man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2014

git-show-branch (1)


git-show-branch - Show branches and their commits


git show-branch [-a|--all] [-r|--remotes] [--topo-order | --date-order]
[--current] [--color[=<when>] | --no-color] [--sparse]
[--more=<n> | --list | --independent | --merge-base]
[--no-name | --sha1-name] [--topics]
[(<rev> | <glob>)...]
git show-branch (-g|--reflog)[=<n>[,<base>]] [--list] [<ref>]


Git Manual                                     GIT-SHOW-BRANCH(1)

     git-show-branch - Show branches and their commits

     git show-branch [-a|--all] [-r|--remotes] [--topo-order | --date-order]
                     [--current] [--color[=<when>] | --no-color] [--sparse]
                     [--more=<n> | --list | --independent | --merge-base]
                     [--no-name | --sha1-name] [--topics]
                     [(<rev> | <glob>)...]
     git show-branch (-g|--reflog)[=<n>[,<base>]] [--list] [<ref>]

     Shows the commit ancestry graph starting from the commits
     named with <rev>s or <globs>s (or all refs under refs/heads
     and/or refs/tags) semi-visually.

     It cannot show more than 29 branches and commits at a time.

     It uses showbranch.default multi-valued configuration items
     if no <rev> nor <glob> is given on the command line.

         Arbitrary extended SHA1 expression (see gitrevisions(5))
         that typically names a branch head or a tag.

         A glob pattern that matches branch or tag names under
         refs/. For example, if you have many topic branches
         under refs/heads/topic, giving topic/* would show all of

     -r, --remotes
         Show the remote-tracking branches.

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

         With this option, the command includes the current
         branch to the list of revs to be shown when it is not
         given on the command line.

         By default, the branches and their commits are shown in
         reverse chronological order. This option makes them
         appear in topological order (i.e., descendant commits
         are shown before their parents).

         This option is similar to --topo-order in the sense that

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Git Manual                                     GIT-SHOW-BRANCH(1)

         no parent comes before all of its children, but
         otherwise commits are ordered according to their commit

         By default, the output omits merges that are reachable
         from only one tip being shown. This option makes them

         Usually the command stops output upon showing the commit
         that is the common ancestor of all the branches. This
         flag tells the command to go <n> more common commits
         beyond that. When <n> is negative, display only the
         <reference>s given, without showing the commit ancestry

         Synonym to --more=-1

         Instead of showing the commit list, determine possible
         merge bases for the specified commits. All merge bases
         will be contained in all specified commits. This is
         different from how git-merge-base(1) handles the case of
         three or more commits.

         Among the <reference>s given, display only the ones that
         cannot be reached from any other <reference>.

         Do not show naming strings for each commit.

         Instead of naming the commits using the path to reach
         them from heads (e.g. "master~2" to mean the grandparent
         of "master"), name them with the unique prefix of their
         object names.

         Shows only commits that are NOT on the first branch
         given. This helps track topic branches by hiding any
         commit that is already in the main line of development.
         When given "git show-branch --topics master topic1
         topic2", this will show the revisions given by "git
         rev-list ^master topic1 topic2"

     -g, --reflog[=<n>[,<base>]] [<ref>]
         Shows <n> most recent ref-log entries for the given ref.
         If <base> is given, <n> entries going back from that
         entry. <base> can be specified as count or date. When no

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Git Manual                                     GIT-SHOW-BRANCH(1)

         explicit <ref> parameter is given, it defaults to the
         current branch (or HEAD if it is detached).

         Color the status sign (one of these: * !  + -) of each
         commit corresponding to the branch it's in. The value
         must be always (the default), never, or auto.

         Turn off colored output, even when the configuration
         file gives the default to color output. Same as

     Note that --more, --list, --independent and --merge-base
     options are mutually exclusive.

     Given N <references>, the first N lines are the one-line
     description from their commit message. The branch head that
     is pointed at by $GIT_DIR/HEAD is prefixed with an asterisk
     * character while other heads are prefixed with a !

     Following these N lines, one-line log for each commit is
     displayed, indented N places. If a commit is on the I-th
     branch, the I-th indentation character shows a + sign;
     otherwise it shows a space. Merge commits are denoted by a -
     sign. Each commit shows a short name that can be used as an
     extended SHA1 to name that commit.

     The following example shows three branches, "master",
     "fixes" and "mhf":

         $ git show-branch master fixes mhf
         * [master] Add 'git show-branch'.
          ! [fixes] Introduce "reset type" flag to "git reset"
           ! [mhf] Allow "+remote:local" refspec to cause --force when fetching.
           + [mhf] Allow "+remote:local" refspec to cause --force when fetching.
           + [mhf~1] Use git-octopus when pulling more than one heads.
          +  [fixes] Introduce "reset type" flag to "git reset"
           + [mhf~2] "git fetch --force".
           + [mhf~3] Use .git/remote/origin, not .git/branches/origin.
           + [mhf~4] Make "git pull" and "git fetch" default to origin
           + [mhf~5] Infamous 'octopus merge'
           + [mhf~6] Retire git-parse-remote.
           + [mhf~7] Multi-head fetch.
           + [mhf~8] Start adding the $GIT_DIR/remotes/ support.
         *++ [master] Add 'git show-branch'.

     These three branches all forked from a common commit,

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Git Manual                                     GIT-SHOW-BRANCH(1)

     [master], whose commit message is "Add 'git show-branch'".
     The "fixes" branch adds one commit "Introduce "reset type"
     flag to "git reset"". The "mhf" branch adds many other
     commits. The current branch is "master".

     If you keep your primary branches immediately under
     refs/heads, and topic branches in subdirectories of it,
     having the following in the configuration file may help:

                 default = --topo-order
                 default = heads/*

     With this, git show-branch without extra parameters would
     show only the primary branches. In addition, if you happen
     to be on your topic branch, it is shown as well.

         $ git show-branch --reflog="10,1 hour ago" --list master

     shows 10 reflog entries going back from the tip as of 1 hour
     ago. Without --list, the output also shows how these tips
     are topologically related with each other.

     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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