[git] How to compare different branches in Visual Studio Code

How do I compare different branches in Visual Studio Code 1.9?

Is it possible?

This question is related to git visual-studio-code

The answer is

2019 answer

Here is the step by step guide:

  1. Install the GitLens extension: GitLens
  2. The GitLens icon will show up in nav bar. Click on it.

    Git lens icon

  3. Click on compare

    Enter image description here

  4. Select branches to compare

    enter image description here

  5. Now you can see the difference. You can select any file for which you want to see the diff for.

    Enter image description here

Update: As of November, 2020, Gitlens appears within VSCode's builtin Source Control Panel

I would recommend to use: Git Lens.

enter image description here

Use the Git History Diff plugin for easy side-by-side branch diffing:


Visit the link above and scroll down to the animated GIF image titled Diff Branch. You'll see you can easily pick any branch and do side-by-side comparison with the branch you are on! It is like getting a preview of what you will see in the GitHub Pull Request. For other Git stuff I prefer Visual Studio Code's built-in functionality or Git Lens as others have mentioned.

However, the above plugin is outstanding for doing branch diffing (i.e., for those doing a rebase Git flow and need to preview before a force push up to a GitHub PR).


Now it's available:


Until now it isn't supported, but you can follow the thread for it: GitHub

It's now possible by using the githistory extension.

Here's a small trick though: You can compare the latest commits from each branch and that would be the same as comparing two branches side by side or creating a PR.

Here's how to do that using githistory extension:

  1. Open githistory
  2. Pick the latest commit from your current branch by clicking on "Git Commit Icon" → (Usually it should be latest commit it the list). From the opened dropdown menu click on "Select this commit".
  3. Pick the latest commit from the branch you want to compare to by clicking "Git Commit Icon".
  4. As a result, the dropdown should appear with a few options → Select the last option that says "Compare with SHA" and you'll see the diff.

In the 11.0.0 version released in November 2020, GitLens views are now by default all placed under the source control tab in VSCode, including the Search & Compare view which has the compare branches functionality:

Compare working branch

It can be changed back to the side bar layout in GitLens settings:

Layout settings

If you just want to view the changes to a particular file between the working copy and a particular commit using GitLens, the currently accepted answer can make it difficult to find the file you're interested in if many files have changed between the versions.

Instead, go to the file explorer in the side bar and right click on the file, go to Open Changes > Open Changes with Revision... (or Open Changes with Branch or Tag...).

Questions with git tag:

Does the target directory for a git clone have to match the repo name? Git fatal: protocol 'https' is not supported Git is not working after macOS Update (xcrun: error: invalid active developer path (/Library/Developer/CommandLineTools) git clone: Authentication failed for <URL> destination path already exists and is not an empty directory SSL_connect: SSL_ERROR_SYSCALL in connection to github.com:443 GitLab remote: HTTP Basic: Access denied and fatal Authentication How can I switch to another branch in git? VS 2017 Git Local Commit DB.lock error on every commit How to remove an unpushed outgoing commit in Visual Studio? How to know the git username and email saved during configuration? How to add a new project to Github using VS Code git clone error: RPC failed; curl 56 OpenSSL SSL_read: SSL_ERROR_SYSCALL, errno 10054 fatal: ambiguous argument 'origin': unknown revision or path not in the working tree HTTP Basic: Access denied fatal: Authentication failed npm notice created a lockfile as package-lock.json. You should commit this file Do I commit the package-lock.json file created by npm 5? Abort a Git Merge key_load_public: invalid format git - remote add origin vs remote set-url origin Visual Studio 2017 - Git failed with a fatal error Get git branch name in Jenkins Pipeline/Jenkinsfile Changing the git user inside Visual Studio Code How to compare different branches in Visual Studio Code Git checkout - switching back to HEAD Clear git local cache Deleting a local branch with Git Rebuild Docker container on file changes Cloning specific branch How to add chmod permissions to file in Git? Git copy changes from one branch to another Git merge with force overwrite Project vs Repository in GitHub How to add a file to the last commit in git? Getting permission denied (public key) on gitlab Delete commit on gitlab gpg failed to sign the data fatal: failed to write commit object [Git 2.10.0] Remove a modified file from pull request Updates were rejected because the tip of your current branch is behind its remote counterpart Can't push to the heroku How to discard local changes and pull latest from GitHub repository In Visual Studio Code How do I merge between two local branches? error: RPC failed; curl transfer closed with outstanding read data remaining Change drive in git bash for windows Checkout Jenkins Pipeline Git SCM with credentials? How to fix git error: RPC failed; curl 56 GnuTLS Trying to pull files from my Github repository: "refusing to merge unrelated histories" Visual Studio Code how to resolve merge conflicts with git? merge one local branch into another local branch Can't push to remote branch, cannot be resolved to branch

Questions with visual-studio-code tag:

TypeError [ERR_INVALID_ARG_TYPE]: The "path" argument must be of type string. Received type undefined raised when starting react app Visual Studio Code PHP Intelephense Keep Showing Not Necessary Error Cannot edit in read-only editor VS Code How to setup virtual environment for Python in VS Code? Pylint "unresolved import" error in Visual Studio Code Why do I keep getting Delete 'cr' [prettier/prettier]? How to set up devices for VS Code for a Flutter emulator VSCode single to double quote automatic replace js 'types' can only be used in a .ts file - Visual Studio Code using @ts-check How can I clear the terminal in Visual Studio Code? Is there any way to set environment variables in Visual Studio Code? How to connect TFS in Visual Studio code How to shift a block of code left/right by one space in VSCode? How to add a new project to Github using VS Code Is there a way to remove unused imports and declarations from Angular 2+? How to create a Java / Maven project that works in Visual Studio Code? Select all occurrences of selected word in VSCode How to see local history changes in Visual Studio Code? VSCode cannot find module '@angular/core' or any other modules #include errors detected in vscode ESLint not working in VS Code? Visual Studio Code - Target of URI doesn't exist 'package:flutter/material.dart' What is a 'workspace' in Visual Studio Code? VSCode Change Default Terminal Visual Studio Code Search and Replace with Regular Expressions Visual Studio Code open tab in new window Activating Anaconda Environment in VsCode Error message "Linter pylint is not installed" Switch focus between editor and integrated terminal in Visual Studio Code Collapse all methods in Visual Studio Code How do I use Bash on Windows from the Visual Studio Code integrated terminal? Changing the git user inside Visual Studio Code Color theme for VS Code integrated terminal How to compare different branches in Visual Studio Code How to restart VScode after editing extension's config? Moving Panel in Visual Studio Code to right side Restore a deleted file in the Visual Studio Code Recycle Bin VSCode: How to Split Editor Vertically Install a Nuget package in Visual Studio Code How to indent/format a selection of code in Visual Studio Code with Ctrl + Shift + F How to change the integrated terminal in visual studio code or VSCode PHP executable not found. Install PHP 7 and add it to your PATH or set the php.executablePath setting How to do tag wrapping in VS code? Debug/run standard java in Visual Studio Code IDE and OS X? Visual Studio Code: How to show line endings How do you format code on save in VS Code Is there a quick change tabs function in Visual Studio Code? Duplicate line in Visual Studio Code Open files always in a new tab In Visual Studio Code How do I merge between two local branches?