Frequently Asked Questions

This page holds the answers to common questions that are asked about Merge for macOS. If you have a question that should be in this FAQ, please contact Araxis.

Before you purchase

What are the system requirements for Merge for macOS?

Please see the Release Notes & System Requirements (macOS) for this information.

What is the difference between the Standard and Professional Editions of Merge?

Please see the Feature Summary and Differences Between Editions for this information.

Does Araxis offer floating (network) licences for Merge?

Araxis does not currently offer network (floating) licences or site licences for Merge, although we are aware of strong demand and will consider offering network licences in the future.

Please note that quantity discounts are available for the Professional Edition of Merge.

Please see the End-User Licence Agreement for Araxis Merge Software for full terms and conditions.

How many licences do I need to buy?

A licence must be purchased for each machine where the product is to be used. The only exception to this is that the primary user of a computer for which a licence has been purchased may make a second copy for his or her exclusive use on a second computer. This means that you can buy a single Merge licence and then use it simultaneously on both a Windows PC and a Mac, provided you are the only person using that licence.

Please see the End-User Licence Agreement for Araxis Merge Software for full terms and conditions.

If I buy new serial numbers, will they work with Merge for Windows as well as Merge for macOS?

Yes. See also ‘How many licences do I need to buy?’

How does support renewal work?

Please see Understanding Serial Numbers, Support Expiry & Upgrade/Support Entitlement and Buy Araxis Merge.

Is there a version of Merge for Windows?

Yes. Please see the Merge for Windows page on the Araxis website.

Is there a version of Merge for Linux?

Unfortunately, no. However, Merge does seem to run under Wine on Linux. We would be grateful for reports of any problems running Merge under Wine.

Another possibility is running Merge and Windows under Linux using a virtual machine environment such as VMware Workstation.


How do I reset my preferences to their original post-installation state?

Follow the steps to delete crash logs and remove preferences described on the How to Uninstall page.

How do I upgrade an older version of Merge?

Please see Upgrading Merge or Installing Newer Builds.

I’ve upgraded from Standard to Professional. How do I enter my new serial number?

Click on the Re-Register… button in the Araxis MergeAbout Araxis Merge dialog to re-enter registration information.

I’m having problems installing Merge, what should I do?

Please see Troubleshooting Installation for solutions to most installation problems.

How do I find out the version and build number of my Merge installation?

The Araxis MergeAbout Araxis Merge dialog displays the version and build number information.

How do I uninstall Merge?

Please see How to Uninstall.

How do I make my Merge serial number work for all users on my Mac?

To make your Merge serial number apply to all users of the your Mac, without having to enter it for every single user:

  • Set up and register Merge normally for a single user. Quit Merge.
  • Logged on as that user, open the Keychain Access application from the Application/Utilities folder.
  • Locate the Araxis Merge application password entry in the login keychain.
  • Drag this entry to the System keychain. (You may need to enter your password to modify the System keychain.)

Using Merge effectively

Can I use Merge to compare Microsoft Word or other application documents?

Merge comes with filters for opening and comparing the text content of several popular file formats, including Word documents. See Comparing Text Files (or Typed/Pasted Text) for more details.

Alternatively, you can copy and paste any text from other applications into a Merge file comparison window. So, simply open a new two-way file comparison, then copy the text from one document (in Microsoft Word, press Cmd+A to select the entire document, followed by Cmd+C to copy it to the clipboard) and paste it into the left file pane (click in the pane, then press Cmd+V to paste). Then, repeat, pasting the text of the second document revision that you wish to compare into the right file pane. The differences between the documents will then be shown. This is an effective way to compare, for example, different drafts of a contract being edited with Microsoft Word.

A further possibility for some application formats not supported by Merge (e.g. Microsoft PowerPoint .pptx files) is to open them in their native applications and save them to a different, supported format (e.g. .ppt).

How do I compare PDF files as text instead of images, or vice versa?

Merge for macOS is able to compare PDF files in two ways: either by extracting the text content from them and performing a text comparison, or by rendering the PDF files as a series of images (one per page) and comparing those as an image comparison. For text-based PDFs, the former is probably more appropriate.

To have Merge compare PDFs using a text comparison:
  • Open the Preferences window and go to the File ComparisonsFile Types page.
  • Check the row for a Text Comparison with the *.pdf pattern.
  • Uncheck the row for Image Comparison with the uti:public.image;uti:com.adobe.pdf pattern.
  • For text comparisons involving documents, you may also find it helpful to configure an appropriate serifed font (e.g. Georgia) from the Preferences window File ComparisonsFonts/Colours page, and also to turn on word-wrapping.
To have Merge compare PDFs as images using an image comparison:
  • Open the Preferences window and go to the File ComparisonsFile Types page.
  • Uncheck the row for a Text Comparison with the *.pdf pattern.
  • Check the row for Image Comparison with the uti:public.image;uti:com.adobe.pdf pattern.

