What is your favourite Git command?

munamohamed94 profile image Muna Mohamed ・1 min read

I'm curious to know, what is your favourite Git command?

Mine is "git commit --amend", which let's you change your last commit message. I manage to mess up a commit message at least once a day πŸ˜…

For the sake of clarity, please include what the git command does so we can all learn from one another! πŸ˜„


Editor guide
git blame

The git blame command shows what revision and author last modified each line of a file.

It can also be used to destroy friendships and create awkward moments at work when the application stops working and you want to check who made the last change to the line of code that breaks everything. Example of a possible conversation:

Steve: Production is down, and I don't know what's happening.
Muna: Did you change anything?
Steve: No! It just started happening all of a sudden.
Muna: There's an error on this line, let me check who made the change with git blame.
Steve: (gulp)


I use Visual Studio Code addon to have blame output always on the code until I read it!!!!


Yep, WebStorm also has this handy feature showing an author and date of change of every line.
I use it all the time πŸ€“

Gitkraken also has blame built-in and will show the author and commit message to left of every line. Easier than using the terminal.


I feel like the first priority would be to fix the error and then second find out whose fault it was :D

git stash
git stash pop

for keeping file changes without commit. for example, you're doing your new feature and then bug found on production so you need to switch to new branch for hot fix. you can use git stash to keep your changes on feature branch and when you finish fixing bug you can use git stash pop for get back your file changes


git stash push -m "entry description" -p :D


I always find myself using git stash -u so it stashes new files in addition to changed files


This is my favorite too!!

git reflog

To recover a deleted branch


This one save my life


I might be wrong. But are branches not just archived when they are "deleted"? At least that's how I learner it. πŸ€” Or can jou permanently delete a branch.


Git runs a garbage collector automatically from time to time.
If you delete a branch and the commits on it have never been merged with another branch, they will, eventually, disappear.


Not just deleted branches, deleted commits also! :)


My favorite command is...

git log --all --graph --decorate --oneline

My alias for it is gitpretty. Git + Ascii art, what more could you want.


This is also one of my favorites, my ridiculous alias for this one is gloga, standing for graphical log all (branches).


I like to pull a git reset --hard when I need to start fresh.


I use:

git reset HEAD --hard

My alias is:


I also have an alias forgit, which is just g.


I have aliased it as nuke


Wow g πŸ˜‚

I would've done that, but g for me is cd $argv; l (l == ls). So my git aliases are just two-letter prefixes plus abbrevs, like gts for git status, gtca for git commit --amend


git checkout -b == make a new branch off of your current branch and switch to it
git branch -m == rename your current branch

Branches are "free" in git. When I have mentored other engineers, the most empowering and liberating moment for them is almost always when they see git as a safety net. That tends to go hand in hand with the realization of how powerful branches are.

Got a nasty rebase coming up? Just git checkout -b with the same branch name first, but with some descriptive naming like -before-rebasing at the end. If things get messed up during the rebase, you can just undo everything and go back to before you started the rebase.

Coworker force pushed a branch you were branched off of, and now you can't pull easily due to conflicts? Rename your branch, then checkout their branch from upstream, and you can take your time and compare and fix it locally between 2 branches instead of in the middle of a pull.

Done some git acrobatics and aren't 100% sure then changes are right, but still want to push them up to remote? Make a new branch off of the remote branch so you have a local copy if anything goes wrong.

Made some large changes that you want to keep, but may be going in the wrong direction? Make a new branch, commit the changes, then go back to the original branch and continue working.

I highly recommend naming branches the same, but appending dashes with more explanatory comments, like -refactor or -test-stubs.

Git is a safety net that let's you relax and not worry about the state of your local folder, and liberally creating tons of branches is the key.

git commit --amend --no-edit

is one of my favorite too! I even made an alias for this command.
it is now

git cane

my favorite too is

git rebase --continue

after resolving conflict with nvim


Due to my OCD my favorite is git status and when I'm super anxious I'll add the untracked-files option git status --untracked-files="all"


git status every single time I'm about to commit.

Can't be too careful!


One of my favorites is git add -p. It does an interactive mode to review and stage changes as chunks as opposed to the whole file. Sometimes I would want to commit all of them, other times I'd like to keep some for the next commit or stash them instead. It's like git diff and git add combined.

git nevermind

It's not a real git command, but it's an alias to wipe out any uncommitted changes, new files, etc. Basically gets you back to a clean state (i.e., the the last commit.) I do it all the time! (Warning: there's no going back once you run it though!)

This is how to set it up in your ~/.gitconfig:

nevermind = !git reset --hard HEAD && git clean -d -f


Ooo, that's an interesting one! Very fitting alias too, haha πŸ˜„! Will have to add that one to the toolbox πŸ‘πŸΎ. Thanks, Hamish!


Glad you like it Muna! I love the name too, it always matches how I'm feeling when I run it. πŸ˜…


haha good one :D


commit --amend is useful, but I think I have to vote for cherry-pick. It makes trivial what can be a right pain in some other version control systems. And if I can cast two votes, let the second one be for bisect.

My least favourite is commit -a -m "...". It makes it too easy to commit many unrelated changes with an unhelpful message. And of course I use it all the damned time.

git bisect

Git bisect saved my ass a few times last few weeks. Git bisect helps you find out when a previously unnoticed anomaly was introduced. You mark your current version as bad and some previous commit as good (where you know that anomaly didn't exist) and then Git bisect continues "bisecting" your commit history, you continue to mark the current version as either good or bad, ultimately identifying the commit where this unnoticed then bug was introduced.

This can also be used to identify commit when a certain feature was added too. In short, I find it useful especially working with a codebase that does not have much test coverage.


git push --force origin master


For when you just want to go home right?


Nope, in case, if I would like to be fired as fast as possible.
Of course before that command I should run a few another command, rm - R . & git add . & git commit -m"init of project".
And probably never be hired again ;))



git merge --abort

I am a Terminal user, and I even stage my files from the command line.

The most used and my favourite command is:

git add --patch

With this I can choose what hunk I want to add to the staged status. This is very powerful tool which can be a bit confusing, but just a little bit of practice I really liked when I discovered.

It also helped me to practice TDD because if the dirty file list is huge, it takes too much time to figure out what to add. If you want to do small iterations between commits, this kind of enforces you too!


The git bisect command checkouts all versions one by one between two revision until you find the version which is not working.

$ git bisect start
$ git bisect bad # Current version is bad
$ git bisect good v2.6.13-rc2 # v2.6.13-rc2 is known to be good

git stash save "i am totally not to forget this changes"
git commit --amend -m "Previous name was too awful I need to change it"

git checkout-b <name-of-new-sub-branch>

Basically, my most used git command. It creates a new branch off the current branch, it's amazing for new features and hot fixes or just random tests.

Closely followed by git status

Can't be too careful...


git init

New day, new project, woot woot.

alias nah="git clean -df && git checkout -- ."

I wish this wasn't true but it's probably

git --reset hard

For when it truly all goes to the fan.


So dangerous, my heart rate increased just reading it. But it feels so good to clear out a bad idea and start fresh.


So true, any time I have had to use it I always stop and ask myself if I am sure.


$&*! I have been working on MASTER !

git stash
git checkout -b new_branch
git stash apply

I learned to love:

git rebase --interactive [branch]

in order to re-shuffle, combine, split or re-word commits.
To re-write (re-create) a cleaner commit-history.


git log --follow <file path> shows the commit history for a file. It’s helpful if you are investigating changes over time. πŸ€“


Amend is nice, I do it a lot on a daily basis.

git revert

For some unknown reason running git revert feels good to me πŸ˜„ It will basically undo what was done for the commit(s) specified.

I use it for removing buggy features right before a deployment or just broken code that was accidentally added. For this to work you would need to commit often and group features into their own commits.

Another weird use case is resetting a file. For ex. in one community repository I have a file called upcoming. When an event is upcoming that file is updated and when a event is over the update is reverted so the upcoming file reverts back to the placeholder text There are currently no events planned.... I might be abusing this command but it works for me πŸ˜„


For me git reset --soft HEAD 1, I have a git alias for this git undo. This is particularly useful for me when I want to fix small mistakes in committed files, without adding a new commit.

Also, git reflog. Very useful to get info about commits from deleted branches.


HEAD~1, you missed the tilde. Also, --soft and 1 are the defaults, and @ can be used as a shorthand for HEAD when it's part of a relative graph distance expression, so it's simply

git reset @~

undo is still shorter : )

git fetch origin branch:branch

Often when changing branches you might do

git checkout branch
git pull

Which is fine, but if your local 'branch' is way behind origin then this can result in a lot of filesystem thrashing

If you do

git fetch origin branch:branch
git checkout branch

Then you will checkout in to a branch that has already been fast forwarded, avoiding all the thrashing.

git commit -m "adding a feature" .

It means that I almost completed a feature πŸš€πŸš€πŸš€


I like "git checkout - " which let you checkout to previous branch.


I'm using surprisingly few every day, I realized, and most of them have been already mentioned. Okay, I have a couple tricks up the sleeve. And I'll name my favorite command later. A bit of suspense, ok?

#1. Make your common command short

git config --edit [--global]

This sounds mundane, but look how far you can get with it:

  b  = branch
  bb = branch --all
  bv = branch -vv
  co = checkout
  d  = diff
  dd = diff --staged
  lg = log --graph --format='%C(142)%h %C(36)%ad%C(auto)%d %s' --date=format:%y%m%d
  s  = status --short --branch
  ss = status --no-short
  w  = show
  rebase = true
  enabled = true
  autosquash = true
  followTags = true
  lineNumber = true
  patternType = perl
  commands = ls-files ls-remote ls-tree rev-parse -citool -gui -gitk -request-pull -send-email -shortlog -whatchanged -credential-gcloud.sh

Besides aliases, I am including a few often missed great defaults to other common commands. YMMV, of course, but I'll go over them, in this and next sections.

  • pull.rebase = true: If you are working through a pull request workflow, you want your commits stay on top of the source branch. You may get conflicts on a pull, but if you do, this means you will get them anyway when sending a PR, so this only saves you same embarrassment. But once you resolved them and then continue on your branch...
  • rerere.enabled = true (for "REcord REbase REsolution" or something like that) is the best thing since bottled beer! Without it, on another pull you'll get the same conflicts. With it, Git remembers how you resolved them, and applies the recorded resolution. Don't see them bastards again!
  • completion.commands = ...: hide/show what you get after a 'git <TAB>'. Those with the '-' are hidden from the default set. Those without are added if normally hidden. And since a package so helpfully decided to put 'git-credential-gcloud.sh' on the PATH, why would I want a non-command 'credential-gcloud.sh' in the completion list? Hide it! If you use "lower-level" commands, like ls-files or ls-remote, expose them to autocompletion! Note: This is new in 2.20, broken in 2.21, and fixed by 2.24.
  • push.followTags = true pushes all annotated tags reachable from the commit you're pushing. Might have been the default, but that would break compatibility with the Git past behavior and piss off a lot of graybeards. I'm only 51 years young, and am already pissed off all too easily. YMMV.

And now (...drum roll...) 'git s' is my favorite command. Succinct and readable output..

2. git grep

No-one's favorite? C'mon! Where are all calls to this function in my project? 'git grep PATTERN' runs grep on your worktree files from the current directory and all down below recursively; see man for more. The [grep] settings above add grep switches '-P' and '-n', respectively. Non-Perl regexps are even more 1980's than disco balls!

