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-D Option (Command Line)

Visual Studio 2005

Controls how Visual SourceSafe displays differences. This option is frequently used with binary files to increase speed and save disk space.

The following table lists ways to use the -D option.


Defines the display used for differences. The display shows a list of lines that were added, deleted, changed, and optimized for readability.


Displays anything other than the latest version of the file in the Visual SourceSafe database.

-DS<line width>

Specifies a standard Visual SourceSafe display. By default, Visual SourceSafe uses this display, with line width calculated to fit on your screen, and no context lines. For example, an inserted line might be displayed as follows:

27 Ins: hello, world

-DU<line width>

Specifies a UNIX-style display, 70-character width, five context lines. The display gives information similar to the standard format used by the UNIX diff utility. For example:


> hello, world

-DV<line width>

Specifies a visual display that shows an entire file, with annotations for the changes. This display shows side-by-side file differences.


Specifies a display with three lines of context around each change.


Specifies a display with no context lines around a change.


Specifies a display of <number> lines around a change.

Visual SourceSafe keeps a file history of change records with comments. However, the database does not store the change record that tracks the file changes. Consequently, when you use the -D option with a command, Visual SourceSafe can retrieve the latest version, but no earlier versions of the file.

If you specify more characters for -DS, -DU, or -DV than your screen permits, long lines wrap. The text wrap might affect the readability of the display.

You can use this option to display all files and subprojects that have been deleted. It can be useful for obtaining a list of files that you want to purge or recover.

Provides a visual display, 35-character width:

ss History -DV35

Provides a UNIX-style display, 70-character width, five context lines:

ss History -DU70X5