git-checkout - Switch branches or restore working tree files


   git checkout [-q] [-f] [-m] [<branch>]
   git checkout [-q] [-f] [-m] --detach [<branch>]
   git checkout [-q] [-f] [-m] [--detach] <commit>
   git checkout [-q] [-f] [-m] [[-b|-B|--orphan] <new_branch>] [<start_point>]
   git checkout [-f|--ours|--theirs|-m|--conflict=<style>] [<tree-ish>] [--] <paths>...
   git checkout [-p|--patch] [<tree-ish>] [--] [<paths>...]


   Updates files in the working tree to match the version in the index or
   the specified tree. If no paths are given, git checkout will also
   update HEAD to set the specified branch as the current branch.

   git checkout <branch>
       To prepare for working on <branch>, switch to it by updating the
       index and the files in the working tree, and by pointing HEAD at
       the branch. Local modifications to the files in the working tree
       are kept, so that they can be committed to the <branch>.

       If <branch> is not found but there does exist a tracking branch in
       exactly one remote (call it <remote>) with a matching name, treat
       as equivalent to

           $ git checkout -b <branch> --track <remote>/<branch>

       You could omit <branch>, in which case the command degenerates to
       "check out the current branch", which is a glorified no-op with a
       rather expensive side-effects to show only the tracking
       information, if exists, for the current branch.

   git checkout -b|-B <new_branch> [<start point>]
       Specifying -b causes a new branch to be created as if git-branch(1)
       were called and then checked out. In this case you can use the
       --track or --no-track options, which will be passed to git branch.
       As a convenience, --track without -b implies branch creation; see
       the description of --track below.

       If -B is given, <new_branch> is created if it doesn't exist;
       otherwise, it is reset. This is the transactional equivalent of

           $ git branch -f <branch> [<start point>]
           $ git checkout <branch>

       that is to say, the branch is not reset/created unless "git
       checkout" is successful.

   git checkout --detach [<branch>], git checkout [--detach] <commit>
       Prepare to work on top of <commit>, by detaching HEAD at it (see
       "DETACHED HEAD" section), and updating the index and the files in
       the working tree. Local modifications to the files in the working
       tree are kept, so that the resulting working tree will be the state
       recorded in the commit plus the local modifications.

       When the <commit> argument is a branch name, the --detach option
       can be used to detach HEAD at the tip of the branch (git checkout
       <branch> would check out that branch without detaching HEAD).

       Omitting <branch> detaches HEAD at the tip of the current branch.

   git checkout [-p|--patch] [<tree-ish>] [--] <pathspec>...
       When <paths> or --patch are given, git checkout does not switch
       branches. It updates the named paths in the working tree from the
       index file or from a named <tree-ish> (most often a commit). In
       this case, the -b and --track options are meaningless and giving
       either of them results in an error. The <tree-ish> argument can be
       used to specify a specific tree-ish (i.e. commit, tag or tree) to
       update the index for the given paths before updating the working

       git checkout with <paths> or --patch is used to restore modified or
       deleted paths to their original contents from the index or replace
       paths with the contents from a named <tree-ish> (most often a

       The index may contain unmerged entries because of a previous failed
       merge. By default, if you try to check out such an entry from the
       index, the checkout operation will fail and nothing will be checked
       out. Using -f will ignore these unmerged entries. The contents from
       a specific side of the merge can be checked out of the index by
       using --ours or --theirs. With -m, changes made to the working tree
       file can be discarded to re-create the original conflicted merge


   -q, --quiet
       Quiet, suppress feedback messages.

       Progress status is reported on the standard error stream by default
       when it is attached to a terminal, unless --quiet is specified.
       This flag enables progress reporting even if not attached to a
       terminal, regardless of --quiet.

   -f, --force
       When switching branches, proceed even if the index or the working
       tree differs from HEAD. This is used to throw away local changes.

       When checking out paths from the index, do not fail upon unmerged
       entries; instead, unmerged entries are ignored.

   --ours, --theirs
       When checking out paths from the index, check out stage #2 (ours)
       or #3 (theirs) for unmerged paths.

       Note that during git rebase and git pull --rebase, ours and theirs
       may appear swapped; --ours gives the version from the branch the
       changes are rebased onto, while --theirs gives the version from the
       branch that holds your work that is being rebased.

       This is because rebase is used in a workflow that treats the
       history at the remote as the shared canonical one, and treats the
       work done on the branch you are rebasing as the third-party work to
       be integrated, and you are temporarily assuming the role of the
       keeper of the canonical history during the rebase. As the keeper of
       the canonical history, you need to view the history from the remote
       as ours (i.e. "our shared canonical history"), while what you did
       on your side branch as theirs (i.e. "one contributor's work on top
       of it").

   -b <new_branch>
       Create a new branch named <new_branch> and start it at
       <start_point>; see git-branch(1) for details.

