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Git – Basic Terminal Commands Checklist

I was observing a lot of traction from the developer community about the Git and Github and last year I got a chance to use the Git, majorly because of the woes we had using SVN ( subversion ) as our source control  in our team where most of the members are working remotely. I was amazed to see the power of Git but the learning curve was very steep, especially if you are a long time SVN user. I chose to use terminal commands to operate Git instead of a GUI tool so that it would help me know how Git operates behind the scenes which is masked by many GUI tools out in the space.

I started preparing an Appendix of commands of myself which I would use on a daily basis and most of my usage of commands are recorded in this list. Since, Its been close to year where I have made this checklist and updated as I found new usage scenarios, I thought i would share this back to community and to the newcomers who are entering into Git world, to make their Git transition smoother.


  • I assume that the readers / users of this checklist  have the conceptual details on how who Git operates.
  • I always referred remote repository as origin ( as most of the time I used only single repository and git names it as ‘origin’ by default ).
  • I have most of the times tested these commands in Mac OS X 10.8, however I would assume you know why you are using these commands and I would not be responsible for any data loss resulting from usage of these commands.

I have organized the following commands based on the usage scenarios:

1. Basic Update and Commit 

   a. Check the status of git  

git status

   b. Adding Files

git add <filename>


git add <regular expression>

    c. Commit – only updates the Local repository and does not push to the cloud

git commit -am “Commit Message”

git commit -m “Commit message” <filename> 

    d.  Update to remote repository

git push <remote name> <branch>

By Default <remote name> would be origin, if no branch is specified, then it will be pushed to master.


2. Remove from staging == remove from svn tracking

git rm -r –cached <file path>


3. Git Branch 

 a. Creating a branch

git branch <branch_name>


git checkout -b  <branch_name>


b. List all branches

git branch 

c. List all branches in remote repository

git branch -r


git fetch && git branch -r


d. Merging a branch


1. To commit and push all the changes made in this branch to remote

//Commit all the modified files

 git commit -am “<Commit message>”   

git push origin <branch name>


2. Switch to destination branch where u need to merge your changes. 

For eg. If you want to merge in Feature 1 in master branch, then switch to master by ‘git checkout master


git merge <branch_name>

git merge –no-ff <branch_name>


c. Deleting a branch in local repository

git branch -d <branch name>


d. Deleing a branch forcefully on local repository

git branch -D <branch_name>

e. Deleting a branch on remote repository

git push <remote> :<branch _name>

f. Download a branch from the repository 

 (sometimes you need to execute ‘git fetch’ command before executing this command )

git checkout -t origin/<branch-name> 

4. Ignore New Files or Never track

– Place .gitignorefile in Git root directory

– Add the file path or wilde cards for e.g.,  *.xcodeuserstate entry for example using vi editor or any text editor. You can add each file to be ignored in a new line

– save the .gitignore file

– this will take effect only to the new files. if you want to ignore an existing file. do a git rm –cached <filename> and follow the above steps.

Please let me know through comments in this blog if there are any faulty usage of these commands, so that I could rectify it.

I will try to update this post as and when I find some new commands. Please let me know if you find this useful.

Happy Coding 🙂

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