare highlights you this difference as 2 unique rows - one colored with green and another one colored with red.
But this does not work for you, as you need to compare data for the John Smith from both files.
Use this option to allow difference in 1 character in the compared files. This will force xlCompare to think that both values are identical.
However, xlCompare will point you to the change in this cell. Both rows will be considered as matching and will be compared one versus one. This cell with username will be highlighted with orange color.

Rows that begin with N equal cells are identical

Imaging two rows where most of the cells are different. Should xlCompare consider them as unique and highlight with green and red fill color, or mark them as matching and compare one versus one?
This option is one of the rules that helps xlCompare to make the decision.
You can specify number of equal cells on the beginning of the row, that should advice xlCompare to that these rows are matching.

Rows having N or less different cells are identical

Next rule that solves same task - you manage the process of finding the matching rows.
This rule defines a limit, where xlCompare should think that rows are different or matching.
This is very simple criteria, and it can't be used in the general case, but you can use for the pair of specific worksheets to get the most accurate comparison results.

Case-insensitive comparison

You've got 2 worksheets where one contains record for John Smith starting his name from the capital letter and in the other file his record was imported as john smith.
But using this option you can ignore this difference or make it important and xlCompare will highlight it for you.

Ignore space characters

Again, this is a way to adjust the results of comparing text values.
Extra space in the username leads to thinking that this value is different. Trailing spaces in the values exported from the database or copied from the webpage produce a lot of unique values on the worksheets, instead of comparing them as matching.
So, this option is enabled by default.
But if you need to perform strict comparison to the find the exact compliances, you can turn it OFF.

Ignored Symbols

Here you can enter symbols that are not important.
Imagine that you've got two files, imported from the external database and one of them contains a lot of @ and # symbols on the character positions.
Should you edit all the file manually?
No. You need only to mark these symbols are ignored and that will not be considers when comparing string cells.

Comparison Options: what data is processed by xlCompare

Comparison tab in Options window
On this page all the options speak for itself.
You can ignore formulas and compare only their values.
Ignore constant cell values (input cells) on the worksheets and compare only calculated values, or only text of the formulas.
Compare only cell values on the sheets by excluding text of the formulas.
Cell styles are often producing differences that are highlighted with yellow color. On the large worksheets you may got a million of the reported cells and all of them are not important for you.
Exclude styles from comparison and xlCompare will focus on the cell values and formulas. This is a great option to reduce the comparison noise.


As you see xlCompare has a lot of options.
We've configured them in the way that should give you best results out of the box, so you should not tune the software.
You should not learn all the options in the product. But these two pages are important, so we suggest you take a brief look at them. Possible sometimes this information will help you.

FAQ: Ignore Case when comparing String Cells

Does the xlCompare distinguish small and capital letters on the worksheets?

Yes, sure. xlCompare takes case of the letter into account. However, this is managed by the option.
In the typical case strings like Account and account should be marked as identical. When you are getting data from the different sources, the most likely you will have a text value with mismatching case.
But if this difference is important for you - turn this option OFF and xlCompare will bring you all these differences. You will get all such values highlighted with orange color as regular changed cells.

Where to find this option?

It is located on the Rules tab on the Application Options.
Option Ignore case in string cells

FAQ: List of xlCompare hotkeys

xlCompare uses several hotkey combinations you need to know to performs all the operations quickly.
Hotkeys are saving your time and makes you more efficient.

F6 Start the comparison

After you press F6 xlCompare will compare opened Excel files. Use this key after you've made a modification in your files and need to restart the comparison.
The difference between F6 and Compare Files command on the Ribbon - F6 doesn't show the comparison wizard. It just restarts the comparison using the previous settings.

F12 Close All Files

Close both files you have opened in xlCompare. If you have a comparison report on your screen - xlCompare close it also.


Set Zoom on both files to 100%. This allows to quickly restore zoom if you have changed it.

