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Spreadsheet Compare is now the default tool for Excel file diffs

Wednesday, August 12, 2020 María Barrios Carrasco 0 Comments

The Plastic SCM integration with Microsoft Office lets you diff Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and even PowerPoint presentations.

Since version, when you diff Excel files (.xls or .xlsx) in Plastic and Gluon, we now launch Microsoft's Spreadsheet Compare tool by default.

Spreadsheet Compare tool

If you have configured another tool for Excel files, that configuration will be honored.

Launching the Spreadsheet Compare tool

You don't have to configure anything to use the Spreadsheet Compare tool with Plastic and Gluon. This is the Excel files diff tool by default.

You only have to take care of these two things:

  1. Where the Spreadsheet Compare tool is located.

    Launching the Spreadsheet Compare tool depends on Plastic (or Gluon) being able to find an installed SpreadsheetCompare.exe. We search in the following locations:

    • C:/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Office/Office16/DCF
    • C:/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Office/{UserName}/Office16/DCF
    • The PATH environment variable.

    If you have the Spreadsheet Compare tool installed somewhere other than the above, you need to add it to the PATH:

    1. Locate where the tool is installed.
      In my case, the installation path is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\root\VFS\ProgramFilesX86\Microsoft Office\Office16\DCF. Copy this path.
    2. Open the "Environment Variables" dialog in your Windows machine.
    3. Go to the "System variables" panel and "Edit" your Path variable.
    4. Add a new value by pasting your Spreadsheet Compare location.
  2. Remove any existing configured Excel files diff tool.

    If you've been using any other tool to diff Excel files, you have to remove it from the Plastic (or Gluon) configuration. Otherwise, this tool will prevail over Spreadsheet Compare.

    1. Go to Plastic (or Gluon) and open the "Preferences" dialog.
    2. In the "Diff tools" tab, check if you have configured a tool to diff Excel files. In my case, I have the one included with the Plastic client:
      Plastic SCM Preferences - Diff tools
    3. Select the diff tool for Excel files and remove it.
    4. Save your changes.

And now you are done!

Wrapping up

Spreadsheet Compare performs a cell-by-cell comparison of two Excel files. Using it with Plastic (or Gluon), lets you compare two revisions of the same file:

And the result is a complete explanation of the changes between those revisions. These changes are highlighted by color, depending on the kind of change:

Spreadsheet Compare tool

Hope you'll find this tool as useful as I do!

María Barrios Carrasco
I'm in charge of the documentation area and the one to let you know the news about our products: Plastic SCM, SemanticMerge and gmaster.
I started my degree in Computer Engineering at the University of Burgos and finished my studies at the University of Valladolid.
I love doing handmade crafts, going for a walk and for tapas 😋.
You can reach me at @maria13mbc.

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