Which version control (VC) or software configuration management (SCM) systems work with Merge?

Please see Integrating with Source Control, Configuration Management and Other Applications for the latest information.

If you are the developer of a VC or SCM system, Araxis would be pleased to assist you integrate Merge with your product. Please contact Araxis for further information.

What is the recommended way to use three-way file merging?

Please see Three-Way File Comparisons and Automatic File Merging for this information.

How can I review all the changes I have made before saving?

It is sometimes useful to be able to review all the changes you have made before saving. If you have the Professional Edition of Merge, you can do this for two-way comparisons using the three-way comparison capability.

Open the file that you will be merging from into the left pane and the file that you will be merging into in both the middle and right panes. Whenever something is merged from the left file into the middle one, or if any other change is made to the middle file, the right pane shows exactly what the changes were. This enables you to review all the merges and changes you have made before saving.

How do I make the folder comparison show just added and deleted files?

Use the Visibility Filters… menu item in the Hide Reveal toolbar button or ActionsHide/Reveal menu to choose exactly which files and folders you wish to see.

How do I type a tab character in the Merge in-place editor?

By default, pressing Tab on its own moves you between the various panes in Merge file comparison windows. Use Option+Tab if you want to insert a tab character into the file you are editing.

You can change this behaviour on the Text ComparisonsEditing preferences page.

How do I create a permanent record of comparison results?

Merge provides the ability to create reports from file and folder comparisons. Please see Creating a File Comparison Report and Creating a Folder Comparison Report for more information. Alternatively, print a comparison and Save as PDF… to create a PDF.

How can I navigate between changes in the file comparison window?

  • The small Previous change and Next change buttons below the scroll bars can be used to jump to the previous or next change.
  • Click the Previous Change or Next Change toolbar buttons to move to the previous or next change.
  • There are also several keyboard shortcuts that can be used.

What is the difference between a change and a conflict?

A conflict occurs in a three-way merging scenario where a two later revisions of the common ancestor file have been modified in different ways at the same location relative to the common ancestor file. The Automatic File Merging page shows an example of a merging conflict. A change is simply a difference between two files. Linking lines show how the lines in one file are changed with respect to the other file.

How can I make Merge show only the changes between files?

Merge provides the ability to compress blocks of unchanged lines so that just a few lines for context are displayed. Please see the Display help topic for more details.

I’m comparing files with columns or fields of characters within which changes should be ignored. How can I tell Merge to do this?

Changes occurring within numbered columns, or column ranges, can be ignored by using the controls in the Lines preferences page. To omit fields or sequences of characters that don’t always appear at the same absolute position within the line, create a regular expression using the controls in the Expressions preferences page. When entering the expression, choose the Ignore sequences of characters that match the expression option to ignore changes within the matching characters. Please see the Edit Expression window’s help topic for more details.

How does the ViewHide Empty Folders command in the folder comparison window work?

This command isn’t a toggle. When you use it, Merge will look through the comparison results list and hide any folders that don’t contain visible files. If you use the command before the folder comparison has completed, folders could be hidden even if they eventually contain visible files when the comparison finishes. Wait until the comparison has completed before using the command.

How can I turn-off font smoothing (anti-aliasing) for text comparisons?

To disable anti-aliasing on Merge 2019.5229 or later:

Exit Merge if it is still running. Next, open a macOS Terminal window and run the following command:

  defaults write com.araxis.merge MergeV2 -dict-add DisableTextAntialiasing json:1

To turn anti-aliasing back on, exit Merge and run:

  defaults write com.araxis.merge MergeV2 -dict-add DisableTextAntialiasing json:0
To disable anti-aliasing for Merge 2019.5137 and earlier:

Open a macOS Terminal window, then run the following command:

  defaults write com.araxis.merge DisableAntialiasing 1

If Merge is running, the change will take effect as soon as Merge re-draws a text comparison.

To turn anti-aliasing back on, run:

  defaults write com.araxis.merge DisableAntialiasing 0

Does Merge for macOS have an FTP plugin so that I can perform comparisons involving content on an FTP server?

Read-only access to FTP sites can be gained by connecting to the FTP server in Finder. To do this, choose the GoConnect to Server… menu item in Finder, then enter your FTP server in the Server Address field, e.g. Merge can then access and read the FTP site (mounted under /Volumes) as it would any other network volume.

