Frequently used Git commands

The GitLab support team has collected these commands to help you. You may not need them frequently.


Add another URL to a remote, so both remotes get updated on each push

git remote set-url --add <remote_name> <remote_url>

Staging and reverting changes

Remove last commit and leave the changes in unstaged

git reset --soft HEAD^

Unstage a certain number of commits from HEAD

To unstage 3 commits, for example, run:

git reset HEAD^3

Unstage changes to a certain file from HEAD

git reset <filename>

Revert a file to HEAD state and remove changes

To revert changes to a file, you can use either:

  • git checkout <filename>
  • git reset --hard <filename>

Undo a previous commit by creating a new replacement commit

git revert <commit-sha>

Create a new message for last commit

git commit --amend

Add a file to the last commit

git add <filename>
git commit --amend

Append --no-edit to the commit command if you do not want to edit the commit message.


Stash changes

git stash save

The default behavior of stash is to save, so you can also use just:

git stash

Unstash your changes

git stash apply

Discard your stashed changes

git stash drop

Apply and drop your stashed changes

git stash pop

Refs and Log

Use reflog to show the log of reference changes to HEAD

git reflog

Check the Git history of a file

The basic command to check the Git history of a file:

git log <file>

If you get this error message:

fatal: ambiguous argument <file_name>: unknown revision or path not in the working tree.
Use '--' to separate paths from revisions, like this:

Use this to check the Git history of the file:

git log -- <file>

Find the tags that contain a particular SHA

git tag --contains <sha>

Check the content of each change to a file

gitk <file>

Check the content of each change to a file, follows it past file renames

gitk --follow <file>


Use a custom SSH key for a Git command

GIT_SSH_COMMAND="ssh -i ~/.ssh/gitlabadmin" git <command>

Debug cloning

With SSH:

GIT_SSH_COMMAND="ssh -vvv" git clone <git@url>



Debugging with Git embedded traces

Git includes a complete set of traces for debugging Git commands, for example:

  • GIT_TRACE_PERFORMANCE=1: enables tracing of performance data, showing how long each particular git invocation takes.
  • GIT_TRACE_SETUP=1: enables tracing of what git is discovering about the repository and environment it’s interacting with.
  • GIT_TRACE_PACKET=1: enables packet-level tracing for network operations.


Rebase your branch onto the default

The -i flag stands for ‘interactive’. Replace <default-branch> with the name of your default branch:

git rebase -i <default-branch>

Continue the rebase if paused

git rebase --continue

Use git rerere

To reuse recorded solutions to the same problems when repeated:

git rerere

To enable rerere functionality:

git config --global rerere.enabled true