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How do I use Beyond Compare 3 as external diff tool for SourceTree?

Deleted user Aug 10, 2015


I know this question has been asked elsewhere, but I have tried all of those suggestions and they either don't apply to my version of Beyond Compare or - for some reason - just don't work for me.

I am using Beyond Compare 3.  If I select it as an option in the Tools | Options then it opens as expected as an external diff tool.  The problem is that any conflict-resolutions I make in Beyond Compare seem to be lost when I close it.

Can anyone offer any help on how to get this working?


Kind wishes ~ Patrick


5 answers

I have the Pro version (Beyond Compare 3), but it doesn't work at all in my system. It just won't open. Path and executable are correct into the option dialogue, BC3 is working just fine and I use it on daily basis both standalone or from Visual Studio. Any suggestion?

Deleted user Nov 06, 2018

It's a long time since I went through this so I can't recall exactly what I did.

Based on my current setup, all I can suggest is to upgrade to BC4 Pro.  BC 4.2.8 works fine with Sourcetree.  I've attached a screenshot of my diff settings page in Sourcetree.  Note the arguments to BC, which I think were inserted automatically by Sourcetree.

Good luck!

- Patrick

BC4 in Sourcetree.PNG

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Deleted user Nov 06, 2018

Note also that Sourcetree does require 3-way merge, which I think you have to get the Pro version of BC for.  Can't remember where I read this.

Like Claudio Loda likes this

Thanks Patrick, I have exactly your same settings on the Diff dialogue, the only difference is that BC version is the 3.x.x (but sourcetree correctly detected it and automatically found its path, I didn't have to change it).

As for the 3-way merge I know BC3 Pro is able to do it cause I use it regularly via Visual Studio.

Deleted user Nov 06, 2018

Mmm... that is strange.  Is diff and merge broken?  What happens when you try to use the external diff/merge tool (I'd guess it is simply greyed out)?

No, I can actually select the option to launch external diff tool, but it simply won't open BC3 (or any other program).

Btw thanks for your concern, really appreciated.

Deleted user Nov 06, 2018

It sounds to me like the Sourcetree UI is silently swallowing an error.  I don't know if it writes any logs anywhere.  It would be interesting to see what the exact command line is that it tries to run and what the error is.

Turns out there is a log here:


But I just opened BC and nothing appeared in the log.  Of course, mine is working.  Maybe you'll get an error in there?  Worth a look.

- Patrick

That's a useful hint, sadly I have no logs at all from yesterday (when the issue occurred), while I have other lines regarding days before and even today (that means logfile is up to date and working, presumibly.

I'll keep looking into it, meanwhile thank you very much for your help!

1 vote
Seth Rising Star Aug 10, 2015

You might try modifying config files directly instead of using sourcetree's options dialogs.

0 votes
Deleted user Aug 12, 2015

Seems the answer to the above thread is indeed to get the Pro version of Beyond Compare.  SourceTree does indeed need the 3-way merge.  I upgraded and SourceTree works just fine with Beyond Compare 4 by simply selecting is as the diff and merge tool in the options.  Brilliant!

Thank you for the help.

Thanks for this tip. I was about to buy 6 licenses of the standard edition for my team, and now I'll be sure to buy the Pro edition.

0 votes
Deleted user Aug 10, 2015

I wonder if the problem is that I don't have the Pro version of Beyond Compare and so cannot do a 3-way merge.  Is this what SourceTree attempts to do?

Seth Rising Star Aug 10, 2015

Looks like yes. Or, to be more accurate, it looks like the free version of Beyond Compare does not provide a 2-way merge option anymore (the instructions for Linux imply that featre was available in the free 1.7 version).

0 votes
Deleted user Aug 10, 2015

Thanks for the answer.

I'll give that a try, but the lines that need to be entered into the config file look suspiciously (almost) identical to some instructions I followed for setting up Beyond Compare using the Custom option - i.e. setting the path to the program and then using the supported $ arguments.  Unfortunately, this didn't work either, so I don't hold out a lot of hope for the edits to the config file.  But I'll give it a try.

NB: Update to my question: I have now upgraded to Beyond Compare 4.  Foolishly, I thought throwing a few quid at the problem might fix it.  It didn't. sad

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