Here are some of my favorite git configs and aliases.

Most of these settings are in ~/.gitconfig, the global git configuration file.

Note that this post duplicates configuration names like [alias] in different sections. Your ~/.gitconfig file should only include one [alias] line, and all aliases should appear under.


I like colors everywhere:

  ui = auto

But I’m also particular about which ones I see. I set these up years ago and have just stuck with them ever since:

; Colors for `git status`
[color "status"]
  header    = yellow bold
  added     = green bold
  updated   = green reverse
  changed   = magenta bold
  untracked = red

; Colors for `git diff`
[color "diff"]
  meta       = yellow bold
  frag       = magenta bold
  old        = red bold
  new        = green bold
  whitespace = red reverse

Default --pretty format

For things like git log, git show, etc, I like to keep things simple and concise, so I set the following:

  pretty = format:%C(red)%h%Creset%C(yellow)%d%Creset %C(magenta)%an%Creset: %s %C(green)(%ar)%Creset

For git log, git shows commits on a single line with only the most useful information I need

I often use git show --format=fuller [sha] to see the full details of a commit when I need more context.

Pulling Branches

Ever run git fetch and see dozens of remote branches pulled in? If you run git branch --remotes you’ll likely see references to old branches that have already been merged in to master. You can tell git to clean these automatically, any time you run git fetch or git pull, with the following setting:

  prune = true

Like to handle things manually? You can create a git prune-branches alias:

  prune-branches = !git branch --merged | grep -v '^master$' | grep -v "\\\\*" | xargs -n 1 git branch -d

Pushing Branches

In older versions of git, git push without any branch specified would push all branches to origin. Since this is hardly ever what you’d want, it is now disabled by default. But if you want to keep safe in case you come cross any old git versions, you can add the following:

  default = current

This makes git push operate on the currently checked out branch only.

Viewing Branches

I often have a few different branches being worked on at once and it is useful to see them by the last commit date. The following enables this behavior by default when running git branch commands to list branches:

  sort = -authordate

I also use the following git recent-branches alias to show me 10 most recent branches by date:

  recent-branches  = for-each-ref --count=10 --sort=-committerdate --format=\"%(refname:short)\" refs/heads/

Need the current branch name? Try a git branch-name alias (also try git branch-name | pbcopy on MacOS to copy it to your clipboard):

  branch-name = rev-parse --abbrev-ref HEAD

Disable advice

Git is nice enough to provide advice on certain commands. For example, git status will show advice on how to git add files. I find some of these annoying so I disable the following:

  statusHints        = false
  pushNonFastForward = false

Nicer git status

For a more concise status output, git status --short --branch can be used. It can be setup by default using:

  short = true
  branch = true

Want a verbose status once in a while? Try git status --no-short.

Viewing commits

I mentioned above that I often use git show --format=fuller, so I have this alias:

  showf = show --format=fuller

I have this rarely used alias to show a more detailed log view with git lg:

  lg = log --graph --abbrev-commit --date=relative

For when I want full log details there’s git full-log:

  full-log = log --format=fuller

I can see the last commit’s SHA with git last-sha:

  last-sha = rev-parse --short HEAD

I can see the commits I’ve made to a local branch but haven’t yet pushed upstream with git pending:

Note: this requires you pushed with git push -u to track your remote.

  pending = !git --no-pager log @{u}.. && echo

I can see the last committer with git last-committer:

  last-committer = !git --no-pager log --pretty="%an" --no-merges -1

Or I can see the last commit subject with git last-subject (great for copy/pasting into pull requests):

  last-subject = !git --no-pager log --pretty="%s" -1

Sometimes I want to see just the filenames that were changed in a commit, and git show-files does this. It can also work on a branch, like git show-files master..HEAD to show everything changed on the current branch vs master. This is great when you want to run tests or linters on those files (eg make-me-pretty $(git show-files master..HEAD)):

  show-files = !git --no-pager show --name-only --format=

On MacOS or a system with Ruby’s webrick gem installed, git web will spawn a web interface for browsing (close with git web --close):

  web = instaweb --httpd=webrick -b open

Undoing things

For when I’ve run git add on files and I want to backout, git unstage does the job (git unstage -- . to unstage everything, or git unstage -- file1 to specify files):

  unstage = reset HEAD -- ...

If I’ve already committed, I have git undo to undo the commit (which can then be unstaged with git unstage):

  undo = reset --soft HEAD^

If I’ve made a typo and haven’t pushed yet, I have git amend to amend the last commit. Typically I’ll git amend -a or git add changed-file; git amend. I like this command to reset the commit date too.

  amend = !git commit --amend --date=\"$(date)\" -C HEAD

Per-System overrides

I like to keep my default ~/.gitconfig setup to work for personal projects. On systems where I need something different, such as my email, I use the following setup.

In ~/.gitconfig I include a local, system specific configuration file:

  path = ~/.gitconfig.local

Then in that ~/.gitconfig.local file, specific customizations are made:

  email =

Bonus: Bash/ZSH aliases

I use these select few shell aliases for things I do all the time. They can be added to ~/.bashrc for Bash users or ~/.zshrc for ZSH users.

The obvious ones:

alias gb='git branch'
alias gbd='git branch -d'
alias gco='git checkout'
alias gd='git diff'
alias gdc='git diff --cached'
alias gs='git status'

For when I’ve deleted a lot of files from a repo I have grm to remove them from git as well:

alias grm="git status --porcelain | awk '\$1 == \"D\" {print \$2}' | xargs git --git-dir=\$(git rev-parse --git-dir) rm --ignore-unmatch"

Finally, two favorites, gcomp and gcomp- (mnemonic: git checkout master pull). gcomp checks out master and pulls, gcomp- checks out master and pulls, then checks out the previous branch. Any time I’m about to push up a new pull request I’ll run gcomp- && git rebase master to make sure I’m up to date.

alias gcomp='git checkout master; git pull'
alias gcomp-='git checkout master; git pull; git checkout -'