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Updated: July 2014

git-checkout-index (1)


git-checkout-index - Copy files from the index to the working tree


git checkout-index [-u] [-q] [-a] [-f] [-n] [--prefix=<string>]
[-z] [--stdin]
[--] [<file>...]


Git Manual                                  GIT-CHECKOUT-INDEX(1)

     git-checkout-index - Copy files from the index to the
     working tree

     git checkout-index [-u] [-q] [-a] [-f] [-n] [--prefix=<string>]
                        [-z] [--stdin]
                        [--] [<file>...]

     Will copy all files listed from the index to the working
     directory (not overwriting existing files).

     -u, --index
         update stat information for the checked out entries in
         the index file.

     -q, --quiet
         be quiet if files exist or are not in the index

     -f, --force
         forces overwrite of existing files

     -a, --all
         checks out all files in the index. Cannot be used
         together with explicit filenames.

     -n, --no-create
         Don't checkout new files, only refresh files already
         checked out.

         When creating files, prepend <string> (usually a
         directory including a trailing /)

         Instead of checking out unmerged entries, copy out the
         files from named stage. <number> must be between 1 and
         3. Note: --stage=all automatically implies --temp.

         Instead of copying the files to the working directory
         write the content to temporary files. The temporary name
         associations will be written to stdout.

         Instead of taking list of paths from the command line,
         read list of paths from the standard input. Paths are

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Git Manual                                  GIT-CHECKOUT-INDEX(1)

         separated by LF (i.e. one path per line) by default.

         Only meaningful with --stdin; paths are separated with
         NUL character instead of LF.

         Do not interpret any more arguments as options.

     The order of the flags used to matter, but not anymore.

     Just doing git checkout-index does nothing. You probably
     meant git checkout-index -a. And if you want to force it,
     you want git checkout-index -f -a.

     Intuitiveness is not the goal here. Repeatability is. The
     reason for the "no arguments means no work" behavior is that
     from scripts you are supposed to be able to do:

         $ find . -name '*.h' -print0 | xargs -0 git checkout-index -f --

     which will force all existing *.h files to be replaced with
     their cached copies. If an empty command line implied "all",
     then this would force-refresh everything in the index, which
     was not the point. But since git checkout-index accepts
     --stdin it would be faster to use:

         $ find . -name '*.h' -print0 | git checkout-index -f -z --stdin

     The -- is just a good idea when you know the rest will be
     filenames; it will prevent problems with a filename of, for
     example, -a. Using -- is probably a good policy in scripts.

     When --temp is used (or implied by --stage=all) git
     checkout-index will create a temporary file for each index
     entry being checked out. The index will not be updated with
     stat information. These options can be useful if the caller
     needs all stages of all unmerged entries so that the
     unmerged files can be processed by an external merge tool.

     A listing will be written to stdout providing the
     association of temporary file names to tracked path names.
     The listing format has two variations:

      1. tempname TAB path RS

         The first format is what gets used when --stage is
         omitted or is not --stage=all. The field tempname is the
         temporary file name holding the file content and path is

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Git Manual                                  GIT-CHECKOUT-INDEX(1)

         the tracked path name in the index. Only the requested
         entries are output.

      2. stage1temp SP stage2temp SP stage3tmp TAB path RS

         The second format is what gets used when --stage=all.
         The three stage temporary fields (stage1temp,
         stage2temp, stage3temp) list the name of the temporary
         file if there is a stage entry in the index or .  if
         there is no stage entry. Paths which only have a stage 0
         entry will always be omitted from the output.

     In both formats RS (the record separator) is newline by
     default but will be the null byte if -z was passed on the
     command line. The temporary file names are always safe
     strings; they will never contain directory separators or
     whitespace characters. The path field is always relative to
     the current directory and the temporary file names are
     always relative to the top level directory.

     If the object being copied out to a temporary file is a
     symbolic link the content of the link will be written to a
     normal file. It is up to the end-user or the Porcelain to
     make use of this information.

     To update and refresh only the files already checked out

             $ git checkout-index -n -f -a && git update-index --ignore-missing --refresh

     Using git checkout-index to "export an entire tree"
         The prefix ability basically makes it trivial to use git
         checkout-index as an "export as tree" function. Just
         read the desired tree into the index, and do:

             $ git checkout-index --prefix=git-export-dir/ -a

         git checkout-index will "export" the index into the
         specified directory.

         The final "/" is important. The exported name is
         literally just prefixed with the specified string.
         Contrast this with the following example.

     Export files with a prefix

             $ git checkout-index --prefix=.merged- Makefile

         This will check out the currently cached copy of
         Makefile into the file .merged-Makefile.

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Git Manual                                  GIT-CHECKOUT-INDEX(1)

     Part of the git(1) suite

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following

     |Availability   | developer/versioning/git |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted              |
     This software was built from source available at  The original
     community source was downloaded from  http://git-

     Further information about this software can be found on the
     open source community website at

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