Version Control using Git

Before you start

The following resources contain useful information on version control systems:

Git CheatSheet


Git CheatSheet,(c) 2011,, inc., URL:


When you first setup Git, set up your user name and email address so your first commits will record them properly:

git config --global "My Name"
git config --global ""

Basic Git Workflow Example

Initialise a new git repository, then stage all the files in the directory and finally commit the initial snapshot:

$ git init
$ git add .
$ git commit -m 'initial commit'

Create a new branch named feature_A, check it out so it is the active branch, then edit and stage some files and finally commit the new snapshot:

$ git branch feature_A
$ git checkout feature_A
$ (edit files)
$ git add (files)
$ git commit -m 'add feature A'

Switch back to the master branch, reverting the feature_A changes you just made, then edit some files and commit your new changes directly in the master branch context.:

$ git checkout master
$ (edit files)
$ git commit -a -m 'change files'

Merge the feature_A changes into the master branch context, combining all your work. Finally delete the feature_A branch.:

$ git merge feature_A
$ git branch -d feature_A

Setup & Init

Git configuration, and repository initialisation & cloning.

command description
git config [key] [value] set a config value in this repository
git config global [key] [value] set a config value globally for this user
git init initialise an existing directory as a Git repository
git clone [url] clone a Git repository from a URL
git help [command] get help on any Git command

Stage & Snapshot

Working with snapshots and the Git staging area.

command description
git status show the status of what is staged for your next commit and what is modified in your working directory
git add [file] add a file as it looks now to your next commit (stage)
git reset [file] reset the staging area for a file so the change is not in your next commit (unstage)
git diff diff of what is changed but not staged
git diff --staged diff of what is staged but not yet committed
git commit commit your staged content as a new commit snapshot
git rm [file] remove a file from your working directory and unstage

Branch & Merge

Working with Git branches and with the stash.

command description
git branch list your branches. a * will appear next to the currently active branch
git branch [branch-name] create a new branch at the current commit
git checkout [branch] switch to another branch and check it out into your working directory
git checkout -b [branch] create a branch and immediately switch to it
git merge [branch] merge another branch into your currently active one and record the merge as a commit
git log show commit logs
git stash stash away the currently uncommitted modifications in your working directory temporarily
git stash apply re-apply the last stashed changes

Share & Update

Fetching, merging and working with updates from another repository.

command description
git remote add [alias] [url] add a git URL as an alias
git fetch [alias] fetch down all the branches from that Git remote
git merge [alias]/[branch] merge a branch on the server into your currently active branch to bring it up to date
git push [alias] [branch] push the work on your branch to update that branch on the remote git repository
git pull fetch from the URL tracked by the current branch and immediately try to merge in the tracked branch

Inspect & Compare

Examining logs, diffs and object information.

command description
git log show the commit history for the currently active branch
git log branchB..branchA show the commits on branchA that are not on branchB
git log --follow [file] show the commits that changed file, even across renames
git diff branchB...branchA show the diff of what is in branchA that is not in branchB
git show [SHA] show any object in Git in human-readable format

Contributing on GitHub

To contribute to a project that is hosted on GitHub (or another repository hosting site, such as BitBucket) you can fork the project online, then clone your fork locally, make a change, push back to GitHub and then send a pull request, which will email the maintainer.:

fork project on github
$ git clone
$ cd project
$ (edit files)
$ git add (files)
$ git commit -m 'Explain what I changed'
$ git push origin master
go to github and click ‘pull request’ button

Visual Git Cheatsheet


Git Cheatsheet, (c) 2009-2012, Andrew Peterson url:

A list of Git commands, categorized on what they affect.

The interactive online version provides a description for each of the commands.


A place to hide modifications made to the workspace, while working on something else. (The stash area is not required in a “normal” workflow.)

Git commands that affect the stash


The local working area.

Git commands that affect the workspace

Staging area

The “index”– or “staging area” – holds a snapshot of the content of the working area, and it is this snapshot that is taken as the contents of the next commit.

commands that affect the staging area

Local repository

A local area under version control. Typical branches: master, dev (for local development), feature_x, bugfix_y

commands that affect the local repository

Upstream repository

Typically a remote area under version control. Default name is ‘origin’. Typical branches here: master, shared_feature_x, release_y.

commands that affect the upstream repository

How to...

This section include miscellaneous Git commands to perform different operations.

Set up a merge tool to resolve conflicts

Configure kdiff3 as the merge tool (in Windows):

$ git config --global mergetool.kdiff3.path 'C:\Program Files (x86)\KDiff3\kdiff3.exe'
$ git config --global merge.tool kdiff3

Invoke kdiff3:

$  git mergetool <file>

Force an update from the upstream repository

This operation will discard all changes in the local repository:

$ git reset --hard HEAD
$ git pull

Add untracked files to the set of files under version control

A pattern can be used. For example, this will add any new or untracked *.rst file:

$ git add $(git ls-files --other *.rst)

Remove multiple files from the set of files under version control

This will remove multiple files that have already been deleted from disk:

$ git rm $(git ls-files --deleted)

Alternatively, edit the .git\config file, and add the following lines:

   rma = !git ls-files --deleted -z | xargs -0 git rm

Then run the command using the alias:

$git rma

Disable quoted file names

Special character and spaces in file names can be problematic. To disable quotes file names (Windows Unicode Support), use:

$  git config [--global] core.quotepath off