Git Cheat Sheet - git command line quick reference

2 years 9 months ago

Git is the open source distributed version control system that facilitates Git activities on your laptop or desktop. Git installation on Linux If you want to install the basic Git tools on Linux via a binary installer, you can generally do so through the basic package-management tool that comes with your distribution. If you’re on Fedora for example, you can use yum:

$ sudo yum install git-all

If you’re on a Debian-based distribution like Ubuntu, try apt-get:

$ sudo apt-get install git-all

For more options, there are instructions for installing on several different Unix flavors on the Git website, at Installing on Mac There are several ways to install Git on a Mac. The easiest is probably to install the Xcode Command Line Tools. On Mavericks (10.9) or above you can do this simply by trying to run git from the Terminal the very first time. If you don’t have it installed already, it will prompt you to install it. If you want a more up to date version, you can also install it via a binary installer. An OSX Git installer is maintained and available for download at the Git website, at Installing on Windows There are also a few ways to install Git on Windows. The most official build is available for download on the Git website. Just go to and the download will start automatically. To get an automated installation you can use the Git Chocolatey package. Note that the Chocolatey package is community maintained. Another easy way to get Git installed is by installing GitHub for Windows. The installer includes a command line version of Git as well as the GUI. It also works well with Powershell, and sets up solid credential caching and sane CRLF settings. You can download this from the GitHub for Windows website, at

Git Cheat Sheet

This cheat sheet summarizes commonly used Git command line instructions for quick reference.

Git Basics

$ git init <directory>

Create empty Git repo in specified directory. Run with no arguments to initialize the current directory as a git repository.

$ git clone <repo>

Clone repo located at <repo> onto local machine. Original repo can be located on the local filesystem or on a remote machine via HTTP or SSH

$ git add <directory>

Stage all changes in <directory> for the next commit. Replace <directory> with a <file> to change a specific file.

$ git commit –m "<message>"

Commit the staged snapshot, but instead of launching a text editor, use <message> as the commit message.

$ git status

List which files are staged, unstaged, and untracked.

$ git log

Display the entire commit history using the default format. For customization see additional options.

$ git diff

Show unstaged changes between your index and working directory  

Undoing Changes

$ git revert <commit>

Create new commit that undoes all of the changes made in <commit>, then apply it to the current branch.

$ git reset <file>

Remove <file> from the staging area, but leave the working directory unchanged. This unstages a file without overwriting any changes.

$ git clean -n

Shows which files would be removed from working directory. Use the -f flag in place of the -n flag to execute the clean.  

Rewriting Git History

$ git commit --amend

Replace the last commit with the staged changes and last commit combined. Use with nothing staged  to edit the last commit’s message.

$ git rebase <base>

Rebase the current branch onto <base>. <base> can be a commit ID, a branch name, a tag, or a relative reference to HEAD.

$ git reflog

Show a log of changes to the local repository's HEAD. Add --relativedate flag to show date info or --all to show all refs.  

Git Branches

$ git branch

List all of the branches in your repo. Add a <branch> argument to create a new branch with the name <branch>

$ git checkout -b <branch>

Create and check out a new branch named <branch>. Drop the -b flag to checkout an existing branch.

$ git merge <branch>

Merge <branch> into the current branch.  

Remote Repositories

$ git remote add <name> <url>

Create a new connection to a remote repo. After adding a remote, you can use <name> as a shortcut for <url> in other commands.  

$ git fetch <remote> <branch>

Fetches a specific <branch>, from the repo. Leave off <branch> to fetch all remote refs.  

$ git pull <remote>

Fetch the specified remote’s copy of current branch and immediately merge it into the local copy.  

$ git push <remote> <branch>

Push the branch to , along with necessary commits and objects. Creates named branch in the remote repo if it doesn’t exist.  

git config

$ git config <name>

Define author name to be used for all commits in current repo. Devs commonly use --global flag to set config options for current user.  

$ git config --global <name>

Define the author name to be used for all commits by the current user.  

$ git config --global <email>

Define the author email to be used for all commits by the current user  

$ git config --global alias.<alias-name> <git-command>

Create shortcut for a Git command. E.g. alias.glog "log --graph --oneline" will set "git glog" equivalent to "git log --graph --oneline"  

$ git config --system core.editor <editor>

Set text editor used by commands for all users on the machine. arg should be the command that launches the desired editor (e.g., vi).  

$ git config --global --edit

Open the global configuration file in a text editor for manual editing  

git log

$ git log -<limit>

Limit number of commits by <limit> . E.g. "git log -5" will limit to 5 commits  

$ git log --oneline

Condense each commit to a single line.  

$ git log --stat

Include which files were altered and the relative number of lines that were added or deleted from each of them.  

$ git log -p

Display the full diff of each commit.  

$ git log --author="<pattern>"

Search for commits by a particular author.  

$ git log --grep="<pattern>"

Search for commits with a commit message that matches <pattern>.  

$ git log <since>..<until>

Show commits that occur between <since> and <until>. Args can be a commit ID, branch name, HEAD, or any other kind of revision reference. Show difference between working directory and last commit.  

$ git log -- <file>

Only display commits that have the specified file.  

$ git log --graph --decorate

--graph flag draws a text based graph of commits on left side of commit msgs. --decorate adds names of branches or tags of commits shown.  

git dif

$ git diff HEAD

Show difference between working directory and last commit.  

$ git diff --cached

Show difference between staged changes and last commit.  

git reset

$ git reset

Reset staging area to match most recent commit, but leave the working directory unchanged.  

$ git reset --hard

Reset staging area and working directory to match most recent commit and overwrites all changes in the working directory.  

$ git reset <commit>

Move the current branch tip backward to <commit>, reset the staging area to match, but leave the working directory alone.  

$ git reset --hard <commit>

Same as previous, but resets both the staging area & working directory to match. Deletes uncommitted changes, and all commits after <commit>.  

git rebase

$ git rebase -i <base>

Interactively rebase current branch onto <base>. Launches editor to enter commands for how each commit will be transferred to the new base.  

git pull

$ git pull --rebase <remote>

Fetch the remote’s copy of current branch and rebases it into the local copy. Uses git rebase instead of merge to integrate the branches.  

git push

$ git push <remote> --force

Forces the git push even if it results in a non-fast-forward merge. Do not use the --force flag unless you’re absolutely sure you know what you’re doing.  

$ git push <remote> --all

Push all of your local branches to the specified remote.  

$ git push <remote> --tags

Tags aren’t automatically pushed when you push a branch or use the --all flag. The --tags flag sends all of your local tags to the remote repo.

Shahid Hussain

Shahid Hussain is a frontend developer and UX Consultant living and working in Sweden. Shahid is specializes in JavaScript development and developed anything from WordPress websites to complex e-commerce JavaScript applications. Shahid can also sketch, from websites to apps and icons, even print material. He works on content-centric, and mobile products, as well as cross-portal user experiences. Photography, music and travelling can trigger his attention.