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Topics ▾ Version 2.0.3 ▾ git-diff-tree last updated in 2.0.3


git-diff-tree - Compares the content and mode of blobs found via two tree objects


'git diff-tree' [--stdin] [-m] [-s] [-v] [--no-commit-id] [--pretty]
	      [-t] [-r] [-c | --cc] [--root] [<common diff options>]
	      <tree-ish> [<tree-ish>] [<path>...]


Compares the content and mode of the blobs found via two tree objects.

If there is only one <tree-ish> given, the commit is compared with its parents (see --stdin below).

Note that git diff-tree can use the tree encapsulated in a commit object.



The id of a tree object.


If provided, the results are limited to a subset of files matching one of these prefix strings. i.e., file matches /^<pattern1>|<pattern2>|.../ Note that this parameter does not provide any wildcard or regexp features.


recurse into sub-trees


show tree entry itself as well as subtrees. Implies -r.


When --root is specified the initial commit will be shown as a big creation event. This is equivalent to a diff against the NULL tree.


When --stdin is specified, the command does not take <tree-ish> arguments from the command line. Instead, it reads lines containing either two <tree>, one <commit>, or a list of <commit> from its standard input. (Use a single space as separator.)

When two trees are given, it compares the first tree with the second. When a single commit is given, it compares the commit with its parents. The remaining commits, when given, are used as if they are parents of the first commit.

When comparing two trees, the ID of both trees (separated by a space and terminated by a newline) is printed before the difference. When comparing commits, the ID of the first (or only) commit, followed by a newline, is printed.

The following flags further affect the behavior when comparing commits (but not trees).


By default, git diff-tree --stdin does not show differences for merge commits. With this flag, it shows differences to that commit from all of its parents. See also -c.


By default, git diff-tree --stdin shows differences, either in machine-readable form (without -p) or in patch form (with -p). This output can be suppressed. It is only useful with -v flag.


This flag causes git diff-tree --stdin to also show the commit message before the differences.


git diff-tree outputs a line with the commit ID when applicable. This flag suppressed the commit ID output.


This flag changes the way a merge commit is displayed (which means it is useful only when the command is given one <tree-ish>, or --stdin). It shows the differences from each of the parents to the merge result simultaneously instead of showing pairwise diff between a parent and the result one at a time (which is what the -m option does). Furthermore, it lists only files which were modified from all parents.


This flag changes the way a merge commit patch is displayed, in a similar way to the -c option. It implies the -c and -p options and further compresses the patch output by omitting uninteresting hunks whose the contents in the parents have only two variants and the merge result picks one of them without modification. When all hunks are uninteresting, the commit itself and the commit log message is not shown, just like in any other "empty diff" case.


Show the commit itself and the commit log message even if the diff itself is empty.

Limiting Output

If you’re only interested in differences in a subset of files, for example some architecture-specific files, you might do:

git diff-tree -r <tree-ish> <tree-ish> arch/ia64 include/asm-ia64

and it will only show you what changed in those two directories.

Or if you are searching for what changed in just kernel/sched.c, just do

git diff-tree -r <tree-ish> <tree-ish> kernel/sched.c

and it will ignore all differences to other files.

The pattern is always the prefix, and is matched exactly. There are no wildcards. Even stricter, it has to match a complete path component. I.e. "foo" does not pick up foobar.h. "foo" does match foo/bar.h so it can be used to name subdirectories.

An example of normal usage is:

torvalds@ppc970:~/git> git diff-tree --abbrev 5319e4
:100664 100664 ac348b... a01513...    git-fsck-objects.c

which tells you that the last commit changed just one file (it’s from this one:

commit 3c6f7ca19ad4043e9e72fa94106f352897e651a8
tree 5319e4d609cdd282069cc4dce33c1db559539b03
parent b4e628ea30d5ab3606119d2ea5caeab141d38df7
author Linus Torvalds <> Sat Apr 9 12:02:30 2005
committer Linus Torvalds <> Sat Apr 9 12:02:30 2005

Make "git-fsck-objects" print out all the root commits it finds.

Once I do the reference tracking, I'll also make it print out all the
HEAD commits it finds, which is even more interesting.

in case you care).


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