man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2014

git-rm (1)


git-rm - Remove files from the working tree and from the index


git rm [-f | --force] [-n] [-r] [--cached] [--ignore-unmatch] [--quiet] [--] <file>...


Git Manual                                              GIT-RM(1)

     git-rm - Remove files from the working tree and from the

     git rm [-f | --force] [-n] [-r] [--cached] [--ignore-unmatch] [--quiet] [--] <file>...

     Remove files from the index, or from the working tree and
     the index. git rm will not remove a file from just your
     working directory. (There is no option to remove a file only
     from the working tree and yet keep it in the index; use
     /bin/rm if you want to do that.) The files being removed
     have to be identical to the tip of the branch, and no
     updates to their contents can be staged in the index, though
     that default behavior can be overridden with the -f option.
     When --cached is given, the staged content has to match
     either the tip of the branch or the file on disk, allowing
     the file to be removed from just the index.

         Files to remove. Fileglobs (e.g.  *.c) can be given to
         remove all matching files. If you want git to expand
         file glob characters, you may need to shell-escape them.
         A leading directory name (e.g.  dir to remove dir/file1
         and dir/file2) can be given to remove all files in the
         directory, and recursively all sub-directories, but this
         requires the -r option to be explicitly given.

     -f, --force
         Override the up-to-date check.

     -n, --dry-run
         Don't actually remove any file(s). Instead, just show if
         they exist in the index and would otherwise be removed
         by the command.

         Allow recursive removal when a leading directory name is

         This option can be used to separate command-line options
         from the list of files, (useful when filenames might be
         mistaken for command-line options).

         Use this option to unstage and remove paths only from
         the index. Working tree files, whether modified or not,
         will be left alone.

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Git Manual                                              GIT-RM(1)

         Exit with a zero status even if no files matched.

     -q, --quiet

         git rm normally outputs one line (in the form of an rm
         command) for each file removed. This option suppresses
         that output.

     The <file> list given to the command can be exact pathnames,
     file glob patterns, or leading directory names. The command
     removes only the paths that are known to git. Giving the
     name of a file that you have not told git about does not
     remove that file.

     File globbing matches across directory boundaries. Thus,
     given two directories d and d2, there is a difference
     between using git rm 'd*' and git rm 'd/*', as the former
     will also remove all of directory d2.

     There is no option for git rm to remove from the index only
     the paths that have disappeared from the filesystem.
     However, depending on the use case, there are several ways
     that can be done.

  Using "git commit -a"
     If you intend that your next commit should record all
     modifications of tracked files in the working tree and
     record all removals of files that have been removed from the
     working tree with rm (as opposed to git rm), use git commit
     -a, as it will automatically notice and record all removals.
     You can also have a similar effect without committing by
     using git add -u.

  Using "git add -A"
     When accepting a new code drop for a vendor branch, you
     probably want to record both the removal of paths and
     additions of new paths as well as modifications of existing

     Typically you would first remove all tracked files from the
     working tree using this command:

         git ls-files -z | xargs -0 rm -f

     and then untar the new code in the working tree. Alternately
     you could rsync the changes into the working tree.

     After that, the easiest way to record all removals,

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Git Manual                                              GIT-RM(1)

     additions, and modifications in the working tree is:

         git add -A

     See git-add(1).

  Other ways
     If all you really want to do is to remove from the index the
     files that are no longer present in the working tree
     (perhaps because your working tree is dirty so that you
     cannot use git commit -a), use the following command:

         git diff --name-only --diff-filter=D -z | xargs -0 git rm --cached

     git rm Documentation/\*.txt
         Removes all *.txt files from the index that are under
         the Documentation directory and any of its

         Note that the asterisk * is quoted from the shell in
         this example; this lets git, and not the shell, expand
         the pathnames of files and subdirectories under the
         Documentation/ directory.

     git rm -f git-*.sh
         Because this example lets the shell expand the asterisk
         (i.e. you are listing the files explicitly), it does not
         remove subdir/

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following

     |Availability   | developer/versioning/git |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted              |

     Part of the git(1) suite

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Git Manual                                              GIT-RM(1)

     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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