   -B <new_branch>
       Creates the branch <new_branch> and start it at <start_point>; if
       it already exists, then reset it to <start_point>. This is
       equivalent to running "git branch" with "-f"; see git-branch(1) for

   -t, --track
       When creating a new branch, set up "upstream" configuration. See
       "--track" in git-branch(1) for details.

       If no -b option is given, the name of the new branch will be
       derived from the remote-tracking branch, by looking at the local
       part of the refspec configured for the corresponding remote, and
       then stripping the initial part up to the "*". This would tell us
       to use "hack" as the local branch when branching off of
       "origin/hack" (or "remotes/origin/hack", or even
       "refs/remotes/origin/hack"). If the given name has no slash, or the
       above guessing results in an empty name, the guessing is aborted.
       You can explicitly give a name with -b in such a case.

       Do not set up "upstream" configuration, even if the
       branch.autoSetupMerge configuration variable is true.

       Create the new branch's reflog; see git-branch(1) for details.

       Rather than checking out a branch to work on it, check out a commit
       for inspection and discardable experiments. This is the default
       behavior of "git checkout <commit>" when <commit> is not a branch
       name. See the "DETACHED HEAD" section below for details.

   --orphan <new_branch>
       Create a new orphan branch, named <new_branch>, started from
       <start_point> and switch to it. The first commit made on this new
       branch will have no parents and it will be the root of a new
       history totally disconnected from all the other branches and

       The index and the working tree are adjusted as if you had
       previously run "git checkout <start_point>". This allows you to
       start a new history that records a set of paths similar to
       <start_point> by easily running "git commit -a" to make the root

       This can be useful when you want to publish the tree from a commit
       without exposing its full history. You might want to do this to
       publish an open source branch of a project whose current tree is
       "clean", but whose full history contains proprietary or otherwise
       encumbered bits of code.

       If you want to start a disconnected history that records a set of
       paths that is totally different from the one of <start_point>, then
       you should clear the index and the working tree right after
       creating the orphan branch by running "git rm -rf ." from the top
       level of the working tree. Afterwards you will be ready to prepare
       your new files, repopulating the working tree, by copying them from
       elsewhere, extracting a tarball, etc.

       In sparse checkout mode, git checkout -- <paths> would update only
       entries matched by <paths> and sparse patterns in
       $GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout. This option ignores the sparse
       patterns and adds back any files in <paths>.

   -m, --merge
       When switching branches, if you have local modifications to one or
       more files that are different between the current branch and the
       branch to which you are switching, the command refuses to switch
       branches in order to preserve your modifications in context.
       However, with this option, a three-way merge between the current
       branch, your working tree contents, and the new branch is done, and
       you will be on the new branch.

       When a merge conflict happens, the index entries for conflicting
       paths are left unmerged, and you need to resolve the conflicts and
       mark the resolved paths with git add (or git rm if the merge should
       result in deletion of the path).

       When checking out paths from the index, this option lets you
       recreate the conflicted merge in the specified paths.

       The same as --merge option above, but changes the way the
       conflicting hunks are presented, overriding the merge.conflictStyle
       configuration variable. Possible values are "merge" (default) and
       "diff3" (in addition to what is shown by "merge" style, shows the
       original contents).

   -p, --patch
       Interactively select hunks in the difference between the <tree-ish>
       (or the index, if unspecified) and the working tree. The chosen
       hunks are then applied in reverse to the working tree (and if a
       <tree-ish> was specified, the index).

       This means that you can use git checkout -p to selectively discard
       edits from your current working tree. See the "Interactive Mode"
       section of git-add(1) to learn how to operate the --patch mode.

       git checkout refuses when the wanted ref is already checked out by
       another worktree. This option makes it check the ref out anyway. In
       other words, the ref can be held by more than one worktree.

       Branch to checkout; if it refers to a branch (i.e., a name that,
       when prepended with "refs/heads/", is a valid ref), then that
       branch is checked out. Otherwise, if it refers to a valid commit,
       your HEAD becomes "detached" and you are no longer on any branch
       (see below for details).

       As a special case, the "@{-N}" syntax for the N-th last
       branch/commit checks out branches (instead of detaching). You may
       also specify - which is synonymous with "@{-1}".

       As a further special case, you may use "A...B" as a shortcut for
       the merge base of A and B if there is exactly one merge base. You
       can leave out at most one of A and B, in which case it defaults to

       Name for the new branch.

       The name of a commit at which to start the new branch; see git-
       branch(1) for details. Defaults to HEAD.

       Tree to checkout from (when paths are given). If not specified, the
       index will be used.


