man pages section 1: User Commands

Exit Print View

Updated: July 2014

git-show-ref (1)


git-show-ref - List references in a local repository


git show-ref [-q|--quiet] [--verify] [--head] [-d|--dereference]
[-s|--hash[=<n>]] [--abbrev[=<n>]] [--tags]
[--heads] [--] [<pattern>...]
git show-ref --exclude-existing[=<pattern>] < ref-list


Git Manual                                        GIT-SHOW-REF(1)

     git-show-ref - List references in a local repository

     git show-ref [-q|--quiet] [--verify] [--head] [-d|--dereference]
                  [-s|--hash[=<n>]] [--abbrev[=<n>]] [--tags]
                  [--heads] [--] [<pattern>...]
     git show-ref --exclude-existing[=<pattern>] < ref-list

     Displays references available in a local repository along
     with the associated commit IDs. Results can be filtered
     using a pattern and tags can be dereferenced into object
     IDs. Additionally, it can be used to test whether a
     particular ref exists.

     The --exclude-existing form is a filter that does the
     inverse, it shows the refs from stdin that don't exist in
     the local repository.

     Use of this utility is encouraged in favor of directly
     accessing files under the .git directory.

         Show the HEAD reference.

     --tags, --heads
         Limit to only "refs/heads" and "refs/tags",
         respectively. These options are not mutually exclusive;
         when given both, references stored in "refs/heads" and
         "refs/tags" are displayed.

     -d, --dereference
         Dereference tags into object IDs as well. They will be
         shown with "^{}" appended.

     -s, --hash[=<n>]
         Only show the SHA1 hash, not the reference name. When
         combined with --dereference the dereferenced tag will
         still be shown after the SHA1.

         Enable stricter reference checking by requiring an exact
         ref path. Aside from returning an error code of 1, it
         will also print an error message if --quiet was not

         Abbreviate the object name. When using --hash, you do
         not have to say --hash --abbrev; --hash=n would do.

Git          Last change: 02/22/2012                    1

Git Manual                                        GIT-SHOW-REF(1)

     -q, --quiet
         Do not print any results to stdout. When combined with
         --verify this can be used to silently check if a
         reference exists.

         Make git show-ref act as a filter that reads refs from
         stdin of the form
         "^(?:<anything>\s)?<refname>(?:\^{})?$" and performs the
         following actions on each: (1) strip "^{}" at the end of
         line if any; (2) ignore if pattern is provided and does
         not head-match refname; (3) warn if refname is not a
         well-formed refname and skip; (4) ignore if refname is a
         ref that exists in the local repository; (4) otherwise
         output the line.

         Show references matching one or more patterns. Patterns
         are matched from the end of the full name, and only
         complete parts are matched, e.g.  master matches
         refs/heads/master, refs/remotes/origin/master,
         refs/tags/jedi/master but not refs/heads/mymaster nor

     The output is in the format: <SHA-1 ID> <space> <reference

         $ git show-ref --head --dereference
         832e76a9899f560a90ffd62ae2ce83bbeff58f54 HEAD
         832e76a9899f560a90ffd62ae2ce83bbeff58f54 refs/heads/master
         832e76a9899f560a90ffd62ae2ce83bbeff58f54 refs/heads/origin
         3521017556c5de4159da4615a39fa4d5d2c279b5 refs/tags/v0.99.9c
         6ddc0964034342519a87fe013781abf31c6db6ad refs/tags/v0.99.9c^{}
         055e4ae3ae6eb344cbabf2a5256a49ea66040131 refs/tags/v1.0rc4
         423325a2d24638ddcc82ce47be5e40be550f4507 refs/tags/v1.0rc4^{}

     When using --hash (and not --dereference) the output format
     is: <SHA-1 ID>

         $ git show-ref --heads --hash

     To show all references called "master", whether tags or
     heads or anything else, and regardless of how deep in the

Git          Last change: 02/22/2012                    2

Git Manual                                        GIT-SHOW-REF(1)

     reference naming hierarchy they are, use:

                 git show-ref master

     This will show "refs/heads/master" but also
     "refs/remote/other-repo/master", if such references exists.

     When using the --verify flag, the command requires an exact

                 git show-ref --verify refs/heads/master

     will only match the exact branch called "master".

     If nothing matches, git show-ref will return an error code
     of 1, and in the case of verification, it will show an error

     For scripting, you can ask it to be quiet with the "--quiet"
     flag, which allows you to do things like

                 git show-ref --quiet --verify -- "refs/heads/$headname" ||
                         echo "$headname is not a valid branch"

     to check whether a particular branch exists or not (notice
     how we don't actually want to show any results, and we want
     to use the full refname for it in order to not trigger the
     problem with ambiguous partial matches).

     To show only tags, or only proper branch heads, use "--tags"
     and/or "--heads" respectively (using both means that it
     shows tags and heads, but not other random references under
     the refs/ subdirectory).

     To do automatic tag object dereferencing, use the "-d" or
     "--dereference" flag, so you can do

                 git show-ref --tags --dereference

     to get a listing of all tags together with what they

     .git/refs/*, .git/packed-refs

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following

Git          Last change: 02/22/2012                    3

Git Manual                                        GIT-SHOW-REF(1)


     |Availability   | developer/versioning/git |
     |Stability      | Uncommitted              |
     git-ls-remote(1), git-update-ref(1), gitrepository-layout(4)

     Part of the git(1) suite

     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

Git          Last change: 02/22/2012                    4