Git command cheatsheet

These are some handy utility git functions to do useful things with command line git.

Understanding the status and changes in the repo

See status of current git branch

git status

See all full log of commit history

git log

See short version of git commits

git log --oneline

Search for specific commits that mention a string

git log -S 'Covid'

Search for specific commits that mention a string

git log --all --grep="CCG-434"

Checkout commit before a certain date in a given branch

git checkout git rev-list -1 --before="Jul 2 2020" master

Generate a CSV from git commit history

This saves a csv file called history.csv to the relative root folder.



finds any pdf files (upper or lower case).

For each record found, read a repository & build a history with links to the source files.

echo 'Date, Filename, Author, Github URL, Direct Download URL' > ./history.csv && git ls-files '*.pdf' '*.PDF' -z | xargs -0 -L1 -I'{}' git log --date=short --format='%ad, {}, %an, [https://github.com/cagov/covid19/blob/%H/{}](https://github.com/cagov/covid19/blob/%25H/%7B%7D), [https://github.com/cagov/covid19/raw/%H/{}](https://github.com/cagov/covid19/raw/%25H/%7B%7D)' -- '{}' >> ./history.csv

See last updated date for all branches

git for-each-ref --sort='-committerdate:iso8601' --format=' %(committerdate:iso8601)%09%(refname)' refs/heads

Get first commit ever

git rev-list --max-parents=0 HEAD

Search full logs history for file that was renamed

git log --follow --find-copies-harder filename

Note: github’s history view does not use this command, so logs for renamed filed may be cut off at the date of renaming. (There is debate as to whether or not git mv preserves the history or not.)

See changes from a particular commit

git show commitguid


git show 92a830e9f110fe1379621e835374b3ea76cda792

Compare current branch to another (diff)

git diff other_branch_name

Compare current branch to another, but only see the names of files

git diff other_branch_name --name-only

Compare two commits or branches

git diff commit_guid..other_commit_guid
git diff branch..otherbranch

See all remote branches

git remote show origin

Working with changes

Update all checked out branches since last fetch

git fetch --all

This puts the other branches in the memory of git and able to be checked out out by calling the checkout without creating a new branch.

Fetch all updated data from origin, but doesn’t merge it into your working branch

git fetch origin

List all branches

git branch

List all remote branches

git branch -r

Checkout a remote branch

This assumes origin is called origin.

git checkout --track origin/branch_name

Checkout files from another branch

git checkout branch_name

Checkout a branch

git checkout branch_name

Create a branch

git checkout -b new_branch_name

Delete a branch

git branch -D desired_branch_name

Delete a remote branch

This assumes origin is called origin.

git push origin --delete feature/login

Get data from remote server and merge it into your working branch

git pull origin main
git pull origin feature/2020-11-13-feature-name

Save a commit message

git commit -m "Descriptive text of your commit message."

If Jira and github repository are connected, adding the ticket name in the commit message automaticallys link the tickets.

git commit -m "Descriptive text of your commit message. CCG-434"

Edit a commit message for the last commit

This only works for local edits.

git commit --amend "New text"

See github’s documentation of how to change a commit message

Undoing commits & changes

Totally reset your branch back to the origin of the current branch

This loses any changes.

git reset --hard HEAD

Revert to a prior commit

git revert commit_guid

Managing tags

List tags

git tag

Tag a commit

git tag v1.x.x

You’ll need to an established version naming pattern for any releases.

Push tag

git push origin tagname

Rename a tag

git tag new old
git tag -d old
git push origin :refs/tags/old
git push --tags

Delete remote tags

git push --delete origin tagname
git push origin :tagname

Manage remotes

Show all remote branches in your git config

git remote

Add remote origin

git remote add path_to_origin

e.g. git remote add https://github.com/cagov/covid19.git

Create a fork

git remote add fork git@github.com:username/covid19.git

See URLs for remote origins

git remote -v

Apply a change from the tip of another branch

This applies the last commit from one branch to another branch.

git cherry-pick other_branch_name

Update a local branch, applying all changes from remote and replaying your changes back from the point at which they diverged

Start with the current branch:


Apply all changes from master branch to current branch:

git rebase master

You will go through an interactive dialog that plays all changes from master and your changes, ideally leaving your commits as the most recent commits. If there are merge conflicts, you’ll need to resolve them. This can get tricky the longer time has gone on.

If it fails, you can use this to back out of it.

git rebase --abort

Advanced rebasing

You can also rebase off a branch, or a commit.

git rebase --onto commitguid

Look up the parent commit

If you’ve really got a mess, it can be helpful to look up the parent commit.

git rev-list --parents -n 1 commitguid

Remove untracked files

git clean

Sources & Resources

Created and maintained by Office of Digital Innovation