man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2014

git-reset (1)


git-reset - Reset current HEAD to the specified state


git reset [-q] [<commit>] [--] <paths>...
git reset (--patch | -p) [<commit>] [--] [<paths>...]
git reset (--soft | --mixed | --hard | --merge | --keep) [-q] [<commit>]


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     git-reset - Reset current HEAD to the specified state

     git reset [-q] [<commit>] [--] <paths>...
     git reset (--patch | -p) [<commit>] [--] [<paths>...]
     git reset (--soft | --mixed | --hard | --merge | --keep) [-q] [<commit>]

     In the first and second form, copy entries from <commit> to
     the index. In the third form, set the current branch head
     (HEAD) to <commit>, optionally modifying index and working
     tree to match. The <commit> defaults to HEAD in all forms.

     git reset [-q] [<commit>] [--] <paths>...
         This form resets the index entries for all <paths> to
         their state at <commit>. (It does not affect the working
         tree, nor the current branch.)

         This means that git reset <paths> is the opposite of git
         add <paths>.

         After running git reset <paths> to update the index
         entry, you can use git-checkout(1) to check the contents
         out of the index to the working tree. Alternatively,
         using git-checkout(1) and specifying a commit, you can
         copy the contents of a path out of a commit to the index
         and to the working tree in one go.

     git reset (--patch | -p) [<commit>] [--] [<paths>...]
         Interactively select hunks in the difference between the
         index and <commit> (defaults to HEAD). The chosen hunks
         are applied in reverse to the index.

         This means that git reset -p is the opposite of git add
         -p, i.e. you can use it to selectively reset hunks. See
         the "Interactive Mode" section of git-add(1) to learn
         how to operate the --patch mode.

     git reset --<mode> [<commit>]
         This form resets the current branch head to <commit> and
         possibly updates the index (resetting it to the tree of
         <commit>) and the working tree depending on <mode>,
         which must be one of the following:

             Does not touch the index file nor the working tree
             at all (but resets the head to <commit>, just like
             all modes do). This leaves all your changed files
             "Changes to be committed", as git status would put

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             Resets the index but not the working tree (i.e., the
             changed files are preserved but not marked for
             commit) and reports what has not been updated. This
             is the default action.

             Resets the index and working tree. Any changes to
             tracked files in the working tree since <commit> are

             Resets the index and updates the files in the
             working tree that are different between <commit> and
             HEAD, but keeps those which are different between
             the index and working tree (i.e. which have changes
             which have not been added). If a file that is
             different between <commit> and the index has
             unstaged changes, reset is aborted.

             In other words, --merge does something like a git
             read-tree -u -m <commit>, but carries forward
             unmerged index entries.

             Resets index entries and updates files in the
             working tree that are different between <commit> and
             HEAD. If a file that is different between <commit>
             and HEAD has local changes, reset is aborted.

     If you want to undo a commit other than the latest on a
     branch, git-revert(1) is your friend.

     -q, --quiet
         Be quiet, only report errors.

     Undo add

             $ edit                                     (1)
             $ git add frotz.c filfre.c
             $ mailx                                    (2)
             $ git reset                                (3)
             $ git pull git:// nitfol  (4)

         1. You are happily working on something, and find the
         changes in these files are in good order. You do not
         want to see them when you run "git diff", because you
         plan to work on other files and changes with these files
         are distracting.
         2. Somebody asks you to pull, and the changes sounds

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         worthy of merging.
         3. However, you already dirtied the index (i.e. your
         index does not match the HEAD commit). But you know the
         pull you are going to make does not affect frotz.c nor
         filfre.c, so you revert the index changes for these two
         files. Your changes in working tree remain there.
         4. Then you can pull and merge, leaving frotz.c and
         filfre.c changes still in the working tree.

     Undo a commit and redo

             $ git commit ...
             $ git reset --soft HEAD^      (1)
             $ edit                        (2)
             $ git commit -a -c ORIG_HEAD  (3)

         1. This is most often done when you remembered what you
         just committed is incomplete, or you misspelled your
         commit message, or both. Leaves working tree as it was
         before "reset".
         2. Make corrections to working tree files.
         3. "reset" copies the old head to .git/ORIG_HEAD; redo
         the commit by starting with its log message. If you do
         not need to edit the message further, you can give -C
         option instead.

