man pages section 1: User Commands

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Updated: July 2014

git-tag (1)


git-tag - Create, list, delete or verify a tag object signed with GPG


git tag [-a | -s | -u <key-id>] [-f] [-m <msg> | -F <file>]
<tagname> [<commit> | <object>]
git tag -d <tagname>...
git tag [-n[<num>]] -l [--contains <commit>] [<pattern>...]
git tag -v <tagname>...


Git Manual                                             GIT-TAG(1)

     git-tag - Create, list, delete or verify a tag object signed
     with GPG

     git tag [-a | -s | -u <key-id>] [-f] [-m <msg> | -F <file>]
             <tagname> [<commit> | <object>]
     git tag -d <tagname>...
     git tag [-n[<num>]] -l [--contains <commit>] [<pattern>...]
     git tag -v <tagname>...

     Add a tag reference in .git/refs/tags/, unless -d/-l/-v is
     given to delete, list or verify tags.

     Unless -f is given, the tag to be created must not yet exist
     in the .git/refs/tags/ directory.

     If one of -a, -s, or -u <key-id> is passed, the command
     creates a tag object, and requires a tag message. Unless -m
     <msg> or -F <file> is given, an editor is started for the
     user to type in the tag message.

     If -m <msg> or -F <file> is given and -a, -s, and -u
     <key-id> are absent, -a is implied.

     Otherwise just a tag reference for the SHA1 object name of
     the commit object is created (i.e. a lightweight tag).

     A GnuPG signed tag object will be created when -s or -u
     <key-id> is used. When -u <key-id> is not used, the
     committer identity for the current user is used to find the
     GnuPG key for signing. The configuration variable
     gpg.program is used to specify custom GnuPG binary.

     -a, --annotate
         Make an unsigned, annotated tag object

     -s, --sign
         Make a GPG-signed tag, using the default e-mail
         address's key.

     -u <key-id>, --local-user=<key-id>
         Make a GPG-signed tag, using the given key.

     -f, --force
         Replace an existing tag with the given name (instead of

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Git Manual                                             GIT-TAG(1)

     -d, --delete
         Delete existing tags with the given names.

     -v, --verify
         Verify the gpg signature of the given tag names.

         <num> specifies how many lines from the annotation, if
         any, are printed when using -l. The default is not to
         print any annotation lines. If no number is given to -n,
         only the first line is printed. If the tag is not
         annotated, the commit message is displayed instead.

     -l <pattern>, --list <pattern>
         List tags with names that match the given pattern (or
         all if no pattern is given). Running "git tag" without
         arguments also lists all tags. The pattern is a shell
         wildcard (i.e., matched using fnmatch(3)). Multiple
         patterns may be given; if any of them matches, the tag
         is shown.

     --contains <commit>
         Only list tags which contain the specified commit.

     -m <msg>, --message=<msg>
         Use the given tag message (instead of prompting). If
         multiple -m options are given, their values are
         concatenated as separate paragraphs. Implies -a if none
         of -a, -s, or -u <key-id> is given.

     -F <file>, --file=<file>
         Take the tag message from the given file. Use - to read
         the message from the standard input. Implies -a if none
         of -a, -s, or -u <key-id> is given.

         This option sets how the tag message is cleaned up. The
         <mode> can be one of verbatim, whitespace and strip. The
         strip mode is default. The verbatim mode does not change
         message at all, whitespace removes just leading/trailing
         whitespace lines and strip removes both whitespace and

         The name of the tag to create, delete, or describe. The
         new tag name must pass all checks defined by git-check-
         ref-format(1). Some of these checks may restrict the
         characters allowed in a tag name.

     By default, git tag in sign-with-default mode (-s) will use
     your committer identity (of the form "Your Name

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Git Manual                                             GIT-TAG(1)

     <your@email.address[1]>") to find a key. If you want to use
     a different default key, you can specify it in the
     repository configuration as follows:

             signingkey = <gpg-key-id>

  On Re-tagging
     What should you do when you tag a wrong commit and you would
     want to re-tag?

     If you never pushed anything out, just re-tag it. Use "-f"
     to replace the old one. And you're done.

     But if you have pushed things out (or others could just read
     your repository directly), then others will have already
     seen the old tag. In that case you can do one of two things:

      1. The sane thing. Just admit you screwed up, and use a
         different name. Others have already seen one tag-name,
         and if you keep the same name, you may be in the
         situation that two people both have "version X", but
         they actually have different "X"'s. So just call it
         "X.1" and be done with it.