   HEAD normally refers to a named branch (e.g. master). Meanwhile, each
   branch refers to a specific commit. Let's look at a repo with three
   commits, one of them tagged, and with branch master checked out:

                  HEAD (refers to branch 'master')
       a---b---c  branch 'master' (refers to commit 'c')
         tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')

   When a commit is created in this state, the branch is updated to refer
   to the new commit. Specifically, git commit creates a new commit d,
   whose parent is commit c, and then updates branch master to refer to
   new commit d. HEAD still refers to branch master and so indirectly now
   refers to commit d:

       $ edit; git add; git commit

                      HEAD (refers to branch 'master')
       a---b---c---d  branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
         tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')

   It is sometimes useful to be able to checkout a commit that is not at
   the tip of any named branch, or even to create a new commit that is not
   referenced by a named branch. Let's look at what happens when we
   checkout commit b (here we show two ways this may be done):

       $ git checkout v2.0  # or
       $ git checkout master^^

          HEAD (refers to commit 'b')
       a---b---c---d  branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
         tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')

   Notice that regardless of which checkout command we use, HEAD now
   refers directly to commit b. This is known as being in detached HEAD
   state. It means simply that HEAD refers to a specific commit, as
   opposed to referring to a named branch. Let's see what happens when we
   create a commit:

       $ edit; git add; git commit

            HEAD (refers to commit 'e')
       a---b---c---d  branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
         tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')

   There is now a new commit e, but it is referenced only by HEAD. We can
   of course add yet another commit in this state:

       $ edit; git add; git commit

                HEAD (refers to commit 'f')
       a---b---c---d  branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
         tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')

   In fact, we can perform all the normal Git operations. But, let's look
   at what happens when we then checkout master:

       $ git checkout master

                      HEAD (refers to branch 'master')
             e---f     |
            /          v
       a---b---c---d  branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
         tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')

   It is important to realize that at this point nothing refers to commit
   f. Eventually commit f (and by extension commit e) will be deleted by
   the routine Git garbage collection process, unless we create a
   reference before that happens. If we have not yet moved away from
   commit f, any of these will create a reference to it:

       $ git checkout -b foo   (1)
       $ git branch foo        (2)
       $ git tag foo           (3)

   1. creates a new branch foo, which refers to commit f, and then updates
   HEAD to refer to branch foo. In other words, we'll no longer be in
   detached HEAD state after this command.
   2. similarly creates a new branch foo, which refers to commit f, but
   leaves HEAD detached.
   3. creates a new tag foo, which refers to commit f, leaving HEAD

   If we have moved away from commit f, then we must first recover its
   object name (typically by using git reflog), and then we can create a
   reference to it. For example, to see the last two commits to which HEAD
   referred, we can use either of these commands:

       $ git reflog -2 HEAD # or
       $ git log -g -2 HEAD


   When there is only one argument given and it is not -- (e.g. "git
   checkout abc"), and when the argument is both a valid <tree-ish> (e.g.
   a branch "abc" exists) and a valid <pathspec> (e.g. a file or a
   directory whose name is "abc" exists), Git would usually ask you to
   disambiguate. Because checking out a branch is so common an operation,
   however, "git checkout abc" takes "abc" as a <tree-ish> in such a
   situation. Use git checkout -- <pathspec> if you want to checkout these
   paths out of the index.


    1. The following sequence checks out the master branch, reverts the
       Makefile to two revisions back, deletes hello.c by mistake, and
       gets it back from the index.

           $ git checkout master             (1)
           $ git checkout master~2 Makefile  (2)
           $ rm -f hello.c
           $ git checkout hello.c            (3)

       1. switch branch
       2. take a file out of another commit
       3. restore hello.c from the index

       If you want to check out all C source files out of the index, you
       can say

           $ git checkout -- '*.c'

       Note the quotes around *.c. The file hello.c will also be checked
       out, even though it is no longer in the working tree, because the
       file globbing is used to match entries in the index (not in the
       working tree by the shell).

       If you have an unfortunate branch that is named hello.c, this step
       would be confused as an instruction to switch to that branch. You
       should instead write:

           $ git checkout -- hello.c

    2. After working in the wrong branch, switching to the correct branch
       would be done using:

           $ git checkout mytopic

       However, your "wrong" branch and correct "mytopic" branch may
       differ in files that you have modified locally, in which case the
       above checkout would fail like this:

           $ git checkout mytopic
           error: You have local changes to 'frotz'; not switching branches.

       You can give the -m flag to the command, which would try a
       three-way merge:

           $ git checkout -m mytopic
           Auto-merging frotz

       After this three-way merge, the local modifications are not
       registered in your index file, so git diff would show you what
       changes you made since the tip of the new branch.

    3. When a merge conflict happens during switching branches with the -m
       option, you would see something like this:

           $ git checkout -m mytopic
           Auto-merging frotz
           ERROR: Merge conflict in frotz
           fatal: merge program failed

       At this point, git diff shows the changes cleanly merged as in the
       previous example, as well as the changes in the conflicted files.
       Edit and resolve the conflict and mark it resolved with git add as

           $ edit frotz
           $ git add frotz


   Part of the git(1) suite


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