         See also the --amend option to git-commit(1).

     Undo a commit, making it a topic branch

             $ git branch topic/wip     (1)
             $ git reset --hard HEAD~3  (2)
             $ git checkout topic/wip   (3)

         1. You have made some commits, but realize they were
         premature to be in the "master" branch. You want to
         continue polishing them in a topic branch, so create
         "topic/wip" branch off of the current HEAD.
         2. Rewind the master branch to get rid of those three
         3. Switch to "topic/wip" branch and keep working.

     Undo commits permanently

             $ git commit ...
             $ git reset --hard HEAD~3   (1)

         1. The last three commits (HEAD, HEAD^, and HEAD~2) were
         bad and you do not want to ever see them again. Do not
         do this if you have already given these commits to
         somebody else. (See the "RECOVERING FROM UPSTREAM
         REBASE" section in git-rebase(1) for the implications of

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         doing so.)

     Undo a merge or pull

             $ git pull                         (1)
             Auto-merging nitfol
             CONFLICT (content): Merge conflict in nitfol
             Automatic merge failed; fix conflicts and then commit the result.
             $ git reset --hard                 (2)
             $ git pull . topic/branch          (3)
             Updating from 41223... to 13134...
             $ git reset --hard ORIG_HEAD       (4)

         1. Try to update from the upstream resulted in a lot of
         conflicts; you were not ready to spend a lot of time
         merging right now, so you decide to do that later.
         2. "pull" has not made merge commit, so "git reset
         --hard" which is a synonym for "git reset --hard HEAD"
         clears the mess from the index file and the working
         3. Merge a topic branch into the current branch, which
         resulted in a fast-forward.
         4. But you decided that the topic branch is not ready
         for public consumption yet. "pull" or "merge" always
         leaves the original tip of the current branch in
         ORIG_HEAD, so resetting hard to it brings your index
         file and the working tree back to that state, and resets
         the tip of the branch to that commit.

     Undo a merge or pull inside a dirty working tree

             $ git pull                         (1)
             Auto-merging nitfol
             Merge made by recursive.
              nitfol                |   20 +++++----
             $ git reset --merge ORIG_HEAD      (2)

         1. Even if you may have local modifications in your
         working tree, you can safely say "git pull" when you
         know that the change in the other branch does not
         overlap with them.
         2. After inspecting the result of the merge, you may
         find that the change in the other branch is
         unsatisfactory. Running "git reset --hard ORIG_HEAD"
         will let you go back to where you were, but it will
         discard your local changes, which you do not want. "git
         reset --merge" keeps your local changes.

     Interrupted workflow
         Suppose you are interrupted by an urgent fix request

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         while you are in the middle of a large change. The files
         in your working tree are not in any shape to be
         committed yet, but you need to get to the other branch
         for a quick bugfix.

             $ git checkout feature ;# you were working in "feature" branch and
             $ work work work       ;# got interrupted
             $ git commit -a -m "snapshot WIP"                 (1)
             $ git checkout master
             $ fix fix fix
             $ git commit ;# commit with real log
             $ git checkout feature
             $ git reset --soft HEAD^ ;# go back to WIP state  (2)
             $ git reset                                       (3)

         1. This commit will get blown away so a throw-away log
         message is OK.
         2. This removes the WIP commit from the commit history,
         and sets your working tree to the state just before you
         made that snapshot.
         3. At this point the index file still has all the WIP
         changes you committed as snapshot WIP. This updates the
         index to show your WIP files as uncommitted.

         See also git-stash(1).

     Reset a single file in the index
         Suppose you have added a file to your index, but later
         decide you do not want to add it to your commit. You can
         remove the file from the index while keeping your
         changes with git reset.

             $ git reset -- frotz.c                      (1)
             $ git commit -m "Commit files in index"     (2)
             $ git add frotz.c                           (3)

         1. This removes the file from the index while keeping it
         in the working directory.
         2. This commits all other changes in the index.
         3. Adds the file to the index again.

