15 Git Commands You May Not Know

2019-03-15 · 4 min read

Using Git may be intimidating at times. There are so many commands and details to learn. The documentation, however, while being immense, is still greatly accessible. Once you overcome the initial feeling of being overwhelmed, the things will start to fall into place. Here is a list of 15 Git commands that you may not know yet, but hopefully they will help you out on a journey to master Git.

1. Modify The Most Recent Commit

git commit --amend

—-amend allows to append staged changes (e.g. to add a forgotten file) to the previous commit. Adding —-no-edit on top of that will amend the last commit without changing its commit message. If there are no changes, -—amend will allow you to reword the last commit message.

For more: git help commit

2. Interactively Add Selected Parts of Files

git add -p

-p (or —patch) allows to interactivly select parts of each tracked file to commit. This way each commit contains only related changes.

For more: git help add

3. Interactively Stash Selected Parts of Files

git stash -p

Similar to git-add , you can use --patch option to interactively select parts of each tracked file to stash.

For more: git help stash

4. Stash with untracked

git stash -u

By default, when stashing, the untracked files are not included. In order to change that bevahiour and include those files as well you need to use -u parameter. There is also -a (—all) which stashes both untracked and ignored files altogether, which is probably something you usually won’t need.

5. Interactively Revert Selected Parts of Files

git checkout -p

--patch can be also used to selectively discard parts of each tracked file. I aliased this command as git discard

For more: git help checkout

6. Switch to Previous Branch

git checkout -

This command allows you to quickly switch to the previously checked out branch. On a general note - is an alias for the previous branch. It can be used with other commands as well. I aliased checkout to co so, it becomes just git co -

7. Revert All Local Changes

git checkout .

If you are sure that all of your local changes can be discarded, you can use . to do it at once. It is, however, a good practice to always use checkout --patch.

8. Show changes

git diff --staged

This command shows all staged changes (those added to the index) in contrast to just git diff which only shows changes in the working directory (without those in the index).

For more: git help diff

9. Rename Branches Locally

git branch -m old-name new-name

If you want to rename the currently checked out branch, you can shorten this command to the following form:

git branch -m new-name

For more: git help branch

10. Rename Branches Remotely

In order to rename a branch remotely, once you renamed your branch locally, you need to first remove that branch remotely and then push the renamed branch again.

git push origin :old-name
git push origin new-name

11. Open All Files with Conflicts at Once

Rebasing may lead to conflicts, the following command will open all files which need your help to resolve these conflicts.

git diff --name-only --diff-filter=U | uniq  | xargs $EDITOR

12. What changed?

git whatchanged —-since=‘2 weeks ago’

This command will show a log with difference each commit introduces within the last two weeks.

13. Remove file from last commit

Image you committed a file by mistake. You can quickly remove that file from the last commit by combining rm and commit --amend commands:

git rm —-cached <file-to-remove>
git commit —-amend

14. Find Branches

git branch --contains <commit>

This command will show all branches that contain a particular commit.

15. Optimize the repository locally

git gc --prune=now --aggressive

For more: git help gc


Although I like CLI a lot, I highly recommend checking Magit to futher step up your Git game. It is one of best pieces of software I used.

There is, also, a fantastic overview of recommended Git workflows available via help command. Be sure to read it thoroughly!

git help workflows

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