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git - the stupid content tracker


git [--version] [--help] [-C <path>] [-c <name>=<value>]
    [--exec-path[=<path>]] [--html-path] [--man-path] [--info-path]
    [-p|--paginate|--no-pager] [--no-replace-objects] [--bare]
    [--git-dir=<path>] [--work-tree=<path>] [--namespace=<name>]
    <command> [<args>]


Git is a fast, scalable, distributed revision control system with an unusually rich command set that provides both high-level operations and full access to internals.

See gittutorial[7] to get started, then see giteveryday[7] for a useful minimum set of commands. The Git User’s Manual has a more in-depth introduction.

After you mastered the basic concepts, you can come back to this page to learn what commands Git offers. You can learn more about individual Git commands with "git help command". gitcli[7] manual page gives you an overview of the command-line command syntax.

Formatted and hyperlinked version of the latest Git documentation can be viewed at



Prints the Git suite version that the git program came from.


Prints the synopsis and a list of the most commonly used commands. If the option --all or -a is given then all available commands are printed. If a Git command is named this option will bring up the manual page for that command.

Other options are available to control how the manual page is displayed. See git-help[1] for more information, because git --help ... is converted internally into git help ....

-C <path>

Run as if git was started in <path> instead of the current working directory. When multiple -C options are given, each subsequent non-absolute -C <path> is interpreted relative to the preceding -C <path>.

This option affects options that expect path name like --git-dir and --work-tree in that their interpretations of the path names would be made relative to the working directory caused by the -C option. For example the following invocations are equivalent:

git --git-dir=a.git --work-tree=b -C c status
git --git-dir=c/a.git --work-tree=c/b status
-c <name>=<value>

Pass a configuration parameter to the command. The value given will override values from configuration files. The <name> is expected in the same format as listed by git config (subkeys separated by dots).

Note that omitting the = in git -c ... is allowed and sets to the boolean true value (just like [foo]bar would in a config file). Including the equals but with an empty value (like git -c ...) sets to the empty string.


Path to wherever your core Git programs are installed. This can also be controlled by setting the GIT_EXEC_PATH environment variable. If no path is given, git will print the current setting and then exit.


Print the path, without trailing slash, where Git’s HTML documentation is installed and exit.


Print the manpath (see man(1)) for the man pages for this version of Git and exit.


Print the path where the Info files documenting this version of Git are installed and exit.


Pipe all output into less (or if set, $PAGER) if standard output is a terminal. This overrides the pager.<cmd> configuration options (see the "Configuration Mechanism" section below).


Do not pipe Git output into a pager.


Set the path to the repository. This can also be controlled by setting the GIT_DIR environment variable. It can be an absolute path or relative path to current working directory.


Set the path to the working tree. It can be an absolute path or a path relative to the current working directory. This can also be controlled by setting the GIT_WORK_TREE environment variable and the core.worktree configuration variable (see core.worktree in git-config[1] for a more detailed discussion).


Set the Git namespace. See gitnamespaces[7] for more details. Equivalent to setting the GIT_NAMESPACE environment variable.


Treat the repository as a bare repository. If GIT_DIR environment is not set, it is set to the current working directory.


Do not use replacement refs to replace Git objects. See git-replace[1] for more information.


Treat pathspecs literally (i.e. no globbing, no pathspec magic). This is equivalent to setting the GIT_LITERAL_PATHSPECS environment variable to 1.


Add "glob" magic to all pathspec. This is equivalent to setting the GIT_GLOB_PATHSPECS environment variable to 1. Disabling globbing on individual pathspecs can be done using pathspec magic ":(literal)"


Add "literal" magic to all pathspec. This is equivalent to setting the GIT_NOGLOB_PATHSPECS environment variable to 1. Enabling globbing on individual pathspecs can be done using pathspec magic ":(glob)"


Add "icase" magic to all pathspec. This is equivalent to setting the GIT_ICASE_PATHSPECS environment variable to 1.


We divide Git into high level ("porcelain") commands and low level ("plumbing") commands.

High-level commands (porcelain)

We separate the porcelain commands into the main commands and some ancillary user utilities.

