Topics ▾ Version 1.6.1 ▾ git-merge-file last updated in 2.17.1


git-merge-file - Run a three-way file merge


git merge-file [-L <current-name> [-L <base-name> [-L <other-name>]]]
	[-p|--stdout] [-q|--quiet] <current-file> <base-file> <other-file>


git-merge-file incorporates all changes that lead from the <base-file> to <other-file> into <current-file>. The result ordinarily goes into <current-file>. git-merge-file is useful for combining separate changes to an original. Suppose <base-file> is the original, and both <current-file> and <other-file> are modifications of <base-file>, then git-merge-file combines both changes.

A conflict occurs if both <current-file> and <other-file> have changes in a common segment of lines. If a conflict is found, git-merge-file normally outputs a warning and brackets the conflict with lines containing <<<<<<< and >>>>>>> markers. A typical conflict will look like this:

<<<<<<< A
lines in file A
lines in file B
>>>>>>> B

If there are conflicts, the user should edit the result and delete one of the alternatives.

The exit value of this program is negative on error, and the number of conflicts otherwise. If the merge was clean, the exit value is 0.

git-merge-file is designed to be a minimal clone of RCS merge; that is, it implements all of RCS merge's functionality which is needed by git[1].


-L <label>

This option may be given up to three times, and specifies labels to be used in place of the corresponding file names in conflict reports. That is, git merge-file -L x -L y -L z a b c generates output that looks like it came from files x, y and z instead of from files a, b and c.


Send results to standard output instead of overwriting <current-file>.


Quiet; do not warn about conflicts.


git merge-file README README.upstream

combines the changes of and README.upstream since README, tries to merge them and writes the result into

git merge-file -L a -L b -L c tmp/a123 tmp/b234 tmp/c345

merges tmp/a123 and tmp/c345 with the base tmp/b234, but uses labels a and c instead of tmp/a123 and tmp/c345.


Written by Johannes Schindelin <>


Documentation by Johannes Schindelin and the git-list <>, with parts copied from the original documentation of RCS merge.


Part of the git[1] suite