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DiffEngineX

CNET Editors' review

So important is Microsoft Excel to the world's data that the smallest difference between datasets can have consequences that ripple outward like a stone thrown in a calm pond. DiffEngineX is a powerful tool that identifies the differences between two Excel workbooks or individual worksheets, even thousands at a time. But unlike standard difference analysis, it takes into account any new or blank rows, cells, and columns. It's not something you can just fire up and run, but the payoff for a little prep is accurate identification of actual differences in huge amounts of data in minutes or seconds. We tried the fully functional 30-day trial of DiffEngineX with Excel 2010.

DiffEngineX's user interface is all business, with identical entry fields and worksheet displays for Workbook #1 and Workbook #2 and controls to select whether to compare whole workbooks or selected sheets, align rows and columns, and color differences at the cell level and highlight character-level differences (the last two are selected by default). Clicking Options brought up a detailed sheet of options covering Reports, Formulae, Cell and Numeric Value Comparisons, and other areas. An Extras button let us choose colors and hide rows in various ways, among other preferences. The Help file includes a tutorial that we'd highly recommend following.

Our quick-and-easy test consisted of comparing a finished workbook with its unfilled template. We simply browsed to each and pressed Start Comparison. The job finished quickly and included a summary report detailing the differences. The sheets themselves opened, both color-coded and highlighted for the quickest possible identification of differences. While all that sounds simple, DiffEngineX isn't totally automatic: even Excel experts will need to spend some time making sure everything's ready. But it will be time well spent when DiffEngineX does in minutes what might have taken many hours manually.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews

Results 1-10 of 11

  • 5.0 stars

    "Outstanding experience so far"

    October 31, 2013  |   By jurgfella

    Version: DiffEngineX 2.29

    Pros

    This program really works. In my experience it compares large spreadsheets in a short period of time, and can even do letter-by-letter comparison. (I use it primarily for legislative documents like budget acts, etc.)

    Cons

    None that I've noticed so far.

    Summary

    Creates three different spreadsheets that summarize and show off the differences between documents being compared. In my experience so far, the performance has been rock solid.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Huge time saver"

    August 24, 2011  |   By ndburgess

    Version: DiffEngineX 2.23

    Pros

    Very powerful program. Huge time saver. Overall, I'd say it is absolutely worth the money... I will be buying it after the trial period.

    Cons

    None really... it takes a bit of playing around to get a good feel for how it works... but it's worth it... so it's not really a con.

    Summary

    I needed to compare two spreadsheets (about 1500 rows and 20 columns each). I downloaded several excel compare programs and got nowhere... decided to do it manually.

    It took me an hour to find what I was looking for using vlookups and if/then statements. I knew there had to be a better way.

    It looked like this program had some decent reviews so I tried it out. It took me about an hour to figure out how to get it to kick out what I was looking for... but now I could do it in 5 minutes. This program absolutely ROCKS. I will buy it after the trial period. If you need to compare big spreadsheets - this is an excellent choice. Highly recommended!!! This is a very powerful program. I've downloaded hundreds of programs in the last decade and this is the first time I've felt compelled to write a review. One last thing... something that is not immediately obvious - you can insert data filters on the results spreadsheet by highlighting the blank row between the data and the headers... you can also hyperlink all the results so if something looks interesting, you can just click on it...

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Extremely useful program"

    March 3, 2011  |   By stolireef

    Version: DiffEngineX 2.20

    Pros

    Program allows you to rapidly compare large volumes of data in two spreadsheets. We have found dozens of uses for the program.

    Cons

    Learning curve is a bit steep if you are not reasonably comfortable with Excel. Color coding is difficult to understand.

    Summary

    One of the most useful programs I have ever used. Does one thing and does it very well. I have used this program on a daily basis to compare enormous spreadsheets containing hundreds of thousands of lines and nothing makes it easier to identify duplicates and/or unique lines. You will find uses you never dreamed of.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Every Excel user needs this. Fast and accurate."

    February 18, 2010  |   By Tilda_2009

    Version: DiffEngineX 1.44.0.0

    Pros

    Does the job well and fast. Lots of options. If your office needs to track the changes made to Excel spreadsheets this is the tool for you. I've looked around and it seems to be the only one that compares named ranges and at the character level.

    Cons

    It is less good at comparing database data. The data has to be sorted first. But if you do this one extra step, it will work well and is much faster than a lot of other Excel compare utilities.

    Summary

    It runs through big worksheets like a knife through butter. It works and works well. Much faster than a lot of other Excel compare tools around.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Brilliant software. Every Excel user needs this!"

    February 7, 2010  |   By Tilda_2009

    Version: DiffEngineX 1.43.0.0

    Pros

    Does the job well and fast. Lots of options. If your office needs to track the changes made to Excel spreadsheets this is the tool for you. I've looked around and it seems to be the only one that compares named ranges and at the character level.

    Cons

    It is less good at comparing database data. The data has to be sorted first. But if you do this one extra step, it will work well and is much faster than a lot of other Excel compare utilities.

    Summary

    It runs through big worksheets like a knife through butter. It works and works well.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Brilliant software. Every Excel user needs this!"

    October 8, 2009  |   By Tilda_2009

    Version: DiffEngineX 1.42.1.0

    Pros

    Does the job well and fast. Lots of options. If your office needs to track the changes made to Excel spreadsheets this is the tool for you. I've looked around and it seems to be the only one that compares named ranges and at the character level.

    Cons

    It is less good at comparing database data. The data has to be sorted first. But if you do this one extra step, it will work well and is much faster than a lot of other Excel compare utilities.

    Summary

    It runs through big worksheets like a hot knife through butter. It works and works well.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Brilliant software. Every Excel user needs this!"

    October 6, 2009  |   By Tilda_2009

    Version: DiffEngineX 1.41

    Pros

    Does the job well and fast. Lots of options. If your office needs to track the changes made to Excel spreadsheets this is the tool for you. I've looked around and it seems to be the only one that compares named ranges and at the character level.

    Cons

    It is less good at comparing database data. The data has to be sorted first. But if you do this one extra step, it will work well and is much faster than a lot of other Excel compare utilities.

    Summary

    It runs through big worksheets like a knife through butter. It works and works well.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "brilliant for big lists"

    July 21, 2006  |   By jimmbol

    Version: DiffEngineX 1.26

    Pros

    it works, and works well

    using the align row feature, you can compare big lists that might have some small differences like a row added or deleted here or there, as well as cell differences

    Cons

    i downloaded 8 other excel comparison software programs before i tried this one! d'oh

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Great tool if you work with Excel"

    August 12, 2005  |   By robert_yauger

    Version: DiffEngineX 1.17

    Pros

    I work with Excel daily and this tool makes my life much easier. It has lots of nice touches such as removing existing workbook color before adding its color.

    Sometimes we need to compare a dozen large workbooks and that is where its command line args feature comes in handy.

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  • 5.0 stars

    "Powerful options for advanced users"

    August 1, 2005  |   By michelle_w

    Version: DiffEngineX 1.17

    Pros

    I compared two spreadsheets with complex, nested formulae that differed only by a few characters. I turned on precise highlighting and the differences were highlighted in red. It saved me the hassle of pasting formulae out into a text editor and enlarging the font so I could compare the differences by hand.

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Results 1-10 of 11

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