Main porcelain commands


Add file contents to the index


Apply a series of patches from a mailbox


Create an archive of files from a named tree


Find by binary search the change that introduced a bug


List, create, or delete branches


Move objects and refs by archive


Checkout a branch or paths to the working tree


Apply the changes introduced by some existing commits


Graphical alternative to git-commit


Remove untracked files from the working tree


Clone a repository into a new directory


Record changes to the repository


Show the most recent tag that is reachable from a commit


Show changes between commits, commit and working tree, etc


Download objects and refs from another repository


Prepare patches for e-mail submission


Cleanup unnecessary files and optimize the local repository


Print lines matching a pattern


A portable graphical interface to Git


Create an empty Git repository or reinitialize an existing one


The Git repository browser


Show commit logs


Join two or more development histories together


Move or rename a file, a directory, or a symlink


Add or inspect object notes


Fetch from and integrate with another repository or a local branch


Update remote refs along with associated objects


Forward-port local commits to the updated upstream head


Reset current HEAD to the specified state


Revert some existing commits


Remove files from the working tree and from the index


Summarize git log output


Show various types of objects


Stash the changes in a dirty working directory away


Show the working tree status


Initialize, update or inspect submodules


Create, list, delete or verify a tag object signed with GPG

Ancillary Commands



Get and set repository or global options


Git data exporter


Backend for fast Git data importers


Rewrite branches


Run merge conflict resolution tools to resolve merge conflicts


Pack heads and tags for efficient repository access


Prune all unreachable objects from the object database


Manage reflog information


Hardlink common objects in local repositories


Manage set of tracked repositories


Pack unpacked objects in a repository


Create, list, delete refs to replace objects



Annotate file lines with commit information


Show what revision and author last modified each line of a file


Find commits yet to be applied to upstream


Count unpacked number of objects and their disk consumption


Show changes using common diff tools


Verifies the connectivity and validity of the objects in the database


Extract commit ID from an archive created using git-archive


Display help information about Git


Instantly browse your working repository in gitweb


Show three-way merge without touching index


Reuse recorded resolution of conflicted merges


Pick out and massage parameters


Show branches and their commits


Check the GPG signature of commits


Check the GPG signature of tags


Git web interface (web frontend to Git repositories)


Show logs with difference each commit introduces

Interacting with Others

These commands are to interact with foreign SCM and with other people via patch over e-mail.


Import an Arch repository into Git


Export a single commit to a CVS checkout


Salvage your data out of another SCM people love to hate


A CVS server emulator for Git


Send a collection of patches from stdin to an IMAP folder


Import from and submit to Perforce repositories


Applies a quilt patchset onto the current branch


Generates a summary of pending changes


Send a collection of patches as emails


Bidirectional operation between a Subversion repository and Git

Low-level commands (plumbing)

Although Git includes its own porcelain layer, its low-level commands are sufficient to support development of alternative porcelains. Developers of such porcelains might start by reading about git-update-index[1] and git-read-tree[1].

The interface (input, output, set of options and the semantics) to these low-level commands are meant to be a lot more stable than Porcelain level commands, because these commands are primarily for scripted use. The interface to Porcelain commands on the other hand are subject to change in order to improve the end user experience.

The following description divides the low-level commands into commands that manipulate objects (in the repository, index, and working tree), commands that interrogate and compare objects, and commands that move objects and references between repositories.

Manipulation commands


Apply a patch to files and/or to the index


Copy files from the index to the working tree


Create a new commit object


Compute object ID and optionally creates a blob from a file


Build pack index file for an existing packed archive


Run a three-way file merge


Run a merge for files needing merging


Creates a tag object


Build a tree-object from ls-tree formatted text


Create a packed archive of objects


Remove extra objects that are already in pack files


Reads tree information into the index


Read, modify and delete symbolic refs


Unpack objects from a packed archive


Register file contents in the working tree to the index


Update the object name stored in a ref safely


Create a tree object from the current index

Interrogation commands


Provide content or type and size information for repository objects


Compares files in the working tree and the index


Compare a tree to the working tree or index


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


Output information on each ref


Show information about files in the index and the working tree


List references in a remote repository


List the contents of a tree object


Find as good common ancestors as possible for a merge


Find symbolic names for given revs


Find redundant pack files


Lists commit objects in reverse chronological order


Show packed archive index


List references in a local repository


Creates a temporary file with a blob’s contents


Show a Git logical variable


Validate packed Git archive files

In general, the interrogate commands do not touch the files in the working tree.

