Basic Git Commands You Must Know [Download Cheat Sheet]

Git basic commands cheat sheet

Brief: This quick guide shows you all the basic Git commands and their usage. You can download these commands for quick reference.

We have seen the quick guide and Vi cheat sheet download in an earlier post. In this article, we’ll see all the basic Git commands you need to get started with it.


Git is a distributed version control system that is widely used by a number of open source projects. It was started in the year 2005 by Linux founder, Linus Torvalds. The program allows for a non-linear development of projects, and can handle large amounts of data effectively by storing it on the local server. In this tutorial, we are going to play around Git and learn how to get started with it.

I am using Ubuntu in this tutorial but you can use any Linux distribution of your choice. Apart from installation, rest all commands are the same in all Linux distributions.

Install Git

To install git on Ubuntu and other Ubuntu-based systems, run this command :

sudo apt-get install git-core

After it finishes downloading, you will have Git installed and ready to use.

Setup Git:

After Git is installed, whether from apt-get or from the source, you need to copy your username and email in the gitconfig file. You can access this file at ~/.gitconfig.

Opening it following a fresh Git install would reveal a completely blank page:

sudo vim ~/.gitconfig

You can use the follow commands to add in the required information. Replace ‘user’ with your username and ‘[email protected]’ with your email.

git config --global "User"
git config --global [email protected]

And you are done with setting up. Now let’s get started with Git.


Create a new directory, open it and run this command:

git init
Playing around git 1

This will create a new git repository. Your local repository consists of three “trees” maintained by git.

First one is your Working Directory which holds the actual files. Second one is the Index which acts as a staging area and finally the HEAD which points to the last commit you’ve made.checkout your repository using git clone /path/to/repository.

Checkout your repository (repository you just created or an existing repository on a server) using git clone /path/to/repository.

Add files and commit:

You can propose changes using:

git add <filename>

This will add a new file for the commit. If you want to add every new file, then just do:

git add --all

Your files are added check your status using

git status
Playing around git 2

As you can see, there are changes but they are not committed. Now you need to commit these changes, use:

git commit -m "Commit message"
playing around git 3

You can also do (preferred):

git commit -a

And then write your commit message. Now the file is committed to the HEAD, but not in your remote repository yet.

Push your changes

Your changes are in the HEAD of your local working copy. If you have not cloned an existing repository and want to connect your repository to a remote server, you need to add it first with:

git remote add origin <serveraddress>

Now you are able to push your changes to the selected remote server.To send those changes to your remote repository, run:

git push -u origin master


Branches are used to develop features which are isolated from each other. The master branch is the “default” branch when you create a repository. Use other branches for development and merge them back to the master branch upon completion.

Create a new branch named “mybranch” and switch to it using:

git checkout -b mybranch
Playing around Git (4)

You can switch back to master by running:

git checkout master

If you want to delete the branch use:

git branch -d mybranch
Playing around Git (5)

A branch is not available to others unless you push the branch to your remote repository, so what are you thinking about just push it:

git push origin <branchname>

Update and  Merge

To update your local repository to the newest commit, run:

git pull

In your working directory to fetch and merge remote changes.To merge another branch into your active branch (e.g. master), use :

git merge <branch>

In both cases, git tries to auto-merge changes. Unfortunately, this is not always possible and results in conflicts. You are responsible for merging those conflicts manually by editing the files shown by git. After changing, you need to mark them as merged with

git add <filename>

Before merging changes, you can also preview them by using

git diff <sourcebranch> <targetbranch>

Git log:

You can see the repository history using.

git log

To see a log where each commit is one line you can use:

git log --pretty=oneline

Or maybe you want to see an ASCII art tree of all the branches, decorated with the names of tags and branches:

git log --graph --oneline --decorate --all

If you want to see only which files have changed:

git log --name-status

And for any help during the entire process, you can use git --help

Isn’t Git is awesome!! Congratulation you are done with basics of git. If you like, you can download these basic Git commands as a quick reference guide from the link below:

 Download Git Cheat Sheet

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