Ctrl+2 2-File comparison

Turn OFF 3-File comparison option. Switch to 2 panels mode.

Ctrl+3 3-File comparison

Turn ON 3-File comparison option. xlCompare opens additional panel for 3-rd file.

Ctrl+H Recent Items

History of the comparisons. This window shows you all recent comparisons.
If you double-click on one of the items - xlCompare reopens this comparison again for you.

Ctrl+K Edit Primary Keys

This hotkey opens window where you can edit primary keys on your worksheets.


Show or hide Left Panel.


Show or hide Right Panel.
These 2 options allow to display only one workbook on your screen. Use this option if you need more space for your data.

Ctrl+T (Alt+O) Options

Call the options window. Edit comparison rules, select what data is processed by xlCompare, change visual options of the application.

Alt+Z Zoom

Brings the Zoom window where you can change zoom applied to your workbooks.

Alt+F11 VBA Editor

This hotkey is identical to Excels combination that opens Visual Basic editor. xlCompare shows you contents of the Visual Basic project by pressing this key.

FAQ: How to tune up the comparison results

xlCompare tries to give you best possible comparison results out of the box.
You should not select options and modify your data to change the output. However not all the cases are so simple. In some cases, you can change the criteria used by xlCompare to make the conclusion about equal or changed data.
Here we will describe some common situations and give our suggestions.

Two columns containing almost identical data are marked as unique

This could happen if column headings are different.
If field names are not identical, they should be considered as different. This the normal behavior for the database fields.
Use Link columns command to bind one column to another in the comparison report and to modify this.
After columns are linked, they will always be marked as matching without checking their names.

Two keys that should be identical are highlighted as unique

Possible they contain extra space character or extra space value.
Check contents of two cells to make sure that they are identical.

Some keys contain typing mistakes

Use option to allow N characters in cells to be different. According to this rule xlCompare ignores limited number of differences in values and marks values as matching.
This changes the comparison results, because matching key values leads to marking corresponding rows as matching on the worksheets.

There are extra characters in strings

Your file is a result of the exporting from database and some cells contain special characters like $ of #.
Put this symbol into list of ignored symbols and xlCompare will not take them into account. They will be excluded from the values.

Rows containing a lot of changed values are marked as unique

When 2 rows don't match exactly, xlCompare should make a decision - are these rows matching or not.
On the Rules tab in Options window, you can change default behavior.
There are 2 options you need to use:
  • Rows that begin with N equal cells are matching
  • Rows containing not more than N difference cells are matching
For example, you are comparing price list or the cash flow financials statements. Possible only 1 or two cells in the first column are equal, all other cells that represent numbers are different.
These options allow to mark rows that begins with 2 equal cells on the similar positions on the worksheets as matching.
In this case comparison report will be different from the report with this option turned off.

FAQ: Working with small display

We are extensively using laptops in our business. Laptops gives us perfect mobility and flexibility. Armed with laptop you can work from anywhere. But this type of computer has significant disadvantage: small size of the display. While you can use 32 inches display on your desktop and work very comfortable, most modern business laptops will give you 14 or 15 inches.
So, if you are using laptop, you are very limited in screen size. Scrollbar allows you to see all the content, but much better to see as much as possible information on the screen without scrolling.
How xlCompare helps laptop users.

Collapse the Ribbon

Starting from xlCompare 11 you can collapse the ribbon to get more space on your screen. Ribbon takes some space on the top of the window and in the collapsed state it will give you several additional rows.
Expended ribbon control
xlCompare window with expanded ribbon control
Collapsed ribbon control
xlCompare window with collapsed ribbon control
To expand or collapse the ribbon use button highlighted with red arrow on the image above.

Hide comparison results

Difference Explorer window that contains the complete list of the differences occupies space on the bottom of xlCompare window.
In version 11 it is hidden by default. So, at least 30% of your screen is available for the worksheet data.

