comparepdfcmd comparepdfcmd is a command line tool for comparing PDF files. Qtrac Ltd. 220 Software Qtrac Ltd.


comparepdfcmd is used to compare two PDF files—textually or visually.

C:\> comparepdfcmd.exe

Use comparepdfcmd to compare PDF files using the command line. In a console (i.e., in a Command Prompt window opened by running cmd.exe) enter, e.g., comparepdfcmd.exe -r report.pdf old.pdf new.pdf and see any differences highlighted in report.pdf.

This commercial console (command line) program for Windows is ideal for testing, quality assurance, and scripted comparisons. (See also Why Compare PDFs?)

comparepdfcmd can say whether two PDFs—or two folders of PDFs—are the same or different, and it can optionally output one or more reports that show any differences. The reports can be in CSV format suitable for spreadsheets or regression testing, or visual in PDF or PNG formats.

Comparisons can be made based purely on the text regardless of margins and word-wrap, or based on appearance (which accounts for fonts, colors, layout, diagrams, images, etc.)

The comparepdfcmd program is an alternative to diffpdfc. comparepdfcmd is much faster and produces much higher quality PDF reports—but it is 64-bit only and has fewer features. To see which is the best tool for your needs see comparepdfcmd vs. diffpdfc. And if you require an easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI) tool, use our DiffPDF application instead.

"Your software is the best I've ever used for comparing PDFs.", —customer feedback.

Try (free for 20 days) or Buy ($220 USD)

You can try comparepdfcmd free for up to 20 days using a trial license key. And you can buy a full license key for comparepdfcmd that has no time limit for $220 USD plus local sales tax (or local equivalent for many major currencies) using the secure MyCommerce platform. Tiered price discounts are applied if you buy at least 10 license keys—these are shown when you click Buy Now. (Purchasing departments: comparepdfcmd's Product ID is 51410-11.) Annual Site Licenses are also available.

comparepdfcmd is a 64-bit application that will work on 64-bit Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, on computers that have x86-compatible processors, i.e., almost all desktop and laptop computers.

To get a free trial:

  1. On the computer you want to use, download (8MB; MD5 7838bfa05ea385214af387ef017a78d6).
  2. Unzip the package into any convenient folder.
  3. In a console (i.e., in a Command Prompt window opened by running cmd.exe), change directory into comparepdfcmd's folder and run:
    comparepdfcmd.exe try
    This will acquire a free trial license key over the internet and then register it. The program will then be ready to use.

You will probably find it convenient to add comparepdfcmd to your PATH. How to do this is explained in the manual, along with full details of all comparepdfcmd's features. The manual is included in the package and can also be viewed online: comparepdfcmd.pdf (~170 KB).

If you want to buy one or more licenses, visit Buy Now. Once you've completed your purchase the confirmation page will show a “get key” link and an Order ID (which will also be emailed to you). You can then use this to acquire as many license keys as you purchased on each computer you want to use. Run comparepdfcmd.exe buy to make a purchase. Once you have bought a key, run comparepdfcmd.exe getkey order-id to acquire the key, and then comparepdfcmd.exe register key to register it.
Or you could buy an Annual Site License.

We recommend trying before buying, since license key purchases can't be refunded.

Note that each free trial and full license key (but not site license keys) are tied to the particular computer it is acquired on. Each such license key is valid for all minor and patch versions (e.g., if acquired for version 1, it is valid for all 1.x.y versions). There is no time limit for full license keys—providing the hardware (and how Windows reports it)—don't change.

Free trials and full licenses are governed by the comparepdfcmd-license.pdf (25 KB) and site licenses are governed by the Qtrac PDF Comparison Software Site License (21 KB).

Example Usages

Here is one example use of the program:

C:\Users\mark>comparepdfcmd -v -s -r report.pdf oldfile.pdf newfile.pdf
Wrote "report.pdf"

Here the two PDFs have some different text (compared word-by-word which is the default), and because of the -r or --report option, the differences are shown highlighted in the file report.pdf. In addition, due to the -s or --show option, the report.pdf differences report will be shown in your PDF reader. The message was output because the -v or --verbose option was used. If they had the same texts the output on the console would have been Same, no report would have been produced, and no report would be shown in your PDF reader.

