DEV Community


Posted on • Originally published at on

How to clean your commits with Git rebase

You know that moment when you are in local, trying to code a first version of a task. But then you need to checkout on another branch for a reason (fix/check something/continue to work on something else)?

Well, you need to stop what you were working on and it happens that you don't have a proper commit message to write. So you come up with a quick message not very informative: "save", "changes" or whatever.

And it happens several times. So you end up with a messy git directory.

When comes the day where your fix/feature is ready for a Pull Request, you check your git history. And it is dirty. Very dirty. You know what I mean?

Well if you are still in your local environment you can fix this problem: the holy and feared git rebase.

Git rebase

Warning: Rebasing on a branch shared with others can lead to serious problems. Read more advanced posts about it, this post is only about local rewriting/cleaning.

If you are in local and didn’t pull/push any changes, you can use:

git rebase -i HEAD~n

# with n the number of commits to group together
# -i stands for interactive, you can manually pick and squash, rewrite, ... commits
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

For instance, let’s say I want to group these 2 commits:

commit xxxxxae742qwdqdj12xx78xxxxxxfxxxxxd70w (HEAD -> feature/add-the-best-feature)
Author: Francois <>
Date:   Tue Dec 1 00:17:45 2020 +0100


commit yyyyyxqwqwjhbdhwqyyyyyyy57893yyyndd3er
Author: Francois <>
Date:   Wed Nov 25 10:35:42 2020 +0100

    start to work
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

The steps to group them together and clean the git logs. git rebase -i HEAD~2

And replace the pick of commit yyyyy with a squash (an interactive menu should appear to you)
and then saved/exit.
This will allow you to modify the commit message. For instance, I will use: “feat: Work on this amazing feature”.

Once you save you should see the following in git log:

commit 123456789012345678945678 (HEAD -> feature/add-the-best-feature)
Author: Francois <>
Date:   Wed Nov 25 10:35:42 2020 +0100

    feat: Work on this amazing feature
Enter fullscreen mode Exit fullscreen mode

Et voila 🙂

Top comments (0)