Turn off Extended View

Extended View is a perfect option that displays modified value below the original, that it very handy. But it duplicates height of the row.
If this option is disabled, all the rows keep their original size. So, you get more data on your screen.
To get the corresponding value of the modified cell quickly, put your mouse over this cell. Tooltip window will show you detailed information on the modification, including value and formula of the corresponding cell.

Use Zoom

Changing zoom from 100% to 80% has small impact to readability but gives you 20% more data.
Use Ctrl+1 hotkey combination to open Zoom window and select preferable zoom on for worksheets.


+ Compare Worksheets
+ Compare VBA Code
+ Merge Excel Files
+ Command Line Mode


+ Lifetime License
+ No future payments
+ Updates included
+ Support included

FAQ: Important commands

What is Extended View?

This is an important feature, which displays cell value(formula) and the corresponding value in same cell. With this option turned ON (default selection), you won't need to search for the corresponding value on the other panel. It greatly saves your time and increases the usability of the Comparison Report.

I need to see the Difference between changed values.

The Option Display Difference activates the feature you need in the Extended View mode. With this option enabled, you can see difference between value in the MINE cell and value in the THEIR cell. The Colored Arrow mark indicates an increase or decrease in the value.

Can I save the report I see in the Extended View?

Yes, sure. You can export this report in a PDF format for future use. For example, you can print it or send to your co-worker.

Does xlCompare find differences in formulas?

Yes. xlCompare finds differences in the text of formulas, and the text of an array formula. However, if you don't need to compare formulas, you can exclude this in the options. xlCompare gives you a rich set of options to control what you are searching for. You can compare:
  • All worksheet data
  • Only constant cells
  • Only calculated cells
  • Only text of formula
  • Only value of formula
  • Combination of the options above

How to identify differences, found between two Excel worksheets?

All differences are listed in the Difference Explorer report. When you select difference in this list - xlCompare will activate it in the Worksheet\VBA Panel.
All unique rows and changed cells are marked with color - background, text color and border. Formatting in the equal cells will not be changed.

Can I ignore hidden rows and columns?

Yes.xlCompare has an option to exclude hidden rows and columns from the comparison. If your worksheet has data you want to exclude, hide it and run the comparison. This is one of the methods to reduce comparison noise.

How to save the Comparison Report to present it to colleagues?

There are two options. You can print the Comparison Report exactly as it looks with all formatting into the PDF format, or use the Export button, with the PDF icon in the Difference Explorer.
Export PDF Report
It opens Print Preview window, where you can preview your report, change printing options - put all columns on one page, align printout, etc. and save it on disk.
This report perfectly presents all differences, found between Excel Worksheets.
PDF Report
Other option - Summary Report button in the Difference Explorer.
Summary Report
This command generates an outlined report, which contains all items you have in the Difference Explorer. It doesn't display modifications in-place, like a previous PDF report, but it gives you a complete summary of the comparison done.
Choose one of the following formats to save this report:
  • XLSX
  • HTML
  • Text
Or just copy it to clipboard and paste it into e-mail or another application.

Are there any free methods to get difference in Excel files

Please, review the article below.
On this page we've described all known methods to compare Excel files for differences and included some Visual Basic Macros you can use to compare your Excel files.
List of the VBA macros will grow, because we are going to provide a free and simple solution for user who don't need in the professional tool.

xlCompare: International Resources


엑셀 파일 비교


Excel-Dateien auf Unterschiede vergleichen

「Spreadsheet Tools社と素晴らしいパートナー契約ができたことをうれしく思います。xlCompareは当社のドキュメントソリューションに貢献してくれるでしょう」 株式会社ヒューリンクス 常務執行役員 若林 登
[プレスリリース] ウクライナ Spreadsheet Tools 社との販売バートナーシップ契約締結について
10/26/22 - 10/28/22
xlCompare was presented on the Japan IT Week in Tokyo by our partner HULINKS Inc..