I have a diff file generated by git diff HEAD~2 > alldiff. Is it possible to view the diff for any one file using alldiff? For example, somecmd alldiff file1withchanges will use alldiff to show changes in file1withchanges in vimdiff.

1 Answer 1


TIL about this: Is it possible to use vimdiff's side by side view with a regular diff file?

:help diffpatch is your answer.

You just need to say

:diffpatch alldiff

Other answer before I knew that^

I'm not normally one to recommend plugins, but I recommend using vim-fugitive. There is a command, :GDiffsplit, that does exactly what you want.

In the buffer you're interested in, simply say :GDiffsplit HEAD~2 and fugitive will do the rest:

  • Get git to create the diff
  • open a temp buffer with a copy of the file
  • Apply the diff
  • run :diffthis on the two buffers

Here is me trying to write that as a vimscript function

function! do_the_fugitive_thing(revision)
  " Get git to create the diff
  let my_file = expand("%")
  let my_patch = "/tmp/ari.patch"
  system("git diff ".a:revision." -- ".my_file." > ")

  " open a temp buffer with a copy of the file
  vsp temp_buffer
  set filetype=nofile
  execute "read ".my_file

  " Apply the diff
  system("patch < ".my_patch)
  edit! % " reload buffer after patch application

  " run `:diffthis` on the two buffers
  bufdo diffthis

Let me know if this works! Or if you don't know vimscript enough then don't worry about it and just use the plugin...

  • The problem with :diffpatch is that it doesn't work if there are multiple diffs in the same file, which is likely to be the case for the result of git diff.
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 14:09
  • @D.BenKnoble good point. Although I likely suspect OP doesn’t even want to use git diff without a specific filepath for diff creation in the first place… Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 18:28
  • Given that that is precisely the premise of the question, I would not assume that…
    – D. Ben Knoble
    Commented Jan 26, 2022 at 20:58
  • @D.BenKnoble when you’re right, you’re right 😂… literally in the title… hard to pull myself out of the context of achieving the solution (the vimdiff window) and back to the ask! When the question said patch I didn’t think it implied a git diff. It no longer says patch tho. Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 4:32

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