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Git Aliases

  2 minute read

How many times do type out the same repetitive commands for Git every day? Want to save some keystrokes? Use a Git alias. Consider the very useful but very long:

git log --graph --oneline --decorate

What a mouthful. But all you need to do, from any directory at the command line, is type:

git config --global alias.plog 'log --graph --oneline --decorate'

Then from then on all you need to type is:

git plog

And this gives you the same output as the full version.


Git aliases are like shortcuts to common tasks. You can even alias already short commands, e.g.:

git config --global alias.s status

And this gives you the super quick:

git s

But wait! There’s more!

I find myself wanting to add everything to staging in the current directory except one particular file or folder. This can be cumbersome, adding everything separately and awkwardly avoiding that one pesky file. But there’s a quicker way: add everything, then unstage the thing you don’t want in the commit, for example foo.txt:

git add .
git reset foo.txt

Then quickly type git status - wait, I mean, git s now isn’t it? - to verify before git commit-ing.

But that feels like a lot of keystrokes for what feels like one action (yes I am lazy). So let’s take our time-saving to new level and write a script to do it for us. I’m using a Mac with Bash installed, so I’ve put the following script in /usr/local/bin and called it allExcept:

#!/usr/bin/env bash

git add .
git reset $1
git status

I run chmod 777 against the script to make sure it’s executable, then all I need to call the script. I type the name of the script followed by the filename to exclude, like:

allExcept dont-add-me.txt

The $1 is the first argument to the script. The commands are executed and the status of the repo is printed out to the console. Boom! 👊💥 What else could you create a shortcut for? It doesn’t have to be Git-related, it could be any sequence of shell commands. 🐚

For lots more Git tips and tricks, check out the Pro Git book, including the article on aliases: