Useful Git Commands

Published on Saturday, 25 July 2020

[first few sections are complete, later sections yet to be updated]


A push to the remote repo consists of following two steps,

  1. To add changes to the staging area
  2. push the staged changes to remote repo

How to add files or changes to staged area (to commit later)

[update not complete yet]

Note: commit stores file locally. Commit is not sent to remote repository unless a push command is applied.

Here, we give some examples of adding files/directories to staged area. Staged area[1] means the stage before commit. Anything that are modified (added/changed/deleted) in the stage area will be performed whenever a commit command is applied.

To add files/directories to staged area, at first, we modify or change files,

Then we can add all those changes to staged area. This will include any new file as well,

git add --all

But if we want to add only modifications on previously added files on repo we do this,

git add --update

This means new files won't be added to the staged area.

Or, we can add selectively a few (after all modifications are done on those files), the files we want to commit we add them by applying a series of git add commands,

git add file-1
git add file-2
git add file-n

Or, we can choose to add directory or files inside another directory (is this recursive, has to check),

git add code_python/*

Remove a dir entirely,

git rm -r _old_code/res/

How to remove a file,

git rm file1.txt
git commit --message "remove file1.txt"

How to rename or move a file in the repo,

git mv original_name new_name

Pleae don't be confused by "name" here. It supports renaming using full path as wel. It also support renaming a directories.

Removing a file from staged area, ref

git reset /location/to/file

Note, this will not touch the file; only removes it from git staged area.

Show the changes which have been staged (git add`ed but not committed)?, ref

git diff --cached

The changes we made are called deltas.

Viewing Logs, Files and Status

git --no-pager log

How to commit staged changes (git commit)

Commit to actually push the changes to local repo (will be in remote as soon as pushed). If you are doing this for the first time in the git client you installed, you need to configure committer email and user-name,

git config --global "John Doe"
git config --global "John.Doe@Domain.Com"

To check if those are set,

git config --global --get
git config --global --get

Get git config global info all props,

$ git config --global --get-regexp .* The Matrix

git commit is different than svn commit as svn commit pushes to remote repo immediately whereas git commit does not. git usually have the entire copy just like remote repo, svn does not have entire copy.

Note: commit stores file locally. Commit is not sent to remote repository unless a push command is applied (we will discuss push command on next section).

To add the commit message use -m switch in arguments as showed below, this supports multiline,

git commit --message "first commit message"

Here is an example of multi-line commit message, surrounding the entire commit message with double quotes works,

git commit --message "Implemented secure functions - line1
    line2 - example line that means code won't work on Linux, we'll have to add separate
    line3 - branch for Linux
    line4 - Update on logic based on tests"

In powershell, single quote works for multi-line commit message,

git commit --message "line1

Pushing to remote(sending deltas to remote repo server)

Then use "git push origin branch_name"

Here is an example of Pushing to remote master branch,

git push origin master

To show info about git repo's remote origin,

git remote show origin

git undo, edit commit etc

To Rollback to a specific previous commit we do,

git reset --hard COMMIT_SHA

Commands above does a hard reset which means it does not preserve any change locally too!

To preserve changes locally so we can work on it,

git reset COMMIT_SHA

Finally, we can push this change to remote forcefully (we should only do this if nobody else pushed changes to remote repo).

git push --force

To roll back to previous to last commit we do,

git reset HEAD~

To hard reset,

git reset --hard HEAD~

We can edit commit message of the last commit anytime before push,

git commit --amend

If we want to use commit message from a file,

git commit --file filepath.ext

Commit message from file (amend previous one),

git commit --edit --file filepath.ext

After pushing you still can edit the commit message in 2 steps, step 1:

git commit --edit --file filepath.ext

step 2: Do a force push (ths is usually combined with git commit --amend),

git push --force origin master

However, if someone has made another commit, in the mean time, those commits will be gone. So be aware of that!

To edit previous commit messages that are pushed,

git rebase --interactive 88af37e

Then, we press Ctrl + X,

git rebase --continue

Examples look like this,

# Commands:
# p, pick = use commit
# r, reword = use commit, but edit the commit message
# e, edit = use commit, but stop for amending
# s, squash = use commit, but meld into previous commit
# f, fixup = like "squash", but discard this commit's log message
# x, exec = run command (the rest of the line) using shell
# These lines can be re-ordered; they are executed from top to bottom.
# If you remove a line here THAT COMMIT WILL BE LOST.
# However, if you remove everything, the rebase will be aborted.
# Note that empty commits are commented out


git push --force origin dev

To edit the root of the tip (the first commit),

git rebase --interactive --root

Note: a force push destroys commits made by others (if they pushed in the mean time).

