I recently had the need to compare a couple of CSV files. In particular, each CSV file had a unique value for a particular column.

I had two CSVs that looked similar to this. Each CSV had an OrderNumber field and each order number was unique.

Screen Shot 2015-01-17 at 7.31.21 PM

I needed a way to match up order numbers in each CSV. Once the rows were matched up I then needed to find out if any of the fields in that row were different. This function is what came out of this need.

Truthfully, I'm not too proud of all the nested �foreach �loops. I probably could have done it with less code but I chose to be pragmatic and leave it as is. This has only been tested on CSVs with less than 100 rows each. You've been warned!

Here's the output you can expect.

function Compare-CsvFile {
			This function compares two CSV files and all columns inside the CSV files based off
			of a unique row identifier.  If any field is different in the row it will output
			the fields and values as object properties
		.PARAMETER ReferenceCsv
			The CSV file to base matches against.
		.PARAMETER DifferenceCsv
			The CSV file to match ReferenceCsv against.
		.PARAMETER UniqueIdentifier
			This is the name of the field in both CSVs that contains unique values.  This is used to compare the rows
			in each CSV.
			PS> Compare-CsvFile -ReferenceCsv 'C:\csv1.csv' -DifferenceCsv 'C:\csv2.csv' -UniqueIdentifier OrderNumber
			This example assumes each CSV file referenced has a field called OrderNumber and each order number in that field
			is unique inside each of the CSV files.  The function will read all order numbers in the ReferenceCsv and attempt
			to find a match in the OrderNumber field in DifferenceCsv.  Once a match is found, it will then read all fields and values
			in those rows and if any value does not match the other it will be output.
		param (
				if (!(Test-Path -Path $_ -PathType Leaf)) {
					throw "The reference CSV file $($_) cannot be found"
				} else {
				if (!(Test-Path -Path $_ -PathType Leaf)) {
					throw "The difference CSV file $($_) cannot be found"
				} else {
		process {
			try {
				## Import both CSV to begin comparisons
				$RefCsvData = Import-Csv -Path $ReferenceCsv
				$DiffCsvData = Import-Csv -Path $DifferenceCsv
				## Begin checking each row in the reference CSV
				foreach ($RefCsvRow in $RefCsvData) {
					## Find the row match in the difference CSV from the unique ID specified
					$DiffCsvRow = $DiffCsvData | where { $_.$UniqueIdentifier -eq $RefCsvRow.$UniqueIdentifier }
					## If any matches were found
					if ($DiffCsvRow) {
						## There should be only be a single match.  If the UniqueIdentifier param is actually unique
						## there should always be only one match
						if ($DiffCsvRow -is [array]) {
							throw "Multiple matches found in difference CSV for unique ID $UniqueIdentifier"
						} else {
							## Beging checking each column (property) in the reference CSV excluding the unique ID property
							foreach ($RefCsvProp in ($RefCsvRow.PsObject.Properties | where { $_.Name -ne $UniqueIdentifier})) {
								## Begin comparing the difference CSV columns (properties) for each row
								foreach ($DiffCsvProp in $DiffCsvRow.PSObject.Properties) {
									## If the field names match we can then compare the values
									if ($RefCsvProp.Name -eq $DiffCsvProp.Name) {
										## Create the output object
										$CompareObject = @{
											$UniqueIdentifier = $RefCsvRow.$UniqueIdentifier
											'Field' = $RefCsvProp.Name
											'ReferenceCsvValue' = $RefCsvProp.Value
											'DifferenceCsvValue' = $DiffCsvProp.Value
										if ($RefCsvProp.Value -ne $DiffCsvProp.Value) {
											$CompareObject.Result = '<>'
										} else {
											$CompareObject.Result = '=='
					} else {
						Write-Verbose -Message "No matches found for $UniqueIdentifier in difference CSV"
			} catch {
				Write-Error -Message "Error: $($_.Exception.Message) - Line Number: $($_.InvocationInfo.ScriptLineNumber)" -LogLevel '3'

Join the Jar Tippers on Patreon

It takes a lot of time to write detailed blog posts like this one. In a single-income family, this blog is one way I depend on to keep the lights on. I'd be eternally grateful if you could become a Patreon patron today!

Become a Patron!