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git-branch - List, create, or delete branches


git branch [--color[=<when>] | --no-color] [-r | -a]
[--list] [-v [--abbrev=<length> | --no-abbrev]]
[--column[=<options>] | --no-column]
[(--merged | --no-merged | --contains) [<commit>]] [--sort=<key>]
[--points-at <object>] [<pattern>...]
git branch [--set-upstream | --track | --no-track] [-l] [-f] <branchname> [<start-point>]
git branch (--set-upstream-to=<upstream> | -u <upstream>) [<branchname>]
git branch --unset-upstream [<branchname>]
git branch (-m | -M) [<oldbranch>] <newbranch>
git branch (-d | -D) [-r] <branchname>...
git branch --edit-description [<branchname>]


If --list is given, or if there are no non-option arguments, existing branches are listed;
the current branch will be highlighted with an asterisk. Option -r causes the
remote-tracking branches to be listed, and option -a shows both local and remote branches.
If a <pattern> is given, it is used as a shell wildcard to restrict the output to matching
branches. If multiple patterns are given, a branch is shown if it matches any of the
patterns. Note that when providing a <pattern>, you must use --list; otherwise the command
is interpreted as branch creation.

With --contains, shows only the branches that contain the named commit (in other words,
the branches whose tip commits are descendants of the named commit). With --merged, only
branches merged into the named commit (i.e. the branches whose tip commits are reachable
from the named commit) will be listed. With --no-merged only branches not merged into the
named commit will be listed. If the <commit> argument is missing it defaults to HEAD (i.e.
the tip of the current branch).

The command’s second form creates a new branch head named <branchname> which points to the
current HEAD, or <start-point> if given.

Note that this will create the new branch, but it will not switch the working tree to it;
use "git checkout <newbranch>" to switch to the new branch.

When a local branch is started off a remote-tracking branch, Git sets up the branch
(specifically the branch.<name>.remote and branch.<name>.merge configuration entries) so
that git pull will appropriately merge from the remote-tracking branch. This behavior may
be changed via the global branch.autoSetupMerge configuration flag. That setting can be
overridden by using the --track and --no-track options, and changed later using git branch

With a -m or -M option, <oldbranch> will be renamed to <newbranch>. If <oldbranch> had a
corresponding reflog, it is renamed to match <newbranch>, and a reflog entry is created to
remember the branch renaming. If <newbranch> exists, -M must be used to force the rename
to happen.

With a -d or -D option, <branchname> will be deleted. You may specify more than one branch
for deletion. If the branch currently has a reflog then the reflog will also be deleted.

Use -r together with -d to delete remote-tracking branches. Note, that it only makes sense
to delete remote-tracking branches if they no longer exist in the remote repository or if
git fetch was configured not to fetch them again. See also the prune subcommand of git-
remote(1) for a way to clean up all obsolete remote-tracking branches.


-d, --delete
Delete a branch. The branch must be fully merged in its upstream branch, or in HEAD if
no upstream was set with --track or --set-upstream.

Shortcut for --delete --force.

-l, --create-reflog
Create the branch’s reflog. This activates recording of all changes made to the branch
ref, enabling use of date based sha1 expressions such as "<branchname>@{yesterday}".
Note that in non-bare repositories, reflogs are usually enabled by default by the
core.logallrefupdates config option.

-f, --force
Reset <branchname> to <startpoint> if <branchname> exists already. Without -f git
branch refuses to change an existing branch. In combination with -d (or --delete),
allow deleting the branch irrespective of its merged status. In combination with -m
(or --move), allow renaming the branch even if the new branch name already exists.

-m, --move
Move/rename a branch and the corresponding reflog.

Shortcut for --move --force.

Color branches to highlight current, local, and remote-tracking branches. The value
must be always (the default), never, or auto.

Turn off branch colors, even when the configuration file gives the default to color
output. Same as --color=never.

--column[=<options>], --no-column
Display branch listing in columns. See configuration variable column.branch for option
syntax.--column and --no-column without options are equivalent to always and never

This option is only applicable in non-verbose mode.

-r, --remotes
List or delete (if used with -d) the remote-tracking branches.

-a, --all
List both remote-tracking branches and local branches.