Synching repositories


A really simple server for Git repositories


Receive missing objects from another repository


Server side implementation of Git over HTTP


Push objects over Git protocol to another repository


Update auxiliary info file to help dumb servers

The following are helper commands used by the above; end users typically do not use them directly.


Download from a remote Git repository via HTTP


Push objects over HTTP/DAV to another repository


Routines to help parsing remote repository access parameters


Receive what is pushed into the repository


Restricted login shell for Git-only SSH access


Send archive back to git-archive


Send objects packed back to git-fetch-pack

Internal helper commands

These are internal helper commands used by other commands; end users typically do not use them directly.


Display gitattributes information


Debug gitignore / exclude files


Show canonical names and email addresses of contacts


Ensures that a reference name is well formed


Display data in columns


Retrieve and store user credentials


Helper to temporarily store passwords in memory


Helper to store credentials on disk


Produce a merge commit message


help add structured information into commit messages


Extracts patch and authorship from a single e-mail message


Simple UNIX mbox splitter program


The standard helper program to use with git-merge-index


Compute unique ID for a patch


Git’s i18n setup code for shell scripts


Common Git shell script setup code


Remove unnecessary whitespace

Configuration Mechanism

Git uses a simple text format to store customizations that are per repository and are per user. Such a configuration file may look like this:

# A '#' or ';' character indicates a comment.

; core variables
	; Don't trust file modes
	filemode = false

; user identity
	name = "Junio C Hamano"
	email = ""

Various commands read from the configuration file and adjust their operation accordingly. See git-config[1] for a list and more details about the configuration mechanism.

Identifier Terminology


Indicates the object name for any type of object.


Indicates a blob object name.


Indicates a tree object name.


Indicates a commit object name.


Indicates a tree, commit or tag object name. A command that takes a <tree-ish> argument ultimately wants to operate on a <tree> object but automatically dereferences <commit> and <tag> objects that point at a <tree>.


Indicates a commit or tag object name. A command that takes a <commit-ish> argument ultimately wants to operate on a <commit> object but automatically dereferences <tag> objects that point at a <commit>.


Indicates that an object type is required. Currently one of: blob, tree, commit, or tag.


Indicates a filename - almost always relative to the root of the tree structure GIT_INDEX_FILE describes.

Symbolic Identifiers

Any Git command accepting any <object> can also use the following symbolic notation:


indicates the head of the current branch.


a valid tag name (i.e. a refs/tags/<tag> reference).


a valid head name (i.e. a refs/heads/<head> reference).

For a more complete list of ways to spell object names, see "SPECIFYING REVISIONS" section in gitrevisions[7].

File/Directory Structure

Please see the gitrepository-layout[5] document.

Read githooks[5] for more details about each hook.

Higher level SCMs may provide and manage additional information in the $GIT_DIR.


Please see gitglossary[7].

Environment Variables

Various Git commands use the following environment variables:

The Git Repository

These environment variables apply to all core Git commands. Nb: it is worth noting that they may be used/overridden by SCMS sitting above Git so take care if using Cogito etc.


This environment allows the specification of an alternate index file. If not specified, the default of $GIT_DIR/index is used.


This environment variable allows the specification of an index version for new repositories. It won’t affect existing index files. By default index file version [23] is used.


If the object storage directory is specified via this environment variable then the sha1 directories are created underneath - otherwise the default $GIT_DIR/objects directory is used.


Due to the immutable nature of Git objects, old objects can be archived into shared, read-only directories. This variable specifies a ":" separated (on Windows ";" separated) list of Git object directories which can be used to search for Git objects. New objects will not be written to these directories.


If the GIT_DIR environment variable is set then it specifies a path to use instead of the default .git for the base of the repository. The --git-dir command-line option also sets this value.


Set the path to the root of the working tree. This can also be controlled by the --work-tree command-line option and the core.worktree configuration variable.


Set the Git namespace; see gitnamespaces[7] for details. The --namespace command-line option also sets this value.


This should be a colon-separated list of absolute paths. If set, it is a list of directories that Git should not chdir up into while looking for a repository directory (useful for excluding slow-loading network directories). It will not exclude the current working directory or a GIT_DIR set on the command line or in the environment. Normally, Git has to read the entries in this list and resolve any symlink that might be present in order to compare them with the current directory. However, if even this access is slow, you can add an empty entry to the list to tell Git that the subsequent entries are not symlinks and needn’t be resolved; e.g., GIT_CEILING_DIRECTORIES=/maybe/symlink::/very/slow/non/symlink.


