From Get docs



git-checkout - Switch branches or restore working tree files


git checkout [-q] [-f] [-m] [<branch>]
git checkout [-q] [-f] [-m] --detach [<branch>]
git checkout [-q] [-f] [-m] [--detach] <commit>
git checkout [-q] [-f] [-m] [[-b|-B|--orphan] <new_branch>] [<start_point>]
git checkout [-f|--ours|--theirs|-m|--conflict=<style>] [<tree-ish>] [--] <pathspec>…​
git checkout [-f|--ours|--theirs|-m|--conflict=<style>] [<tree-ish>] --pathspec-from-file=<file> [--pathspec-file-nul]
git checkout (-p|--patch) [<tree-ish>] [--] [<pathspec>…​]


Updates files in the working tree to match the version in the index or the specified tree. If no pathspec was given, git checkout will also update HEAD to set the specified branch as the current branch.

git checkout [<branch>]

To prepare for working on <branch>, switch to it by updating the index and the files in the working tree, and by pointing HEAD at the branch. Local modifications to the files in the working tree are kept, so that they can be committed to the <branch>.

If <branch> is not found but there does exist a tracking branch in exactly one remote (call it <remote>) with a matching name and --no-guess is not specified, treat as equivalent to

$ git checkout -b <branch> --track <remote>/<branch>

You could omit <branch>, in which case the command degenerates to "check out the current branch", which is a glorified no-op with rather expensive side-effects to show only the tracking information, if exists, for the current branch.

git checkout -b|-B <new_branch> [<start point>]

Specifying -b causes a new branch to be created as if git-branch[1] were called and then checked out. In this case you can use the --track or --no-track options, which will be passed to git branch. As a convenience, --track without -b implies branch creation; see the description of --track below.

If -B is given, <new_branch> is created if it doesn’t exist; otherwise, it is reset. This is the transactional equivalent of

$ git branch -f <branch> [<start point>]
$ git checkout <branch>

that is to say, the branch is not reset/created unless "git checkout" is successful.

git checkout --detach [<branch>]
git checkout [--detach] <commit>

Prepare to work on top of <commit>, by detaching HEAD at it (see "DETACHED HEAD" section), and updating the index and the files in the working tree. Local modifications to the files in the working tree are kept, so that the resulting working tree will be the state recorded in the commit plus the local modifications.

When the <commit> argument is a branch name, the --detach option can be used to detach HEAD at the tip of the branch (git checkout <branch> would check out that branch without detaching HEAD).

Omitting <branch> detaches HEAD at the tip of the current branch.

git checkout [-f|--ours|--theirs|-m|--conflict=<style>] [<tree-ish>] [--] <pathspec>…​
git checkout [-f|--ours|--theirs|-m|--conflict=<style>] [<tree-ish>] --pathspec-from-file=<file> [--pathspec-file-nul]

Overwrite the contents of the files that match the pathspec. When the <tree-ish> (most often a commit) is not given, overwrite working tree with the contents in the index. When the <tree-ish> is given, overwrite both the index and the working tree with the contents at the <tree-ish>.

The index may contain unmerged entries because of a previous failed merge. By default, if you try to check out such an entry from the index, the checkout operation will fail and nothing will be checked out. Using -f will ignore these unmerged entries. The contents from a specific side of the merge can be checked out of the index by using --ours or --theirs. With -m, changes made to the working tree file can be discarded to re-create the original conflicted merge result.

git checkout (-p|--patch) [<tree-ish>] [--] [<pathspec>…​]

This is similar to the previous mode, but lets you use the interactive interface to show the "diff" output and choose which hunks to use in the result. See below for the description of --patch option.


-q --quiet Quiet, suppress feedback messages.

--progress --no-progress Progress status is reported on the standard error stream by default when it is attached to a terminal, unless --quiet is specified. This flag enables progress reporting even if not attached to a terminal, regardless of --quiet.

-f --force When switching branches, proceed even if the index or the working tree differs from HEAD, and even if there are untracked files in the way. This is used to throw away local changes and any untracked files or directories that are in the way.

When checking out paths from the index, do not fail upon unmerged entries; instead, unmerged entries are ignored.