For read-write access to an FTP site using free but unsupported software:

  1. Install FUSE for macOS, making sure to select MacFUSE Compatibility Layer in addition to the packages selected by default.
  2. Install the 64-bit build of MacFusion, available from Patrick Robertson’s website.
  3. Launch MacFusion and select FTPFS from the first drop-down button. Enter the details of your FTP server and click OK.
  4. A new entry for your FTP server should now be listed and can be mounted by clicking the Mount button.
  5. Once mounted, the FTP site appears as a Finder volume and can be used by Merge like any other network volume.

A commercial and supported alternative for read-write FTP access is Panic’s Transmit application, which enables FTP and SFTP servers, and Amazon S3 buckets, to be mounted as Finder volumes and used by Merge.

How can I speed up large file comparisons (and recomparisons, as I edit files)?

Merge generally compares files very quickly. However, for those situations where comparisons take more time, applying the following suggestions can improve matters.

  • Disable any unnecessary regular expressions (Araxis MergePreferences…Text ComparisonsExpressions).
  • Uncheck the Araxis MergePreferences…Text ComparisonsLinesIgnore characters in the following column numbers/ranges option.
  • On the Araxis MergePreferences…Text ComparisonsDisplay page, choose Don’t show changes within lines or Show simplified inline changes.
  • Uncheck the Araxis MergePreferences…Text ComparisonsSyntax HighlightingUse syntax highlighting for recognized file types option.

How can I speed up folder comparisons?

Merge is optimized to compare even large folder hierarchies very quickly. However, folder comparison performance is highly dependent upon several Merge settings. For the fastest folder comparisons:

  • Uncheck the Araxis MergePreferences…Folder ComparisonsScanUse filter programs for files in folder comparisons option.
  • Uncheck the Araxis MergePreferences…Folder ComparisonsScanGather line-count statistics for inserted and removed files option.
  • Uncheck the Araxis MergePreferences…Folder ComparisonsScanScan contents of folders excluded by filters option, and the Scan contents of files excluded by filters option on the same page.
  • Choose the Araxis MergePreferences…Folder ComparisonsMethodFile timestamps and sizes only comparison method.
  • Check the Araxis MergePreferences…Folder ComparisonsMethodCompare byte-by-byte for files larger than # KB option, and consider reducing the file size threshold for byte-by-byte comparison option on the same page from the default 512 KB.


Why isn’t a particular shortcut key working for me?

It is likely that macOS, or some other application on your system, has intercepted the key for its own purposes. You can view (and modify) the list of keyboard shortcuts used by macOS on the Shortcuts tab of the Keyboard item in System Preferences.

I’ve opened a file with a Far East codepage, and all I can see is boxes where characters should be. Why?

You should choose a font in the File ComparisonsFonts/Colours preferences page that is able to display all the characters for the character encoding that you are using.

How can I tell whether I was given the correct serial number when I purchased Merge?

Please see Understanding Serial Numbers, Support Expiry & Upgrade/Support Entitlement for information about your serial number.

Why are some pages unavailable in the Print dialog?

By default, the 64-bit version of Merge will be used on 64-bit capable systems. Unfortunately, not all printer driver suppliers currently supply 64-bit versions of their printer drivers. You may therefore see a message ‘The bundle XXXX could not be loaded because it does not contain a version for the current architecture’ for some settings pages in the Print dialog.

If a new printer driver is available, try using that. Alternatively, you can run the 32-bit version of Merge by right-clicking on the Araxis Merge application icon, choosing Get Info, and then checking the Open in 32 Bit Mode checkbox.

A ‘Not authorized to send Apple events to Araxis Merge’ message appears when running Araxis command-line utilities. What can I do?

As of macOS 10.14 Mojave, an application must first be authorized before it can control other applications using Apple events. Since the Merge command-line utilities control the main Merge application using Apple events, any application wishing to run the command-line utilities must itself be given authorization to control Merge.

If you encounter this error message, you can try manually granting the necessary authorization to the application from which you are running the Merge command-line utilities.

To give an application authorization to control Merge:
  1. From macOS System Preferences, select the Security & Privacy item.

  2. Select the Privacy tab.

  3. From the list on the left, select Automation.

  4. In the list of applications on the right, find the application from which you wish to run the Merge command-line utilities. Ensure that Araxis Merge is listed under it and that its checkbox is checked.

    Information If Araxis Merge is not listed under the entry for your application, it is likely that the application has not yet tried to run a Merge command-line utility. When an application first tries to run a Merge command-line utility, macOS will ask you whether to authorize that application to control Merge and will add an entry to this list.

Merge is behaving strangely. What can I do?

Follow the steps to delete crash logs and remove preferences described on the How to Uninstall page. If that doesn’t solve the problem, try completely uninstalling Merge and re-installing. If you still encounter difficulties, please contact Araxis for assistance.


May I link to the Merge home page?

Yes, please do! To avoid any danger of broken links, it is best if you link to or