     Keep changes in working tree while discarding some previous
         Suppose you are working on something and you commit it,
         and then you continue working a bit more, but now you
         think that what you have in your working tree should be
         in another branch that has nothing to do with what you
         committed previously. You can start a new branch and
         reset it while keeping the changes in your working tree.

             $ git tag start
             $ git checkout -b branch1

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             $ edit
             $ git commit ...                            (1)
             $ edit
             $ git checkout -b branch2                   (2)
             $ git reset --keep start                    (3)

         1. This commits your first edits in branch1.
         2. In the ideal world, you could have realized that the
         earlier commit did not belong to the new topic when you
         created and switched to branch2 (i.e. "git checkout -b
         branch2 start"), but nobody is perfect.
         3. But you can use "reset --keep" to remove the unwanted
         commit after you switched to "branch2".

     The tables below show what happens when running:

         git reset --option target

     to reset the HEAD to another commit (target) with the
     different reset options depending on the state of the files.

     In these tables, A, B, C and D are some different states of
     a file. For example, the first line of the first table means
     that if a file is in state A in the working tree, in state B
     in the index, in state C in HEAD and in state D in the
     target, then "git reset --soft target" will leave the file
     in the working tree in state A and in the index in state B.
     It resets (i.e. moves) the HEAD (i.e. the tip of the current
     branch, if you are on one) to "target" (which has the file
     in state D).

         working index HEAD target         working index HEAD
          A       B     C    D     --soft   A       B     D
                                   --mixed  A       D     D
                                   --hard   D       D     D
                                   --merge (disallowed)
                                   --keep  (disallowed)

         working index HEAD target         working index HEAD
          A       B     C    C     --soft   A       B     C
                                   --mixed  A       C     C
                                   --hard   C       C     C
                                   --merge (disallowed)
                                   --keep   A       C     C

         working index HEAD target         working index HEAD
          B       B     C    D     --soft   B       B     D

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                                   --mixed  B       D     D
                                   --hard   D       D     D
                                   --merge  D       D     D
                                   --keep  (disallowed)

         working index HEAD target         working index HEAD
          B       B     C    C     --soft   B       B     C
                                   --mixed  B       C     C
                                   --hard   C       C     C
                                   --merge  C       C     C
                                   --keep   B       C     C

         working index HEAD target         working index HEAD
          B       C     C    D     --soft   B       C     D
                                   --mixed  B       D     D
                                   --hard   D       D     D
                                   --merge (disallowed)
                                   --keep  (disallowed)

         working index HEAD target         working index HEAD
          B       C     C    C     --soft   B       C     C
                                   --mixed  B       C     C
                                   --hard   C       C     C
                                   --merge  B       C     C
                                   --keep   B       C     C

     "reset --merge" is meant to be used when resetting out of a
     conflicted merge. Any mergy operation guarantees that the
     working tree file that is involved in the merge does not
     have local change wrt the index before it starts, and that
     it writes the result out to the working tree. So if we see
     some difference between the index and the target and also
     between the index and the working tree, then it means that
     we are not resetting out from a state that a mergy operation
     left after failing with a conflict. That is why we disallow
     --merge option in this case.

     "reset --keep" is meant to be used when removing some of the
     last commits in the current branch while keeping changes in
     the working tree. If there could be conflicts between the
     changes in the commit we want to remove and the changes in
     the working tree we want to keep, the reset is disallowed.
     That's why it is disallowed if there are both changes
     between the working tree and HEAD, and between HEAD and the
     target. To be safe, it is also disallowed when there are
     unmerged entries.

     The following tables show what happens when there are
     unmerged entries:

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         working index HEAD target         working index HEAD
          X       U     A    B     --soft  (disallowed)
                                   --mixed  X       B     B
                                   --hard   B       B     B
                                   --merge  B       B     B
                                   --keep  (disallowed)

         working index HEAD target         working index HEAD
          X       U     A    A     --soft  (disallowed)
                                   --mixed  X       A     A
                                   --hard   A       A     A
                                   --merge  A       A     A
                                   --keep  (disallowed)

     X means any state and U means an unmerged index.

     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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