3. Three future PRs in one branch? Set rebase.autosquash=true

git commit --fixup <committish>

is what you really want. You work on adding three features at once, and, unfortunately, all of them are dependent. You want to send the first in a PR, then the second, then the third--this is the only way to keep PRs smaller and reviewable. Even found yourself doing this?

$ git lg -3
* d0835482 200423 Add flapdoodle enabled by bamboozler
* 28eb1f47 200421 Replace kaboodler with bamboozler
* e0ce67fc 200421 Fix threading to enable use of bamboozler

Now you're working on adding the flapdoodle, but also fixed another threading bug. No biggie. Stage the fix for the top commit first (git add -p, if needed), and amend the top commit (git commit --amend --no-edit). That's a well-known trick. But now commit all the remaining changes, that threading bug that your brand new flapdoodle uncovered, thanks to the bamboozler:

$ git commit -a --fixup e0ce67

After some testing, you fix more of the flapdoodle and commit a fixup, but then... oh no, what an embarrassing comment typo in the threading fix! So you commit another fixup. _Applying a fixup to the previous fixup reduces chances of a conflict, but doesn't eliminate the possibility.

$ git lg -6
* 6c022160 200426 fixup! fixup! Fix threading to enable use of bamboozler
* 6f34aa90 200426 fixup! Add flapdoodle enabled by bamboozler
* e0ce67fc 200426 fixup! Fix threading to enable use of bamboozler
* 6f34aa90 200426 Add flapdoodle enabled by bamboozler
* 28eb1f47 200421 Replace kaboodler with bamboozler
* e0ce67fc 200421 Fix threading to be able to switch to bamboozler
* . . . .  (origin/master)

And now is a magic time! Note that the --autosquash switch is best set your default setting: it affects only fixups, and is required for the fixup magic to work.

$ git rebase -i --autosquash  HEAD~6  # or origin/master.

And, wonderfully, when an editor opens, fixups are already marked to be applied as fixups, no room for error. Just save the script with no changes, and the rebase leaves you with three clean separate commits, each with the original message. Fork a branch off the bottommost one, send a PR, after it's accepted pull the remote master, rebase your branch on it (if you applied reviewer's comments, you'll get conflicts in that commit, but you just 'git rebase --skip' your initial version of the commit; you might get more conflicts because of these changes in the remaining upper commits, which you'll need to resolve), fork another branch from the bottommost commit... You got the idea. Another option is to 'git cherry-pick' the second bottommost commit to a new off-maser branch to sent it for a review.

4. Not Git proper, but git rev-parse...

...can be wrestled into a very powerful command-line parser for complex tools written in bash, with Git-style subcommands and help messages. Since this is not about Git proper, I'll just leave a link to the parser source and a representative tool sourcing and using it. Search for the occurrences of substrings ArgParse and OPT_, and you'll grok it. The first file is well-commented but still ugly when fixes a couple of Git idiosyncrasies, but the second, with the code which uses it... well, I would not marry it either, bit it's still much simpler and readable with the parser than without it. git rev-parse may provide a lot of leverage if you're facing a task of writing a 5K-line-long bash code tool suite for IaC management of a scientific computation cluster in the cloud...


git add -p for me. I often drift off and make a lot of changes while working on a particular problem, this helps me separate out individual changes to create better and more focused commits.


git add <path> --patch and git rebase master --interactive

The former is for adding specific lines of code to stage, and the latter is for rebasing current branch on top of the master in interactive mode.


I am really liking the new commands of git 2.23.

In my opinion, it was an excellent idea to split git checkout in git switch and git restore.

git status

Didn't really know about

git commit--amend

Sometimes, I am unhappy with my commit messages. Thank you for the knowledge @Muna Mohamed


I love this git command

$ git stash

It lets me save uncommitted changes so I can do some rebasing, solve a couple of conflicts then get back to my work

$ git stash pop

Not really a git command per se, but once I use the OhMyZSH shell, that have lots of useful alias to git commands, I love the alias gwip and gunwip.


