As long as you can get the styles into text files, you can use diff tools.

KDiff ( is a free diff tool that compares 
directories or files as you need.

You probably will still need to manually create the files to compare, but 
that's just some annoying cut and paste.


From: Peter Gold <>
To: Nancy Allison <maker at>
Cc: framers at
Sent: Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:23:44 PM
Subject: Re: Tag-compare tool?

Hi, Nancy:

I don't know if there's a utility that compares format properties
(BTW, don't forget x-ref formats and variable formats.) However, I
believe that the properties are listed in MIF in the same order; i.e.,
first comes, say, default font, then the font properties - weight,
variation, point size, etc. So, you might get somewhere by saving
empty documents as MIF, then editing the MIF in a text editor, cutting
out all the non-format stuff and saving as text. Then open the text
files and compare the files.

You might even cut it down further and make the comparison utility
less likely to be confused, by creating separate files for each format
catalog - paragraph, character, table, cross-reference, variable, etc,
so you're only comparing likes with likes.



Peter Gold
KnowHow ProServices
On Wed, Dec 17, 2008 at 11:13 AM, Nancy Allison <maker at> wrote:
> Peter, I can easily generate a list of tags, and sort it any which way. That
> is not the issue.
> My question is, how do I see if there are any similar or dissimilar settings
> between two tags?
> In other words, all settings for Anchor and AnchorTable may be identical,
> except that the tabs for AnchorTable have been set with painstaking
> accuracy, while the tabs for Anchor are not useful.
> Let's say that I don't know that, and let's say that there are a couple of
> other subtle differences between the two tags that I am not aware of. (Why
> am I not aware? Because I've inherited a document previously worked on by
> two tech writers, the first of whom knew a lot more about Frame than the
> second. The second created sloppy tags, imported tags, didn't sort out
> discrepancies, and so on and so forth. Now I'm trying to clean it up a bit.
> There aren't enough problems to justify creating a new template from
> scratch, however.)
> The only way I know to identify the differences between two paragraph or
> character tags is to:
> 1. Generate a list of all tags and their characteristics
> 2. Find the listings for Anchor and AnchorTable (in this example)
> 3. Place them side-by-side on my screen or desk
> 4. Scan the many, many properties that are listed for those tags
> 5. Visually identify the discrepancies among settings
> I suppose I could also put the tags through every conceivable possible usage
> in a template and see how they behave, and figure out which properties are
> more desirable that way, but I don't have the time or patience.
> If you have any thoughts about how to automate the comparison of tag
> properties, I will be glad to hear them.
> --Nancy

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