The git checkout command in Git is used to switch between different branches or restore files from a specific commit to the working tree. Here’s an elaboration on its usage and functionality:
When used to switch branches, git checkout allows you to navigate between different branches in your Git repository. By specifying the name of the branch, you can switch to that branch, and your working directory and files will be updated to reflect the state of that branch. This means that any changes you had in progress will be stashed or committed before switching to the new branch.
Additionally, you can also use git checkout to restore specific files or directories from a specific commit or branch to your working tree. By providing the path to the file or directory, along with the commit or branch name, you can effectively revert changes made to those files and bring them back to a previous state.
Here are a few common use cases of the git checkout command:
- Switching Branches: You can switch to a different branch by using git checkout followed by the branch name. For example, git checkout feature-branch will switch your working tree to the “feature-branch”.
- Checking out Specific Files: To restore a specific file or directory from a commit or branch, you can use git checkout followed by the commit hash or branch name, and the path to the file or directory. For example, git checkout feature-branch path/to/file.txt will restore the “file.txt” from the “feature-branch” to your working tree.
- Creating a New Branch: If you provide a new branch name as an argument to git checkout, it will create a new branch based on the current commit and switch to that branch. For example, git checkout -b new-branch will create and switch to the new branch called “new-branch”.
Please note that when using git checkout, it’s important to save any uncommitted changes, as they may be overwritten or lost when switching branches or restoring files.
git checkout Command Examples
1. Create and switch to a new branch:
# git checkout -b branch_name
2. Create and switch to a new branch based on a specific reference (branch, remote/ branch, tag are examples of valid references):
# git checkout -b branch_name reference
3. Switch to an existing local branch:
# git checkout branch_name
4. Switch to the previously checked out branch:
# git checkout -
5. Switch to an existing remote branch:
# git checkout --track remote_name/branch_name
6. Discard all unstaged changes in the current directory (see git reset for more undo-like commands):
# git checkout .
7. Discard unstaged changes to a given file:
# git checkout path/to/file
8. Replace a file in the current directory with the version of it committed in a given branch:
# git checkout branch_name -- /path/to/file