$ alias | grep gwip -
gwip='git add -A; git rm $(git ls-files --deleted) 2> /dev/null; git commit --no-verify --no-gpg-sign -m "--wip-- [skip ci]"'

This alias allows me to quickly commit everything, tracked and not tracked changes.

How to use

The current state of my branch is:

$ git status
On branch shipfast-on-docker_approov2-kotlin-wip
Changes not staged for commit:
  (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
  (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)

    modified:   README.md

Untracked files:
  (use "git add <file>..." to include in what will be committed)


no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")

Using gwip:

$ gwip
[shipfast-on-docker_approov2-kotlin-wip c7a96dd] --wip-- [skip ci]
 2 files changed, 1 insertion(+), 1 deletion(-)
 create mode 100644 test.dev.to

That results in this git log:

commit c7a96ddbcca0e4ef6d0f9085cd8d420610eccaa7 (HEAD -> shipfast-on-docker_approov2-kotlin-wip)
Author: Paulo Silva <paulos@criticalblue.com>
Date:   Mon Oct 7 15:25:41 2019 +0100

    --wip-- [skip ci]

 README.md   | 2 +-
 test.dev.to | 0
 2 files changed, 1 insertion(+), 1 deletion(-)

So the message --wip-- [skip ci] tells to the CI pipeline to not run for this commit, and at same time the --wip-- part will be used by the alias gunwip to undo what we have done with the gwip.


$ alias | grep gunwip -                                                                                                                                                                                   
gunwip='git log -n 1 | grep -q -c "\-\-wip\-\-" && git reset HEAD~1'

The gunwip alias will undo any commit where the message contains --wip--, thus will undo what we have done with gwip.

$ gunwip
Unstaged changes after reset:

Leaving us with:

$ git status
On branch shipfast-on-docker_approov2-kotlin-wip
Changes not staged for commit:
  (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
  (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)

    modified:   README.md

Untracked files:
  (use "git add <file>..." to include in what will be committed)


no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")


During my day I use a lot this 2 commands in order to keep progressing in the code until I am finished with what I am doing, thus be able to proper commit the code.

I also push this wip commits upstream to be protected of an hard disk failure. I do this several times a day, and in the end of the day.


Mine is rebase

git rebase -i Because its like a swiss army knife.


I nearly always get the direction of this backwards and screw up my repo


Mine is a "git command combo".

git remote add old-project ../old-project
git fetch old-project
git checkout -b feature/merge-old-project
git merge -S --allow-unrelated-histories old-project/master
git push origin feature/merge-old-project
git remote rm old-project

Merging 2 Git Repositories With History

πŸ’ Dance


git fetch --prune

To cleanup old local branches.

git gc

To cleanup unnecessary files and optimize the local repository

git retract --overflow --unprint-errors
git bless --retrograde
git bless --assume-mutable-gnomes

git status

Love seeing all the file that have not been added to git being displayed in red on GitBash or another command-line tool.


git merge branch-name lol


git push origin master --force :)


git stash to save uncommitted changes.
git stash pop to continue working on them, after you had to take a break to work on something more important.

git push origin dev -f

I just learned about

git config --global push.default current

Turns that into

git push -f
git add .
git commit -m "fix all"

when I forgot to commit some fixes and to many thing to recall ⚑️


git commit -am'text here'

git rebase β€”interactive <hash of commit before i started hacking>
git push β€”force-with-lease

As I clean up my branch after addressing pull request comments and before we merge.


I know the one I hate. Rebase. I am still learning so I am confused about it's use


I almost always get interactive rebase backwards. For some reason -i confuses the heck out of me and I avoid it more than I should.

Though I really like to utilize a rebase with master regularly to make sure I dont get behind.

git fetch --all
git rebase master

You and me both, Theo! A senior dev recommended using Git Fork, which makes using git rebase a lot easier because you can visually see what's going on with the branches and commits. Do check it out!