      2. The insane thing. You really want to call the new
         version "X" too, even though others have already seen
         the old one. So just use git tag -f again, as if you
         hadn't already published the old one.

     However, Git does not (and it should not) change tags behind
     users back. So if somebody already got the old tag, doing a
     git pull on your tree shouldn't just make them overwrite the
     old one.

     If somebody got a release tag from you, you cannot just
     change the tag for them by updating your own one. This is a
     big security issue, in that people MUST be able to trust
     their tag-names. If you really want to do the insane thing,
     you need to just fess up to it, and tell people that you
     messed up. You can do that by making a very public
     announcement saying:

         Ok, I messed up, and I pushed out an earlier version tagged as X. I
         then fixed something, and retagged the *fixed* tree as X again.

         If you got the wrong tag, and want the new one, please delete
         the old one and fetch the new one by doing:

                 git tag -d X

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Git Manual                                             GIT-TAG(1)

                 git fetch origin tag X

         to get my updated tag.

         You can test which tag you have by doing

                 git rev-parse X

         which should return 0123456789abcdef.. if you have the new version.

         Sorry for the inconvenience.

     Does this seem a bit complicated? It should be. There is no
     way that it would be correct to just "fix" it automatically.
     People need to know that their tags might have been changed.

  On Automatic following
     If you are following somebody else's tree, you are most
     likely using remote-tracking branches (refs/heads/origin in
     traditional layout, or refs/remotes/origin/master in the
     separate-remote layout). You usually want the tags from the
     other end.

     On the other hand, if you are fetching because you would
     want a one-shot merge from somebody else, you typically do
     not want to get tags from there. This happens more often for
     people near the toplevel but not limited to them. Mere
     mortals when pulling from each other do not necessarily want
     to automatically get private anchor point tags from the
     other person.

     Often, "please pull" messages on the mailing list just
     provide two pieces of information: a repo URL and a branch
     name; this is designed to be easily cut&pasted at the end of
     a git fetch command line:

         Linus, please pull from

                 git://git..../proj.git master

         to get the following updates...


         $ git pull git://git..../proj.git master

     In such a case, you do not want to automatically follow the
     other person's tags.

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Git Manual                                             GIT-TAG(1)

     One important aspect of git is its distributed nature, which
     largely means there is no inherent "upstream" or
     "downstream" in the system. On the face of it, the above
     example might seem to indicate that the tag namespace is
     owned by the upper echelon of people and that tags only flow
     downwards, but that is not the case. It only shows that the
     usage pattern determines who are interested in whose tags.

     A one-shot pull is a sign that a commit history is now
     crossing the boundary between one circle of people (e.g.
     "people who are primarily interested in the networking part
     of the kernel") who may have their own set of tags (e.g.
     "this is the third release candidate from the networking
     group to be proposed for general consumption with 2.6.21
     release") to another circle of people (e.g. "people who
     integrate various subsystem improvements"). The latter are
     usually not interested in the detailed tags used internally
     in the former group (that is what "internal" means). That is
     why it is desirable not to follow tags automatically in this

     It may well be that among networking people, they may want
     to exchange the tags internal to their group, but in that
     workflow they are most likely tracking each other's progress
     by having remote-tracking branches. Again, the heuristic to
     automatically follow such tags is a good thing.

  On Backdating Tags
     If you have imported some changes from another VCS and would
     like to add tags for major releases of your work, it is
     useful to be able to specify the date to embed inside of the
     tag object; such data in the tag object affects, for
     example, the ordering of tags in the gitweb interface.

     To set the date used in future tag objects, set the
     environment variable GIT_COMMITTER_DATE (see the later
     discussion of possible values; the most common form is
     "YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM").

     For example:

         $ GIT_COMMITTER_DATE="2006-10-02 10:31" git tag -s v1.0.1

     variables support the following date formats:

     Git internal format
         It is <unix timestamp> <timezone offset>, where <unix
         timestamp> is the number of seconds since the UNIX
         epoch.  <timezone offset> is a positive or negative

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Git Manual                                             GIT-TAG(1)

         offset from UTC. For example CET (which is 2 hours ahead
         UTC) is +0200.

     RFC 2822
         The standard email format as described by RFC 2822, for
         example Thu, 07 Apr 2005 22:13:13 +0200.

     ISO 8601
         Time and date specified by the ISO 8601 standard, for
         example 2005-04-07T22:13:13. The parser accepts a space
         instead of the T character as well.

             In addition, the date part is accepted in the
             following formats: YYYY.MM.DD, MM/DD/YYYY and

     See attributes(5) for descriptions of the following

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

     Part of the git(1) suite

      1. your@email.address

     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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