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Ubuntu - Configure Git to Use Meld for Diffs

By default, git will show you diffs in the CLI in a single view, rather than split view. I'm not elite enough to be able to work this way. This tutorial will show you how to configure git to make use of meld to have a split-pane view of your changes.


Install Meld

Install meld if you haven't already got it. Ubuntu/Debian users can simply run:

sudo apt-get install meld -y  

Dixon Dick from the comments pointed out that Mac users can use homebrew to install meld from a tap:

brew install homebrew/gui/meld

Configure Git

After having installed meld, run the following command to configure git to make use of meld.

curl -s | bash

Alternatively, copy,paste, and execute the following bash script to do the same thing.

# Write a script to run meld for git diffs.How to: Meld for Git diffs in Ubuntu Hardy
cat << EOF > /tmp/git-meld-diff

import sys
import os

os.system('meld "%s" "%s"' % (sys.argv[2], sys.argv[5]))

sudo mv /tmp/git-meld-diff /usr/bin/git-meld-diff

# Set the script to be executeable
sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/git-meld-diff

# configure git to use the new script when we run git diff.
git config --global diff.external git-meld-diff

Now when you want to view changes you have made to any files you can run:

git diff  

or if you just want to view changes in one file:

git diff [filename]  

Using Meld For Merge Conflicts

You probably want to also use meld for resolving merge conflicts. You can set it to do so with:

git config --global merge.tool meld


Last updated: 9th May 2020
First published: 16th August 2018