git-rev-list [ --max-count=number ] [ --skip=number ] [ --max-age=timestamp ] [ --min-age=timestamp ] [ --sparse ] [ --no-merges ] [ --remove-empty ] [ --not ] [ --all ] [ --stdin ] [ --topo-order ] [ --parents ] [ --left-right ] [ --encoding[=<encoding>] ] [ --(author|committer|grep)=<pattern> ] [ [--objects | --objects-edge] [ --unpacked ] ] [ --pretty | --header ] [ --bisect ] [ --merge ] [ --reverse ] [ --walk-reflogs ] <commit>… [ -- <paths>… ]


Lists commit objects in reverse chronological order starting at the given commit(s), taking ancestry relationship into account. This is useful to produce human-readable log output.

Commits which are stated with a preceding ^ cause listing to stop at that point. Their parents are implied. Thus the following command:

        $ git-rev-list foo bar ^baz

means "list all the commits which are included in foo and bar, but not in baz".

A special notation "<commit1>..<commit2>" can be used as a short-hand for "^<commit1> <commit2>". For example, either of the following may be used interchangeably:

        $ git-rev-list origin..HEAD
        $ git-rev-list HEAD ^origin

Another special notation is "<commit1><commit2>" which is useful for merges. The resulting set of commits is the symmetric difference between the two operands. The following two commands are equivalent:

        $ git-rev-list A B --not $(git-merge-base --all A B)
        $ git-rev-list A...B

gitlink:git-rev-list[1] is a very essential git program, since it provides the ability to build and traverse commit ancestry graphs. For this reason, it has a lot of different options that enables it to be used by commands as different as gitlink:git-bisect[1] and gitlink:git-repack[1].


Commit Formatting

Using these options, gitlink:git-rev-list[1] will act similar to the more specialized family of commit log tools: gitlink:git-log[1], gitlink:git-show[1], and gitlink:git-whatchanged[1]


Pretty-prints the details of a commit. --pretty without an explicit =<format> defaults to medium. If the commit is a merge, and if the pretty-format is not oneline, email or raw, an additional line is inserted before the Author: line. This line begins with "Merge: " and the sha1s of ancestral commits are printed, separated by spaces. Note that the listed commits may not necessarily be the list of the direct parent commits if you have limited your view of history: for example, if you are only interested in changes related to a certain directory or file. Here are some additional details for each format:

  • oneline

    <sha1> <title line>

    This is designed to be as compact as possible.

  • short

    commit <sha1>
    Author: <author>
    <title line>
  • medium

    commit <sha1>
    Author: <author>
    Date: <date>
    <title line>
    <full commit message>
  • full

    commit <sha1>
    Author: <author>
    Commit: <committer>
    <title line>
    <full commit message>
  • fuller

    commit <sha1>
    Author: <author>
    AuthorDate: <date & time>
    Commit: <committer>
    CommitDate: <date & time>
    <title line>
    <full commit message>
  • email

    From <sha1> <date>
    From: <author>
    Date: <date & time>
    Subject: [PATCH] <title line>
    full commit message>
  • raw

    The raw format shows the entire commit exactly as stored in the commit object. Notably, the SHA1s are displayed in full, regardless of whether --abbrev or --no-abbrev are used, and parents information show the true parent commits, without taking grafts nor history simplification into account.

  • format:

    The format: format allows you to specify which information you want to show. It works a little bit like printf format, with the notable exception that you get a newline with %n instead of \n.

E.g, format:"The author of %h was %an, %ar%nThe title was >>%s<<" would show something like this:

The author of fe6e0ee was Junio C Hamano, 23 hours ago The title was >>t4119: test autocomputing -p<n> for traditional diff input.<<

The placeholders are:

Diff Formatting

Below are listed options that control the formatting of diff output. Some of them are specific to gitlink:git-rev-list[1], however other diff options may be given. See gitlink:git-diff-files[1] for more options.


This flag changes the way a merge commit is displayed. It shows the differences from each of the parents to the merge result simultaneously instead of showing pairwise diff between a parent and the result one at a time. Furthermore, it lists only files which were modified from all parents.


This flag implies the -c options and further compresses the patch output by omitting hunks that show differences from only one parent, or show the same change from all but one parent for an Octopus merge.


Show recursive diffs.


Show the tree objects in the diff output. This implies -r.

Commit Limiting

Besides specifying a range of commits that should be listed using the special notations explained in the description, additional commit limiting may be applied.

-n number, --max-count=number

Limit the number of commits output.


Skip number commits before starting to show the commit output.

--since=date, --after=date

Show commits more recent than a specific date.

--until=date, --before=date

Show commits older than a specific date.

--max-age=timestamp, --min-age=timestamp

Limit the commits output to specified time range.

--author=pattern, --committer=pattern

Limit the commits output to ones with author/committer header lines that match the specified pattern (regular expression).


Limit the commits output to ones with log message that matches the specified pattern (regular expression).


Stop when a given path disappears from the tree.


Do not print commits with more than one parent.


Reverses the meaning of the ^ prefix (or lack thereof) for all following revision specifiers, up to the next --not.


Pretend as if all the refs in $GIT_DIR/refs/ are listed on the command line as <commit>.


In addition to the <commit> listed on the command line, read them from the standard input.

-g, --walk-reflogs

Instead of walking the commit ancestry chain, walk reflog entries from the most recent one to older ones. When this option is used you cannot specify commits to exclude (that is, ^commit, commit1..commit2, nor commit1…commit2 notations cannot be used).

With --pretty format other than oneline (for obvious reasons), this causes the output to have two extra lines of information used in the output. When the starting commit is specified as instead. Under --pretty=oneline, the commit message is prefixed with this information on the same line.


After a failed merge, show refs that touch files having a conflict and don’t exist on all heads to merge.


Output uninteresting commits at the boundary, which are usually not shown.

--dense, --sparse

When optional paths are given, the default behaviour (--dense) is to only output commits that changes at least one of them, and also ignore merges that do not touch the given paths.

Use the --sparse flag to makes the command output all eligible commits (still subject to count and age limitation), but apply merge simplification nevertheless.


Limit output to the one commit object which is roughly halfway between the included and excluded commits. Thus, if

        $ git-rev-list --bisect foo ^bar ^baz

outputs midpoint, the output of the two commands

        $ git-rev-list foo ^midpoint
        $ git-rev-list midpoint ^bar ^baz

would be of roughly the same length. Finding the change which introduces a regression is thus reduced to a binary search: repeatedly generate and test new 'midpoint’s until the commit chain is of length one.

Commit Ordering

By default, the commits are shown in reverse chronological order.


This option makes them appear in topological order (i.e. descendant commits are shown before their parents).


This option is similar to --topo-order in the sense that no parent comes before all of its children, but otherwise things are still ordered in the commit timestamp order.


Output the commits in reverse order.

Object Traversal

These options are mostly targeted for packing of git repositories.


Print the object IDs of any object referenced by the listed commits. git-rev-list --objects foo ^bar thus means "send me all object IDs which I need to download if I have the commit object bar, but not foo".


Similar to --objects, but also print the IDs of excluded commits prefixed with a "-" character. This is used by gitlink:git-pack-objects[1] to build "thin" pack, which records objects in deltified form based on objects contained in these excluded commits to reduce network traffic.


Only useful with --objects; print the object IDs that are not in packs.


Written by Linus Torvalds <>


Documentation by David Greaves, Junio C Hamano, Jonas Fonseca and the git-list <>.


Part of the gitlink:git[7] suite