How to modify existing, unpushed commits?

+7684 votes
asked Oct 7, 2008 by laurie-young

I wrote the wrong thing in a commit message. Alternatively, I've forgotten to include some files.

How can I change the commit message/files? The commit has not been pushed yet.

25 Answers

+14398 votes
answered Oct 7, 2008 by lfx-cool

Amending the most recent commit message

git commit --amend

will open your editor, allowing you to change the commit message of the most recent commit. Additionally, you can set the commit message directly in the command line with:

git commit --amend -m "New commit message"

…however, this can make multi-line commit messages or small corrections more cumbersome to enter.

Make sure you don't have any working copy changes staged before doing this or they will get committed too. (Unstaged changes will not get committed.)

Changing the message of a commit that you've already pushed to your remote branch

If you've already pushed your commit up to your remote branch, then you'll need to force push the commit with:

git push <remote> <branch> --force
# Or
git push <remote> <branch> -f

Warning: force-pushing will overwrite the remote branch with the state of your local one. If there are commits on the remote branch that you don't have in your local branch, you will lose those commits.

Warning: be cautious about amending commits that you have already shared with other people. Amending commits essentially rewrites them to have different SHA IDs, which poses a problem if other people have copies of the old commit that you've rewritten. Anyone who has a copy of the old commit will need to synchronize their work with your newly re-written commit, which can sometimes be difficult, so make sure you coordinate with others when attempting to rewrite shared commit history, or just avoid rewriting shared commits altogether.


Use interactive rebase

Another option is to use interactive rebase.
This allows you to edit any message you want to update even if it's not the latest message.

In order to do a git squash, follow these steps:

// X is the number of commits to the last commit you want to be able to edit
git rebase -i HEAD~X

Once you squash your commits - choose the e/r for editing the message

enter image description here

Important note about Interactive rebase

When you use the git rebase -i HEAD~X there can be more than X commits. Git will "collect" all the commits in the last X commits and if there was a merge somewhere in between that range you will see all the commits as well so the outcome will be X+.

Good tip:

If you have to do it for more than a single branch and you might face conflicts when amending the content, set up git rerere and let git resolve those conflicts automatically for you.


Documentation

  • git-commit(1) Manual Page

  • git-rebase(1) Manual Page

  • git-push(1) Manual Page

+2251 votes
answered Jun 6, 2011 by fatih

If the commit you want to fix isn’t the most recent one:

  1. git rebase --interactive $parent_of_flawed_commit

    If you want to fix several flawed commits, pass the parent of the oldest one of them.

  2. An editor will come up, with a list of all commits since the one you gave.

    1. Change pick to reword (or on old versions of Git, to edit) in front of any commits you want to fix.
    2. Once you save, Git will replay the listed commits.

  3. For each commit you want to reword, Git will drop you back into your editor. For each commit you want to edit, Git drops you into the shell. If you’re in the shell:

    1. Change the commit in any way you like.
    2. git commit --amend
    3. git rebase --continue

Most of this sequence will be explained to you by the output of the various commands as you go. It’s very easy, you don’t need to memorise it – just remember that git rebase --interactive lets you correct commits no matter how long ago they were.


Note that you will not want to change commits that you have already pushed. Or maybe you do, but in that case you will have to take great care to communicate with everyone who may have pulled your commits and done work on top of them. How do I recover/resynchronise after someone pushes a rebase or a reset to a published branch?

+2366 votes
answered Aug 15, 2011 by aristotle-pagaltzis
git commit --amend -m "your new message"
+735 votes
answered Sep 1, 2012 by john

To amend the previous commit, make the changes you want and stage those changes, and then run

git commit --amend

This will open a file in your text editor representing your new commit message. It starts out populated with the text from your old commit message. Change the commit message as you want, then save the file and quit your editor to finish.

To amend the previous commit and keep the same log message, run

git commit --amend -C HEAD

To fix the previous commit by removing it entirely, run

git reset --hard HEAD^

If you want to edit more than one commit message, run

git rebase -i HEAD~commit_count

(Replace commit_count with number of commits that you want to edit.) This command launches your editor. Mark the first commit (the one that you want to change) as “edit” instead of “pick”, then save and exit your editor. Make the change you want to commit and then run

git commit --amend
git rebase --continue

Note: You can "Make the change you want" also from the editor opened by git commit --amend

+293 votes
answered Oct 22, 2012 by shoaib-ud-din

If you are using the Git GUI tool, there is a button named amend last commit. Click on that button and then it will display your last commit files and message. Just edit that message and you can commit it with new commit message.

Or use this command from a console/terminal:

git commit -a --amend -m "My new commit message"
+337 votes
answered Nov 8, 2012 by krevedko

You also can use git filter-branch for that.

git filter-branch -f --msg-filter "sed 's/errror/error/'" $flawed_commit..HEAD

It's not as easy as a trivial git commit --amend, but it's especially useful, if you already have some merges after your erroneous commit message.

Note that this will try to rewrite EVERY commit between HEAD and the flawed commit, so you should choose your msg-filter command very wise ;-)

+275 votes
answered Nov 15, 2012 by heena-hussain

You can use Git rebasing. For example, if you want to modify back to commit bbc643cd, run

$ git rebase bbc643cd^ --interactive

In the default editor, modify 'pick' to 'edit' in the line whose commit you want to modify. Make your changes and then stage them with

$ git add <filepattern>

Now you can use

$ git commit --amend

to modify the commit, and after that

$ git rebase --continue

to return back to the previous head commit.

+209 votes
answered Dec 1, 2012 by wallerjake

Use

git commit --amend

To understand it in detail, an excellent post is 4. Rewriting Git History. It also talks about when not to use git commit --amend.

+373 votes
answered Jan 10, 2013 by mark

As already mentioned, git commit --amend is the way to overwrite the last commit. One note: if you would like to also overwrite the files, the command would be

git commit -a --amend -m "My new commit message"
+247 votes
answered Jan 18, 2013 by skin

If you have to change an old commit message over multiple branches (i.e., the commit with the erroneous message is present in multiple branches) you might want to use:

git filter-branch -f --msg-filter \
'sed "s/<old message>/<new message>/g"' -- --all

Git will create a temporary directory for rewriting and additionally backup old references in refs/original/.

  • -f will enforce the execution of the operation. This is necessary if the the temporary directory is already present or if there are already references stored under refs/original. If that is not the case, you can drop this flag.

  • -- separates filter-branch options from revision options.

  • --all will make sure, that all branches and tags are rewritten.

Due to the backup of your old references, you can easily go back to the state before executing the command.

Say, you want to recover your master and access it in branch old_master:

git checkout -b old_master refs/original/refs/heads/master
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