Diff-IE, Highlight Webpage Changes In Internet Explorer

Martin Brinkmann
Dec 12, 2010
Updated • Dec 9, 2012
Internet Explorer

Sometimes you are interested in changes on a certain web page, instead of all of the contents that are posted on it. This can be helpful to monitor forum posts, website updates, new blog comments or any other webpage that may get updated.

Diff-IE is a prototype add-on developed by Microsoft Research that adds capabilities to compare the current website with a previously visited version in Internet Explorer.

The Internet Explorer add-on comes as a standalone installer which will install the add-on into the web browser. The Diff-IE add-on itself is compatible with all 32-bit versions of Internet Explorer 7 to the latest beta of Internet Explorer 9. It will however run fine on both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of the Windows operating system.

IE users should take a look at the add-on's settings first to configure it properly. It does work right away after enabling the add-on but there are some settings in the options that may need to be altered. Among them an option to ignore sites which is by default set to all https and about urls. It would have probably been better if Microsoft would have added an option to disable the add-on on all pages with a whitelist attached to use it on selected ones. Diff-IE as of now will track changes on every visited webpage that is not in the ignored sites list.

diff-ie settings

Other settings include the highlight color and change threshold above which differences are not shown, if page contents should be cached and a listing of currently cached webpages.

The add-on itself displays a toolbar in the browser that offers quick access to core features.


Here it is possible to add a site to the ignored site listing, compare the current page to a cached page snapshot, show or hide the differences or display a side-by-side comparison. This feature is however only available if the cache page contents as an image setting is enabled in the options.

IE-Diff is a handy tool for Internet Explorer, especially for users who like to track changes made to a website over time. It would probably be better if the devs would change the blacklist approach to whitelisting, as I'm not sure how the add-on handles lots of site visits per day. It is mainly a performance and storage concern.


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