To correct commit author name upto specific commit (probably? or is it only for single commit?),

git reset author
git rebase --interactive --preserve-merges 7508a2627bee2a28535e7ae306c51788fd287f9f

mark all of them as 'e' and keep applying following commands. In this example, the author's email address is '',

git commit --amend --author "Alex Roy <>" --no-edit
git rebase --continue

Changing the message of the most recently pushed commit, ref

git push --force-with-lease example-branch

Removing a single commit from history

There might be conflicts during the operation, some commit order gets changed as well (not order by date anymore), Be aware this is dangerous and might now work,

git rebase --onto dadfe3e^ dadfe3e HEAD

Then, after conflict resolution, ref

git rebase --continue

Stash Commands

Be careful while applying these commands.

Stashing all local changes Hard - stash all local changes and pull updated code. [6]

This is better than ‘git stash’ It deletes unstaged changes,

git checkout -- .

Clean up all non version controlled files (-d: recurse into untracked directories),

git clean --force -d

Find last commit id, To get long commit id,

git rev-parse HEAD

To get short commit id,

git rev-parse --short HEAD

Checking specific revision of a file or getting specific revision

Checkout specific revision of a file,

git checkout abcde file/to/restore

git checkout specific commit

git checkout -b old_state f5bf0d670686143a67177e9d81474687535a761e

Or do following,

git reset --hard origin/master
git fetch
git checkout -b old_state f5bf0d6

git checkout can be useful in restoring a mistakenly delete file as well or to stash changes on a specific file,

git checkout abcde file/to/restore

This restore the file of the current revision. [4]

View a commit,

git show commit_id

Show specific revision of a file, ref

git show commit_id:file_path
git show 61c2ac6:src/


Check history of all git commits, snapshots using reflog[7] argument,

$ git reflog
813d871 (HEAD -> source, origin/source) HEAD@{0}: commit: more contents added to posts
7eabf08 HEAD@{1}: commit: Add Windows Cmd Cache idle
79ff45d HEAD@{2}: commit: Add more content to pwsh post
3c7eee2 HEAD@{3}: commit (amend): tags syntax updated for wyam
... ...

Conflict Resolution

Most common approach in resolving conflict is to check which files are having conflict,

git status

And what changes are coming from what side that is causing the conflict,

git diff

Addionally, a file path can be specified to see what changes are coming from the remote and local,

git diff /path/to/file

Then, we use a merge tool or manually modify the content file and finalize the conflict resolution. Afterwards, when are done doing that with that file we do,

git add file_path

When conflict resolved for all files finally we do,

git commit --message 'conflict resolved commit and so on..'

However, in some case conflict resolution can be easier. For example, you might want to discard local changes and just accept remote forcefully. In such a case we can follow this:

A basic overview how to merge is on this gitguys' article

git fetch

Accept their change for single file, ref

git checkout --theirs src/


Create new branch from current branch's tip and switch to newly created branch,

git checkout -b dev_branch

Show current branch and other branches,

git branch

Delete a branch on your local repo,

git branch --delete branch_already_merged

Delete a branch from remote,

git push origin --delete main

Created detached head (no branch) If we want our git repo to have no current branch then we can do this,

git checkout COMMIT-SHA-ID

Change remote URL syntax,

git remote set-url origin_name URL


git remote set-url origin

Add an origin to a just initialized repo,

git remote add origin

git push examples,

git push [remote-name] [branch-or-commit-name]
git push origin dev_branch

Git configuration Files

When we perform git config it applies only to the current project. The configuration file that gets update is,


When we apply git config --global it updates following file,


If none of these exist then the systems git config file is applied. According to priority these files are presented below,

/etc/gitconfig (guessing I don't recall the exact location)

Push the renamed branch to remote and set upstream,

git push origin --set-upstream dev

Github UseCase Examples

Renaming main branch

  1. Rename branch

    git branch --move main dev

  2. Using github UI, let's set default branch to dev, visiting following URL,

Please replace USER and REPO with correct user name and repository name.

  1. Finally, delete the branch from remote,

    git push origin --delete main


  1. git-scm - Getting Started - Git Basics
  2. agaric - undo, remove staged file
  3. SO - Git Pull While Ignoring Local Changes