When run in a directory that does not have ".git" repository directory, Git tries to find such a directory in the parent directories to find the top of the working tree, but by default it does not cross filesystem boundaries. This environment variable can be set to true to tell Git not to stop at filesystem boundaries. Like GIT_CEILING_DIRECTORIES, this will not affect an explicit repository directory set via GIT_DIR or on the command line.

Git Commits


see git-commit-tree[1]

Git Diffs


Only valid setting is "--unified=??" or "-u??" to set the number of context lines shown when a unified diff is created. This takes precedence over any "-U" or "--unified" option value passed on the Git diff command line.


When the environment variable GIT_EXTERNAL_DIFF is set, the program named by it is called, instead of the diff invocation described above. For a path that is added, removed, or modified, GIT_EXTERNAL_DIFF is called with 7 parameters:

path old-file old-hex old-mode new-file new-hex new-mode



are files GIT_EXTERNAL_DIFF can use to read the contents of <old|new>,


are the 40-hexdigit SHA-1 hashes,


are the octal representation of the file modes.

The file parameters can point at the user’s working file (e.g. new-file in "git-diff-files"), /dev/null (e.g. old-file when a new file is added), or a temporary file (e.g. old-file in the index). GIT_EXTERNAL_DIFF should not worry about unlinking the temporary file --- it is removed when GIT_EXTERNAL_DIFF exits.

For a path that is unmerged, GIT_EXTERNAL_DIFF is called with 1 parameter, <path>.

For each path GIT_EXTERNAL_DIFF is called, two environment variables, GIT_DIFF_PATH_COUNTER and GIT_DIFF_PATH_TOTAL are set.


A 1-based counter incremented by one for every path.


The total number of paths.



A number controlling the amount of output shown by the recursive merge strategy. Overrides merge.verbosity. See git-merge[1]


This environment variable overrides $PAGER. If it is set to an empty string or to the value "cat", Git will not launch a pager. See also the core.pager option in git-config[1].


This environment variable overrides $EDITOR and $VISUAL. It is used by several Git commands when, on interactive mode, an editor is to be launched. See also git-var[1] and the core.editor option in git-config[1].


If this environment variable is set then git fetch and git push will use this command instead of ssh when they need to connect to a remote system. The $GIT_SSH command will be given exactly two or four arguments: the username@host (or just host) from the URL and the shell command to execute on that remote system, optionally preceded by -p (literally) and the port from the URL when it specifies something other than the default SSH port.

To pass options to the program that you want to list in GIT_SSH you will need to wrap the program and options into a shell script, then set GIT_SSH to refer to the shell script.

Usually it is easier to configure any desired options through your personal .ssh/config file. Please consult your ssh documentation for further details.


If this environment variable is set, then Git commands which need to acquire passwords or passphrases (e.g. for HTTP or IMAP authentication) will call this program with a suitable prompt as command-line argument and read the password from its STDOUT. See also the core.askpass option in git-config[1].


Whether to skip reading settings from the system-wide $(prefix)/etc/gitconfig file. This environment variable can be used along with $HOME and $XDG_CONFIG_HOME to create a predictable environment for a picky script, or you can set it temporarily to avoid using a buggy /etc/gitconfig file while waiting for someone with sufficient permissions to fix it.


If this environment variable is set to "1", then commands such as git blame (in incremental mode), git rev-list, git log, git check-attr and git check-ignore will force a flush of the output stream after each record have been flushed. If this variable is set to "0", the output of these commands will be done using completely buffered I/O. If this environment variable is not set, Git will choose buffered or record-oriented flushing based on whether stdout appears to be redirected to a file or not.


Enables general trace messages, e.g. alias expansion, built-in command execution and external command execution.

If this variable is set to "1", "2" or "true" (comparison is case insensitive), trace messages will be printed to stderr.

If the variable is set to an integer value greater than 2 and lower than 10 (strictly) then Git will interpret this value as an open file descriptor and will try to write the trace messages into this file descriptor.

Alternatively, if the variable is set to an absolute path (starting with a / character), Git will interpret this as a file path and will try to write the trace messages into it.

Unsetting the variable, or setting it to empty, "0" or "false" (case insensitive) disables trace messages.


