Git: various tips

by Gregor Uhlenheuer on June 7, 2012

This post is a fairly rough collection of things on git I consider worth saying and noting for myself (as a reference). Hopefully I will keep on updating this with new tips and improvements.


Git aliases

These are my default git aliases I configured on every box I work on:

br      = branch
ci      = commit
co      = checkout
df      = diff
lg      = log --graph --oneline --decorate --all
st      = status --branch --short
unadd   = reset HEAD
ffmerge = merge --ff-only
fixup   = commit --amend -C HEAD

You can define your aliases via git config:

Various settings

Use color where possible:

Use a mergetool for diffing and merging:

Basic workflow

Changing, adding, committing

Stage parts/hunks of your changes interactively:

Stage files interactively:

git add -i

Checkout/discard parts of the current changes in your working directory:


This is how you create a new branch for changes you already did and switch those on a new branch (this is a command I use all the time):

Show branched that are branches that are completely merged into the current branch:

git branch --merged

This would be the opposite - branches that do have unique commits in it:

git branch --no-merged

Find a branch that have a particular commit in it:

git branch --contains 7e830ac7

Merging and rebasing

There is actually one pretty standard use case of rebasing which is to rebase your topic branch off the latest version of the master branch. The usual way is probably something like this:

But there is actually a pretty nice way to speed up this workflow without actually touching your local master branch:

git fetch && git rebase origin/master

Use the interactive rebasing:

Inspecting the history/changes

Show all commits reachable by branchA that are not reachable by branchB:

git log branchA ^branchB

A typical example might be: “which commits are in my topic branch that are not yet merged into master?”:

git log feature ^master

Another one: “which commits I just fetched from origin that are not yet merged into master”:

git log origin/master ^master

I don’t get tired of this: “which new commits will be pushed to origin?”:

git log master ^origin/master

Important log options you will use from time to time:

Who modified what changes in the specified file?

Git remotes

This is how you would remove a branch on a remote:

You can easily check out a specific branch and track its remote:

If you want to get the work from a remote branch that you don’t want to add permanently to your remotes you can add the remote address to the pull command:

git checkout -b user
git pull 'git://'

Various tips

Get more human-readable names for a specific commit:

git describe HEAD
git describe HEAD@{1.month.ago}

Get more verbose output of curl when communicating over http like cloning:

Show the last commit that contains a specific string (regular expression match):

git show :/fixed
git show :/^Merged

Git bundle

Create a bundle file:

git bundle create repo.bundle master

Now you can send the binary file via email, copy it on a usb drive and the like and treat it like a remote:


Some really great sites or talks on stuff about git:

This post is tagged with git and dvcs