Ephraim Atta-Duncan
Ephraim Atta-Duncan

Ephraim Atta-Duncan

๐Ÿ”ฑ Git Commands You Didn't Know

๐Ÿ”ฑ Git Commands You Didn't Know

Ephraim Atta-Duncan's photo
Ephraim Atta-Duncan
ยทSep 27, 2020ยท

4 min read

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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 alias.save 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 config --global alias.search '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 alias.here '!git init && git add . && git commit -m "init ๐Ÿฆ„"'

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 alias.zip '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 https://github.com/vuejs/vue-apollo
# 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
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