Enables trace messages for all accesses to any packs. For each access, the pack file name and an offset in the pack is recorded. This may be helpful for troubleshooting some pack-related performance problems. See GIT_TRACE for available trace output options.


Enables trace messages for all packets coming in or out of a given program. This can help with debugging object negotiation or other protocol issues. Tracing is turned off at a packet starting with "PACK". See GIT_TRACE for available trace output options.


Enables performance related trace messages, e.g. total execution time of each Git command. See GIT_TRACE for available trace output options.


Enables trace messages printing the .git, working tree and current working directory after Git has completed its setup phase. See GIT_TRACE for available trace output options.


Enables trace messages that can help debugging fetching / cloning of shallow repositories. See GIT_TRACE for available trace output options.


Setting this variable to 1 will cause Git to treat all pathspecs literally, rather than as glob patterns. For example, running GIT_LITERAL_PATHSPECS=1 git log -- '*.c' will search for commits that touch the path *.c, not any paths that the glob *.c matches. You might want this if you are feeding literal paths to Git (e.g., paths previously given to you by git ls-tree, --raw diff output, etc).


Setting this variable to 1 will cause Git to treat all pathspecs as glob patterns (aka "glob" magic).


Setting this variable to 1 will cause Git to treat all pathspecs as literal (aka "literal" magic).


Setting this variable to 1 will cause Git to treat all pathspecs as case-insensitive.


When a ref is updated, reflog entries are created to keep track of the reason why the ref was updated (which is typically the name of the high-level command that updated the ref), in addition to the old and new values of the ref. A scripted Porcelain command can use set_reflog_action helper function in git-sh-setup to set its name to this variable when it is invoked as the top level command by the end user, to be recorded in the body of the reflog.


More detail on the following is available from the Git concepts chapter of the user-manual and gitcore-tutorial[7].

A Git project normally consists of a working directory with a ".git" subdirectory at the top level. The .git directory contains, among other things, a compressed object database representing the complete history of the project, an "index" file which links that history to the current contents of the working tree, and named pointers into that history such as tags and branch heads.

The object database contains objects of three main types: blobs, which hold file data; trees, which point to blobs and other trees to build up directory hierarchies; and commits, which each reference a single tree and some number of parent commits.

The commit, equivalent to what other systems call a "changeset" or "version", represents a step in the project’s history, and each parent represents an immediately preceding step. Commits with more than one parent represent merges of independent lines of development.

All objects are named by the SHA-1 hash of their contents, normally written as a string of 40 hex digits. Such names are globally unique. The entire history leading up to a commit can be vouched for by signing just that commit. A fourth object type, the tag, is provided for this purpose.

When first created, objects are stored in individual files, but for efficiency may later be compressed together into "pack files".

Named pointers called refs mark interesting points in history. A ref may contain the SHA-1 name of an object or the name of another ref. Refs with names beginning ref/head/ contain the SHA-1 name of the most recent commit (or "head") of a branch under development. SHA-1 names of tags of interest are stored under ref/tags/. A special ref named HEAD contains the name of the currently checked-out branch.

The index file is initialized with a list of all paths and, for each path, a blob object and a set of attributes. The blob object represents the contents of the file as of the head of the current branch. The attributes (last modified time, size, etc.) are taken from the corresponding file in the working tree. Subsequent changes to the working tree can be found by comparing these attributes. The index may be updated with new content, and new commits may be created from the content stored in the index.

The index is also capable of storing multiple entries (called "stages") for a given pathname. These stages are used to hold the various unmerged version of a file when a merge is in progress.


See the references in the "description" section to get started using Git. The following is probably more detail than necessary for a first-time user.

The Git concepts chapter of the user-manual and gitcore-tutorial[7] both provide introductions to the underlying Git architecture.

See gitworkflows[7] for an overview of recommended workflows.

See also the howto documents for some useful examples.

The internals are documented in the Git API documentation.

Users migrating from CVS may also want to read gitcvs-migration[7].


Git was started by Linus Torvalds, and is currently maintained by Junio C Hamano. Numerous contributions have come from the Git mailing list <>. gives you a more complete list of contributors.

If you have a clone of git.git itself, the output of git-shortlog[1] and git-blame[1] can show you the authors for specific parts of the project.

Reporting Bugs

Report bugs to the Git mailing list <> where the development and maintenance is primarily done. You do not have to be subscribed to the list to send a message there.


Part of the git[1] suite