Activate the list mode. git branch <pattern> would try to create a branch, use git
branch --list <pattern> to list matching branches.

-v, -vv, --verbose
When in list mode, show sha1 and commit subject line for each head, along with
relationship to upstream branch (if any). If given twice, print the name of the
upstream branch, as well (see also git remote show <remote>).

-q, --quiet
Be more quiet when creating or deleting a branch, suppressing non-error messages.

Alter the sha1’s minimum display length in the output listing. The default value is 7
and can be overridden by the core.abbrev config option.

Display the full sha1s in the output listing rather than abbreviating them.

-t, --track
When creating a new branch, set up branch.<name>.remote and branch.<name>.merge
configuration entries to mark the start-point branch as "upstream" from the new
branch. This configuration will tell git to show the relationship between the two
branches in git status and git branch -v. Furthermore, it directs git pull without
arguments to pull from the upstream when the new branch is checked out.

This behavior is the default when the start point is a remote-tracking branch. Set the
branch.autoSetupMerge configuration variable to false if you want git checkout and git
branch to always behave as if --no-track were given. Set it to always if you want this
behavior when the start-point is either a local or remote-tracking branch.

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

If specified branch does not exist yet or if --force has been given, acts exactly like
--track. Otherwise sets up configuration like --track would when creating the branch,
except that where branch points to is not changed.

-u <upstream>, --set-upstream-to=<upstream>
Set up <branchname>'s tracking information so <upstream> is considered <branchname>'s
upstream branch. If no <branchname> is specified, then it defaults to the current

Remove the upstream information for <branchname>. If no branch is specified it
defaults to the current branch.

Open an editor and edit the text to explain what the branch is for, to be used by
various other commands (e.g. format-patch, request-pull, and merge (if enabled)).
Multi-line explanations may be used.

--contains [<commit>]
Only list branches which contain the specified commit (HEAD if not specified). Implies

--merged [<commit>]
Only list branches whose tips are reachable from the specified commit (HEAD if not
specified). Implies --list.

--no-merged [<commit>]
Only list branches whose tips are not reachable from the specified commit (HEAD if not
specified). Implies --list.

The name of the branch to create or delete. The new branch name must pass all checks
defined by git-check-ref-format(1). Some of these checks may restrict the characters
allowed in a branch name.

The new branch head will point to this commit. It may be given as a branch name, a
commit-id, or a tag. If this option is omitted, the current HEAD will be used instead.

The name of an existing branch to rename.

The new name for an existing branch. The same restrictions as for <branchname> apply.

Sort based on the key given. Prefix - to sort in descending order of the value. You
may use the --sort=<key> option multiple times, in which case the last key becomes the
primary key. The keys supported are the same as those in git for-each-ref. Sort order
defaults to sorting based on the full refname (including refs/... prefix). This lists
detached HEAD (if present) first, then local branches and finally remote-tracking

--points-at <object>
Only list branches of the given object.


Start development from a known tag

$ git clone git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/.../linux-2.6 my2.6
$ cd my2.6
$ git branch my2.6.14 v2.6.14 (1)
$ git checkout my2.6.14

1. This step and the next one could be combined into a single step with "checkout -b
my2.6.14 v2.6.14".

Delete an unneeded branch

$ git clone git://git.kernel.org/.../git.git my.git
$ cd my.git
$ git branch -d -r origin/todo origin/html origin/man (1)
$ git branch -D test (2)

1. Delete the remote-tracking branches "todo", "html" and "man". The next fetch or
pull will create them again unless you configure them not to. See git-fetch(1).
2. Delete the "test" branch even if the "master" branch (or whichever branch is
currently checked out) does not have all commits from the test branch.


If you are creating a branch that you want to checkout immediately, it is easier to use
the git checkout command with its -b option to create a branch and check it out with a
single command.

The options --contains, --merged and --no-merged serve three related but different

· --contains <commit> is used to find all branches which will need special attention if
<commit> were to be rebased or amended, since those branches contain the specified

· --merged is used to find all branches which can be safely deleted, since those
branches are fully contained by HEAD.

· --no-merged is used to find branches which are candidates for merging into HEAD, since
those branches are not fully contained by HEAD.

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