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Ephraim Atta-Duncan
Ephraim Atta-Duncan

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πŸ”± Git Commands You Didn't Know


One of my favorite things about Git is being as simple as it is and also being customisable and one of those features is aliases. Git supports aliases which means you can give your commands any name you want. I prefer to set aliases for really long commands to avoid searching for them everytime I need it.

The alias config in Git works like this.

git config --global alias.[new_alias] "[previous_git_command]"

# Example
git config --global commit

From the example above, I won't need git commit again. git save will work good enough.

Add quotes around commands with multiple options.

git recommit

git config --global alias.recommit 'commit --amend -m'

git commit --amend allows you to change the last commit message. recommit is simpler and much easier to remmember.

# Change the last commit message with recommit
git recommit "New commit message"

# [master 64175390] New commit message
#  Date: Tue Sep 22 15:09:11 2020 +0000
#  1 file changed, 2 insertions(+)
#  create mode 100644 vue.js

git commend

git config --global alias.commend 'commit --amend --no-edit'

Commit amend with --no-edit flag allows you to commit the new changes in repo with the last commit made, so you don't have to repeat the commit messages again.

git search

git config --global 'grep'

# Example
git search [search_term]

git grep allows you to search in the repository for a keyword and it returns the various matches. It is cool, but I don't know what grep means, please tell me if you do. I prefer search instead, easy to remmember and easy to use.

git here

git config --global '!git init && git add . && git commit -m "init πŸ¦„"'

Usually when I initialize a new repo, I'll stage all the files and I'll commit with an initial commit message. git here does it all in one step. Just run it in the folder you want to make a new repo and you are good to go.

git who

git config --global alias.who 'blame'

# Example
git who index.ts
# 641753902 (Ephraim Atta-Duncan 2020-09-22 15:09:11 +0000 1)
# 641753902 (Ephraim Atta-Duncan 2020-09-22 15:09:11 +0000 2) console.log("who?") 

git blame is used to examine the contents of a file line by line and see when each line was last modified and who the author of the modifications was. If there was a bug, in a line, you find who who did it and blame them.

git zip

git config --global 'archive --format=tar.gz -o ../repo.tar.gz'

# Example
git zip [branch_name]

The archive commands allows you to create tarballs and zips of your whole repo or some. git zip will make it easy to remmember. Just add the branch name.

git newbie

git config --global alias.newbie 'checkout --orphan'

# Example
git newbie [new_branch_name]

git checkout with the --orphan flag allows you to create a branch without any history from the parent branch. No commit, fresh out of the box branch.

git clonely

git config --global alias.clonely 'clone --single-branch --branch'

# Example
git clonely [branch_name] [remote_url]

git clonely v3
# Cloning into 'vue-apollo'...
# remote: Enumerating objects: 2841, done.
# remote: Total 2841 (delta 0), reused 0 (delta 0), pack-reused 2841
# Receiving objects: 100% (2841/2841), 1.92 MiB | 330.00 KiB/s, done.
# Resolving deltas: 100% (1743/1743), done.

git clone with --single-branch --branch flags allows you to clone a specific branch from a repo and I can say, I've googled it more than 10 times. Aliasing it is better.

git plg

git config --global alias.plg "log --graph --pretty=format:'%C(yellow)%h%Creset -%Cred%d%Creset %s %Cgreen| %cr %C(bold blue)| %an%Creset' --abbrev-commit --date=relative"

# Example
git plg # plg - Pretty Log

There is nothing wrong with git log except that it is a little ugly, no color differences and if you want to customize it, you'll have to do some amount of googling. Fortunately, we have aliasing. Alias the command and you'll get a very pretty log of everything.

git fresh

git config --global alias.fresh "filter-branch --prune-empty --subdirectory-filter"

# Example
git fresh [subfolder] [branch_name]
git fresh src main # Don't do this unless you know what you are doing

The series of commands that fresh replace is used to create a new repository out of the contents of a subfolder. filter-branch with it many flags take a the contents of a specified subfolder and replaces the content in the while repo with the content of the subfolder.


Add this to your .gitconfig file.

    recommit = commit --amend -m
    commend = commit --amend --no-edit
    here = !git init && git add . && git commit -m \"Initialized a new repository\"
    search = grep
    who = blame
    zip = archive --format=tar.gz -o ../repo.tar.gz
    lonely = clone --single-branch --branch
    plg = log --graph --pretty=format:'%C(yellow)%h%Creset -%Cred%d%Creset %s %Cgreen| %cr %C(bold blue)| %an%Creset' --abbrev-commit --date=relative
    fresh = filter-branch --prune-empty --subdirectory-filter

Discussion (22)

eljayadobe profile image

My aliases:

st = status -s -uno
co = checkout
coffee = "!f(){ if [ `date -j +%a` = 'Fri' ]; then echo 'Friday! Time for beer!'; else echo 'Time for a coffee break. Go get a cup of joe.'; fi };f"
master = checkout master
rmbr = "!f(){ git branch -d \"${1}\"; git push origin --delete \"${1}\"; };f"
mkbr = "!f(){ local args=\"$*\"; local gituser=$(git config; gituser=${gituser%@*}; if [ \"$args\" = \"\" ]; then args=\"$(date \"+%Y-%b-%d\")\"; fi; args=${gituser:-${USER}}/$args; args=$(echo \"$args\" | tr ' [A-Z]' '_[a-z]'); git checkout -b \"$args\"; };f"
ls = "!f(){ if [ -z \"${1}\" ]; then echo 'git ls [HASH] β€’ show the files involved in the commit'; else git diff --name-only \"${1}^..${1}\"; fi; };f"
at = rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD
unstage = restore --staged
unadd = restore --staged
discard = checkout --
alias = config --get-regexp ^alias\\.
d = difftool
ds = difftool --staged
branches = branch --all

git ls hash
β€” is useful to show the files involved in a commit.

dephraiim profile image
Ephraim Atta-Duncan Author

I must say, they are pretty awesome.

catriel profile image
Catriel Lopez

Grep stands for "Global Regular Expression Printer". It gives you a clue about how it works, which is important, but "git search" doesn't.

I really like the plg and zip aliases, so I'm definitively stealing those! Thanks for writing!

bloodgain profile image
Cliff • Edited on

That's more of a backronym, really. It actually comes from the relatively ancient ed line editor's command g/re/p which basically means "global search / for a regular expression / print matching lines". So it's at least a fairly accurate backronym to the source.

The g command still sort of lives on in vi/Vim's ex mode commands. The most common use these days is probably for g/pattern/d, which does a global search for the pattern and deletes matching lines, sort of the opposite of the original g/re/p command.

catriel profile image
Catriel Lopez

Oh, I didn't know that! Thanks!

dephraiim profile image
Ephraim Atta-Duncan Author

Thanks for grep too. I guess search isn't

goodevilgenius profile image
Dan Jones

Read a bit more about standalone grep. It's an important part of any unix system.

eabase profile image

Nice one there Ephraim.
Been using git for years, and still found something useful here.
PS. "grep" is selecting something using regular expressions.

dephraiim profile image
Ephraim Atta-Duncan Author

Wow. Thanks

winstonpuckett profile image
Winston Puckett

Oh man. That git here. Where has that been all my life?

srepollock profile image
Spencer Pollock • Edited on

This one is my current favorite. Highly recommended after a git fetch --all to visualize where the branches are at.

    tree = log --graph --oneline --all
wdg profile image
Wesley De Groot

My favorite is git recommit.

ankitbeniwal profile image
Ankit Beniwal πŸ™‚

Now I will have the proof in order to blame someone for a bug. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚


dephraiim profile image
Ephraim Atta-Duncan Author


gusdecool profile image
Budi Arsana

My only and must have alias git up

alias.up=pull --all --prune

It fetch all branches, delete tracking remote branches that not exist and pull the update.

dephraiim profile image
Ephraim Atta-Duncan Author


dsbarnes profile image

I learned of git cherry-pick top of last week, thought I'd toss that one in here too.
Great article!

picwellwisher12pk profile image
Amir Hameed

waow. nice

tcelestino profile image
Tiago Celestino

Nice!! I’ll update my .gitconfig now!!

keefdrive profile image

nice ...thanks for sharing

pollobatgit profile image

Some names are creative. Nice read. πŸ‘

dephraiim profile image
Ephraim Atta-Duncan Author