Here is another example use of the program:

C:\Users\mark>comparepdfcmd -f pdf -R reportdir -S summary.csv oldpdfdir newpdfdir

This run compares each PDF file in the oldpdfdir directory with a PDF file in the newpdfdir directory that has the same name (if there is one). For each pair of PDFs that differ, it produces the requested report in the reportdir with the same name as the original files, and with the differences highlighted. In addition it produces a summary of the differences in the file summary.csv.

Example Report (PDF format)

Here is an extract of a screenshot of a PDF report:

Image cpceg_M1.pngImage cpceg_M2.pngImage cpceg_M3.png

Red change bars in the left margin indicate where changes are, and changes are highlighted by coloring them as if with a highlighter pen.

Command Line Interface

Here is comparepdfcmd's help output (edited). Note that some options can also—or only—be set in configuration files. (Top)

C:\Users\mark>comparepdfcmd -h
comparepdfcmd 1.1.0
Copyright © Qtrac Ltd. 2018. All Rights Reserved.
Compares two PDF files (or two folders of PDF files) and
reports any differences.

    comparepdfcmd.exe [FLAGS] [OPTIONS] <pdf1> <pdf2>

    -a, --appearance              Compares pages by their
    -c, --chars                   Compares pages character
                                  by character
    -w, --words                   Compares pages word by
                                  word [default]
    -v, --verbose                 Show actions taken
    -s, --show                    When comparing two PDFs,
                                  if they are different and
                                  -r or --report is used to
                                  get a PDF report, this
                                  option will show the
                                  report in your PDF reader
        --no-normalize-hyphens    Don't treat all kinds of
                                  hyphens as the same, e.g.,
                                  treat n-dash, hyphen,
                                  etc., as different
        --ignore-hyphens          Ignore hyphens, e.g.,
                                  treat play-off as playoff
        --normalize-ligatures     Treat ligatures the same
                                  as if spelled out,
                                  e.g., fi = fi, fl = fl, etc.
    -h, --help                    Prints help information
    -V, --version                 Prints version information

    -C, --config <config>  A .ini configuration
                           file whose values override any
                           found in any comparepdfcmd.ini
    -r, --report <report>... Report filename to use
                           if there are any differences
                           Supported formats: .csv .pdf
    -R, --reportpath <reportpath> Report folder to use
                           for report files that don't
                           have paths, and for when
                           comparing two folders of PDFs
        --pages1 <pages1>  Pages to compare from
                           pdf1, e.g., 1-5,7,9,11-14
                           (page numbers start from 1)
                           [default: all]
        --pages2 <pages2>  Pages to compare from pdf2
                           (page numbers start from 1)
                           [default: same as pages1]
        --margin-bottom <bottom> Bottom margin in whole
                           points (e.g., 72) If specified
                           any differences below this
                           margin will be ignored
                           [0, 300] [default: 0]
        --margin-left <left> Left margin in whole
                           points (e.g., 72)
        --margin-right <right> Right margin in whole
                           points (e.g., 72)
        --margin-top <top> Top margin in whole
                           points (e.g., 72)
    -A, --accuracy <accuracy> How accurate (as a
                           percentage) appearance mode
                           comparisons should be
                           [80, 100] [default: 100]
    -f, --format <format> Format for reports
                           when comparing two folders
                           of PDFs Supported formats:
                           .csv .pdf .png
    -S, --summary <summary> Summary filename when
                           comparing two folders
                           of PDFs [default: stdout]

    <pdf1>    First PDF file or folder of PDF files
              to compare
    <pdf2>    Second PDF file or folder of PDF files
              to compare

    comparepdfcmd.exe try
        Acquire a free trial license key
    comparepdfcmd.exe buy
        Buy a full license
    comparepdfcmd.exe getkey <order-id>
        Acquire a full license key
        (once you have bought and have an Order ID)
    comparepdfcmd.exe register <key>
        Register a free trial or full license key
    comparepdfcmd.exe cid
        Prints the Computer ID (not normally needed)
    comparepdfcmd.exe license
        Shows the license
    comparepdfcmd.exe manual
        Shows the manual in your PDF reader (or -m or

Old Versions

We always recommend using the most recent release. These are kept available for those who want to use specific previous versions. (For details of the changes between versions, see the Changes page.)