All Ediff commands are displayed in a quick help window, unless you
type `?' to shrink the window to just one line. You can redisplay the
help window by typing `?' again. In this section we comment only on
the features that cannot be readily deduced from the quick help window.
You can always type `E' in the control window to display this manual.
Many Ediff commands take numeric prefix arguments. For instance, if
you type a number, say 3, and then `j' (`ediff-jump-to-difference'),
Ediff moves to the third difference region. Typing 3 and then `a'
(`ediff-diff-to-diff') copies the 3d difference region from buffer A to
buffer B. Typing `b' does copying in the opposite direction. (In
3-way comparison mode, the commands for copying are `ab', `ba', `ca',
etc.) Likewise, 4 followed by `ra' restores the 4th difference region
in buffer A (if it was previously saved as a result of copying from,
say, buffer B to A).
Without the prefix argument, all commands operate on the current
selected difference region. You can select any difference region as
the current one using other Ediff commands.
The total number of differences and the current difference number are
always displayed in the mode line of the control window.
If, after making changes to buffers A, B, or C, you decide to save
them, it is best to use `ediff-save-buffer', which is bound to `wa',
`wb', and `wc' (`wa' will save buffer A, `wb' saves buffer B, etc.).
Typing `wd' saves the output from the `diff' utility to a file, so
you can later refer to it. With prefix argument, this command saves the
plain output from `diff' (see `ediff-diff-program' and
`ediff-diff-options'). Without the argument, it saves customized `diff'
output (see `ediff-custom-diff-program' and
`ediff-custom-diff-options'), if it is available.
Instead of saving it, `diff' output can be *displayed* using the
command `D'. Without the prefix argument, it displays the customized
`diff' output of the session. With the prefix argument, it displays
the plain `diff' output If either of the `diff' outputs is unavailable
(because it wasn't generated or the user killed the respective buffer),
then Ediff will try to display the other `diff' output. If none is
available, a warning is issued.
The command `z' suspends the current ediff session. It hides the
control buffer and the variants. The easiest way to resume a suspended
Ediff session is through the registry of active sessions. Note:
Registry of Ediff Sessions, for details.
The command `q' quits the current Ediff session. With a prefix
argument, it will ask the user whether to delete the variant buffers.
The command `s' is used only for merging. It shrinks window C (the
merge window) to its minimal size, thereby exposing as much of buffers A
and B as possible. This command is intended only for temporary viewing;
therefore, Ediff restores window C to its original size whenever it
makes any other change in the window configuration. Typing `s' again
also restores the original size of window C. However, recentering and
jumping to a difference does not affect window C's size.
With a positive prefix argument, the command `s' makes the merge
window, window C, slightly taller. With `-' or a negative prefix
argument, `s' makes window C slightly shorter.
Another command used only for merging is `+'. Its effect is to
combine the current difference regions of buffers A and B and put the
combination into the merge buffer. Note: Merging and diff3,
specifically, the variables `ediff-combine-diffs' and
In merge mode, Ediff uses a default variant (one of the two files
being merged) when it cannot decide which of the difference regions
(that of buffer A or buffer B) should be copied into the merge buffer.
You might decide to use the other variant instead. To facilitate this,
Ediff has a command, bound to `&', which selects another default
variant for the current difference and subsequent differences. You can
specify as the new default any of `default-A', `default-B', or
`combined'. Note: Merging and diff3, for details.
Such repeated merging affects only difference regions that have
default-A/B status, and only if they were not changed with respect to
Some commands are not bound to any key:
This command brings up the registry of active Ediff sessions.
Ediff registry is a useful device that can be used for resuming
Ediff sessions when the user switched to some other work before
finishing a comparison or merging job. It is also useful for
switching between multiple active Ediff sessions that are run at
the same time. The function `eregistry' is an alias for
Changes the display from the multi-frame mode (where the quick
help window is in a separate frame) to the single-frame mode
(where all Ediff buffers share the same frame), and vice versa.
This command reverts the buffers you are comparing and recomputes
their differences. It is useful when, after making changes, you
decided to make a fresh start, or if at some point you changed the
files being compared but want to discard any changes to comparison
buffers that were done since then.
This command normally asks for confirmation before reverting files.
With a prefix argument, it reverts files without asking.
Ediff has an admittedly primitive (but useful) facility for
profiling Ediff's commands. It is meant for Ediff
maintenance--specifically, for making it run faster. The function
`ediff-profile' toggles profiling of ediff commands.
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