--ours --theirs When checking out paths from the index, check out stage #2 (ours) or #3 (theirs) for unmerged paths.

Note that during git rebase and git pull --rebase, ours and theirs may appear swapped; --ours gives the version from the branch the changes are rebased onto, while --theirs gives the version from the branch that holds your work that is being rebased.

This is because rebase is used in a workflow that treats the history at the remote as the shared canonical one, and treats the work done on the branch you are rebasing as the third-party work to be integrated, and you are temporarily assuming the role of the keeper of the canonical history during the rebase. As the keeper of the canonical history, you need to view the history from the remote as ours (i.e. "our shared canonical history"), while what you did on your side branch as theirs (i.e. "one contributor’s work on top of it").

-b Create a new branch named <new_branch> and start it at <start_point>; see git-branch[1] for details.

-B Creates the branch <new_branch> and start it at <start_point>; if it already exists, then reset it to <start_point>. This is equivalent to running "git branch" with "-f"; see git-branch[1] for details.

-t --track When creating a new branch, set up "upstream" configuration. See "--track" in git-branch[1] for details.

If no -b option is given, the name of the new branch will be derived from the remote-tracking branch, by looking at the local part of the refspec configured for the corresponding remote, and then stripping the initial part up to the "*". This would tell us to use hack as the local branch when branching off of origin/hack (or remotes/origin/hack, or even refs/remotes/origin/hack). If the given name has no slash, or the above guessing results in an empty name, the guessing is aborted. You can explicitly give a name with -b in such a case.

--no-track Do not set up "upstream" configuration, even if the branch.autoSetupMerge configuration variable is true.

--guess --no-guess If <branch> is not found but there does exist a tracking branch in exactly one remote (call it <remote>) with a matching name, treat as equivalent to

$ git checkout -b <branch> --track <remote>/<branch>

If the branch exists in multiple remotes and one of them is named by the checkout.defaultRemote configuration variable, we’ll use that one for the purposes of disambiguation, even if the <branch> isn’t unique across all remotes. Set it to e.g. checkout.defaultRemote=origin to always checkout remote branches from there if <branch> is ambiguous but exists on the origin remote. See also checkout.defaultRemote in git-config[1].

--guess is the default behavior. Use --no-guess to disable it.

The default behavior can be set via the checkout.guess configuration variable.

-l Create the new branch’s reflog; see git-branch[1] for details.

-d --detach Rather than checking out a branch to work on it, check out a commit for inspection and discardable experiments. This is the default behavior of git checkout <commit> when <commit> is not a branch name. See the "DETACHED HEAD" section below for details.

--orphan Create a new orphan branch, named <new_branch>, started from <start_point> and switch to it. The first commit made on this new branch will have no parents and it will be the root of a new history totally disconnected from all the other branches and commits.

The index and the working tree are adjusted as if you had previously run git checkout <start_point>. This allows you to start a new history that records a set of paths similar to <start_point> by easily running git commit -a to make the root commit.

This can be useful when you want to publish the tree from a commit without exposing its full history. You might want to do this to publish an open source branch of a project whose current tree is "clean", but whose full history contains proprietary or otherwise encumbered bits of code.

If you want to start a disconnected history that records a set of paths that is totally different from the one of <start_point>, then you should clear the index and the working tree right after creating the orphan branch by running git rm -rf . from the top level of the working tree. Afterwards you will be ready to prepare your new files, repopulating the working tree, by copying them from elsewhere, extracting a tarball, etc.

--ignore-skip-worktree-bits In sparse checkout mode, git checkout -- <paths> would update only entries matched by <paths> and sparse patterns in $GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout. This option ignores the sparse patterns and adds back any files in <paths>.

-m --merge When switching branches, if you have local modifications to one or more files that are different between the current branch and the branch to which you are switching, the command refuses to switch branches in order to preserve your modifications in context. However, with this option, a three-way merge between the current branch, your working tree contents, and the new branch is done, and you will be on the new branch.

When a merge conflict happens, the index entries for conflicting paths are left unmerged, and you need to resolve the conflicts and mark the resolved paths with git add (or git rm if the merge should result in deletion of the path).

When checking out paths from the index, this option lets you recreate the conflicted merge in the specified paths.

When switching branches with --merge, staged changes may be lost.