Topics ▾ Version 2.12.0 ▾ gitk last updated in 2.12.0


gitk - The Git repository browser


gitk [<options>] [<revision range>] [\--] [<path>…​]


Displays changes in a repository or a selected set of commits. This includes visualizing the commit graph, showing information related to each commit, and the files in the trees of each revision.


To control which revisions to show, gitk supports most options applicable to the git rev-list command. It also supports a few options applicable to the git diff-* commands to control how the changes each commit introduces are shown. Finally, it supports some gitk-specific options.

gitk generally only understands options with arguments in the sticked form (see gitcli[7]) due to limitations in the command-line parser.

rev-list options and arguments

This manual page describes only the most frequently used options. See git-rev-list[1] for a complete list.


Show all refs (branches, tags, etc.).


Pretend as if all the branches (tags, remote branches, resp.) are listed on the command line as <commit>. If <pattern> is given, limit refs to ones matching given shell glob. If pattern lacks ?, *, or [, /* at the end is implied.


Show commits more recent than a specific date.


Show commits older than a specific date.


Sort commits by date when possible.


After an attempt to merge stops with conflicts, show the commits on the history between two branches (i.e. the HEAD and the MERGE_HEAD) that modify the conflicted files and do not exist on all the heads being merged.


Mark which side of a symmetric difference a commit is reachable from. Commits from the left side are prefixed with a < symbol and those from the right with a > symbol.


When filtering history with <path>…​, does not prune some history. (See "History simplification" in git-log[1] for a more detailed explanation.)


Additional option to --full-history to remove some needless merges from the resulting history, as there are no selected commits contributing to this merge. (See "History simplification" in git-log[1] for a more detailed explanation.)


When given a range of commits to display (e.g. commit1..commit2 or commit2 ^commit1), only display commits that exist directly on the ancestry chain between the commit1 and commit2, i.e. commits that are both descendants of commit1, and ancestors of commit2. (See "History simplification" in git-log[1] for a more detailed explanation.)


Trace the evolution of the line range given by "<start>,<end>" (or the function name regex <funcname>) within the <file>. You may not give any pathspec limiters. This is currently limited to a walk starting from a single revision, i.e., you may only give zero or one positive revision arguments. You can specify this option more than once.

Note: gitk (unlike git-log[1]) currently only understands this option if you specify it "glued together" with its argument. Do not put a space after -L.

<start> and <end> can take one of these forms:

  • number

    If <start> or <end> is a number, it specifies an absolute line number (lines count from 1).

  • /regex/

    This form will use the first line matching the given POSIX regex. If <start> is a regex, it will search from the end of the previous -L range, if any, otherwise from the start of file. If <start> is “^/regex/”, it will search from the start of file. If <end> is a regex, it will search starting at the line given by <start>.

  • +offset or -offset

    This is only valid for <end> and will specify a number of lines before or after the line given by <start>.

If “:<funcname>” is given in place of <start> and <end>, it is a regular expression that denotes the range from the first funcname line that matches <funcname>, up to the next funcname line. “:<funcname>” searches from the end of the previous -L range, if any, otherwise from the start of file. “^:<funcname>” searches from the start of file.

<revision range>

Limit the revisions to show. This can be either a single revision meaning show from the given revision and back, or it can be a range in the form "<from>..<to>" to show all revisions between <from> and back to <to>. Note, more advanced revision selection can be applied. For a more complete list of ways to spell object names, see gitrevisions[7].


Limit commits to the ones touching files in the given paths. Note, to avoid ambiguity with respect to revision names use "--" to separate the paths from any preceding options.

gitk-specific options


Command to be run each time gitk has to determine the revision range to show. The command is expected to print on its standard output a list of additional revisions to be shown, one per line. Use this instead of explicitly specifying a <revision range> if the set of commits to show may vary between refreshes.


Select the specified commit after loading the graph. Default behavior is equivalent to specifying --select-commit=HEAD.


gitk v2.6.12.. include/scsi drivers/scsi

Show the changes since version v2.6.12 that changed any file in the include/scsi or drivers/scsi subdirectories

gitk --since="2 weeks ago" -- gitk

Show the changes during the last two weeks to the file gitk. The "--" is necessary to avoid confusion with the branch named gitk

gitk --max-count=100 --all -- Makefile

Show at most 100 changes made to the file Makefile. Instead of only looking for changes in the current branch look in all branches.


User configuration and preferences are stored at:

  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/git/gitk if it exists, otherwise

  • $HOME/.gitk if it exists

If neither of the above exist then $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/git/gitk is created and used by default. If $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is not set it defaults to $HOME/.config in all cases.


Gitk was the first graphical repository browser. It’s written in tcl/tk.

gitk is actually maintained as an independent project, but stable versions are distributed as part of the Git suite for the convenience of end users.

gitk-git/ comes from Paul Mackerras’s gitk project:




A repository browser written in C++ using Qt.


A minimal repository browser and Git tool output highlighter written in C using Ncurses.


Part of the git[1] suite