How to Use Git Alias to Make Git More Efficient

Featured Git Alias What Is It

Git is one of the most advanced version control systems to support easy branching and merging, multiple staging areas, and a distributed workflow paradigm. To get more out of Git, you can use one of its properties called “Git Alias.” Like a person’s nickname, this alias feature saves time by merging repetitive steps for a faster user experience in the Git terminal window. Here we show you what Git aliases are, how to add them, and some of the most useful examples.

Git Alias: What Is It?

Git Alias may be defined as a created command that automatically infers the text of a larger command to bring out the repetitive references as a shortcut process. The programmer can use Git aliases to design commands that should exist or makes logical sense towards efficient committing.

Here’s one of the examples of a global alias being created for “checkout,” which is used to interchange branches in a repository. Instead of the long command shown here, one can now simply use git co.

git config --global checkout
Git Alias Examples Setup Git Bash
Git Alias Examples in GitBash

A Git alias for branch is being used to create a new branch in Git repository. Instead of the long command, one can use the alias git br.

git config --global branch

Finally, here is an alias defined for Git commit, with a shortcut key: git ci.

git config --global commit

To get started with Git Alias, you must first install Git correctly. After you’ve done that, proceed as shown here.

How to Add Git Aliases

Adding Git aliases in the terminal window makes Git Bash pretty straightforward and easy. But before you do that, you need to position your commands in the right Git repository, otherwise it will lead to a “fatal: not a git repository” error.

To position your commands and to ensure you’re working in the right directory, you have to initialize the repository as shown here. It’s only required to do this step once in the beginning. In the following example, the Repo has been reinitialized.

git init
Git Alias Initialize
Git Repo Reinitialized

Enter clear to wipe the screen clean. Now you can start experimenting with Git aliases among other functions.

Git Alias Clear Screen
Clear Git Bash

Let’s add a Git alias for a “Status” command. This is useful to keep track of any changed files in the workflow. You can define the alias for this as “st” as shown here.

git config --global "status"
Git Alias Status
Git Alias “Status” Command

Once done, as shown here, you can simply type git st as a shortcut. There’s nothing added to commit to here because all these file systems are untracked, but the status alias does work properly.

Git Alias Status St
Git Alias for “Status” Successfully Implemented in Git Bash

More Git Alias Examples

1. Git Commit

Doing any work at your end in Git would require committing to the Master repository. This makes Git commit one of the most essential alias commands.

git config --global commit
Git Alias Commit
Git Alias for Commit

2. Git Revert Commit

Sometimes you need to undo a commit made using the Git Bash terminal alone. The Git alias for this revert can be defined as follows.

git config --global alias.rc revert<commit#>
Git Alias Revert Commit
Git Alias Revert Commit

3. Git Remove Commit

For a hard deletion of the commit, which removes it entirely from the branch, you need to use the reset command alias for specific versions.

git config --global reset
Git Alias Reset Delete
Git Alias Reset/Delete Command

4. Git Change Commit Message

Want to change the messaging of the most recent commit? The Git Change Commit Message plays a role in this. The following can be an alias for it. Of course, it will impact the most recent message.

git config --global amend
Git Alias Amend
Git Alias Change Commit Message

5. Git Change Branch

Do you want to swing from one Git branch to another? That’s where the checkout alias assumes importance.

git config --global checkout 
git co <existing branch>
git co -b <new branch>
Git Alias Change Branch
Git Change Branch Alias

In a similar manner, we can create appropriate Git aliases for some of the following commands:

  • Check Git username: something like git config --global "James Joyce" can be aliased to avoid frequent mentions of the username.
  • Git show branches: want to see all the branches together? You need to find an alias for git config --global branch; for remote branches, add - r to the command.

The above tutorial explains the systematic, step-by-step methodology of creating Git aliases for the most frequently used commands in the Git Bash terminal window. Here’s how you can get started with GitHub project management. You can also host your blog for free with Jekyll and GitHub Pages.

Sayak Boral
Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

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