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git-checkout - Checkout and switch to a branch
'git-checkout' [-q] [-f] [-b [--track | --no-track] <new_branch> [-l]] [-m] [<branch>]
'git-checkout' [<tree-ish>] <paths>...
When <paths> are not given, this command switches branches by
updating the index and working tree to reflect the specified
branch, <branch>, and updating HEAD to be <branch> or, if
specified, <new_branch>. Using -b will cause <new_branch> to
be created; in this case you can use the --track or --no-track
options, which will be passed to `git branch`.
When <paths> are given, this command does *not* switch
branches. It updates the named paths in the working tree from
the index file (i.e. it runs `git-checkout-index -f -u`), or
from a named commit. In
this case, the `-f` and `-b` options are meaningless and giving
either of them results in an error. <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 tree.
Quiet, supress feedback messages.
Proceed even if the index or the working tree differs
from HEAD. This is used to throw away local changes.
Create a new branch named <new_branch> and start it at
<branch>. The new branch name must pass all checks defined
by gitlink:git-check-ref-format[1]. Some of these checks
may restrict the characters allowed in a branch name.
When -b is given and a branch is created off a remote branch,
set up configuration so that git-pull will automatically
retrieve data from the remote branch. Set the
branch.autosetupmerge configuration variable to true if you
want git-checkout and git-branch to always behave as if
'--track' were given.
When -b is given and a branch is created off a remote branch,
set up configuration so that git-pull will not retrieve data
from the remote branch, ignoring the branch.autosetupmerge
configuration variable.
Create the new branch's ref log. This activates recording of
all changes to made the branch ref, enabling use of date
based sha1 expressions such as "<branchname>@{yesterday}".
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).
Name for the new branch.
Branch to checkout; may be any object ID that resolves to a
commit. Defaults to HEAD.
When this parameter names a non-branch (but still a valid commit object),
your HEAD becomes 'detached'.
Detached HEAD
It is sometimes useful to be able to 'checkout' a commit that is
not at the tip of one of your branches. The most obvious
example is to check out the commit at a tagged official release
point, like this:
$ git checkout v2.6.18
Earlier versions of git did not allow this and asked you to
create a temporary branch using `-b` option, but starting from
version 1.5.0, the above command 'detaches' your HEAD from the
current branch and directly point at the commit named by the tag
(`v2.6.18` in the above example).
You can use usual git commands while in this state. You can use
`git-reset --hard $othercommit` to further move around, for
example. You can make changes and create a new commit on top of
a detached HEAD. You can even create a merge by using `git
merge $othercommit`.
The state you are in while your HEAD is detached is not recorded
by any branch (which is natural --- you are not on any branch).
What this means is that you can discard your temporary commits
and merges by switching back to an existing branch (e.g. `git
checkout master`), and a later `git prune` or `git gc` would
garbage-collect them. If you did this by mistake, you can ask
the reflog for HEAD where you were, e.g.
$ git log -g -2 HEAD
. 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 out a file out of other commit
<3> restore hello.c from HEAD of current branch
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
. After working in a 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 locally modified, in which case,
the above checkout would fail like this:
$ git checkout mytopic
fatal: Entry 'frotz' not uptodate. Cannot merge.
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.
. 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
merge: warning: conflicts during merge
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 usual:
$ edit frotz
$ git add frotz
Written by Linus Torvalds <>
Documentation by Junio C Hamano and the git-list <>.
Part of the gitlink:git[7] suite