git rev-parse [ --option ] <args>…


Many git porcelainish commands take mixture of flags (i.e. parameters that begin with a dash -) and parameters meant for the underlying git-rev-list command they use internally and flags and parameters for the other commands they use downstream of git-rev-list. This command is used to distinguish between them.



Use git-rev-parse in option parsing mode (see PARSEOPT section below).


Only meaningful in --parseopt mode. Tells the option parser to echo out the first -- met instead of skipping it.


Do not output flags and parameters not meant for git-rev-list command.


Do not output flags and parameters meant for git-rev-list command.


Do not output non-flag parameters.


Do not output flag parameters.

--default <arg>

If there is no parameter given by the user, use <arg> instead.


The parameter given must be usable as a single, valid object name. Otherwise barf and abort.


Only meaningful in --verify mode. Do not output an error message if the first argument is not a valid object name; instead exit with non-zero status silently.


Usually the output is made one line per flag and parameter. This option makes output a single line, properly quoted for consumption by shell. Useful when you expect your parameter to contain whitespaces and newlines (e.g. when using pickaxe -S with git-diff-\*).


When showing object names, prefix them with ^ and strip ^ prefix from the object names that already have one.


Usually the object names are output in SHA1 form (with possible ^ prefix); this option makes them output in a form as close to the original input as possible.


This is similar to --symbolic, but it omits input that are not refs (i.e. branch or tag names; or more explicitly disambiguating "heads/master" form, when you want to name the "master" branch when there is an unfortunately named tag "master"), and show them as full refnames (e.g. "refs/heads/master").


Show all refs found in $GIT_DIR/refs.


Show branch refs found in $GIT_DIR/refs/heads.


Show tag refs found in $GIT_DIR/refs/tags.


Show tag refs found in $GIT_DIR/refs/remotes.


When the command is invoked from a subdirectory, show the path of the current directory relative to the top-level directory.


When the command is invoked from a subdirectory, show the path of the top-level directory relative to the current directory (typically a sequence of "../", or an empty string).


Show $GIT_DIR if defined else show the path to the .git directory.


When the current working directory is below the repository directory print "true", otherwise "false".


When the current working directory is inside the work tree of the repository print "true", otherwise "false".


When the repository is bare print "true", otherwise "false".


Instead of outputting the full SHA1 values of object names try to abbreviate them to a shorter unique name. When no length is specified 7 is used. The minimum length is 4.


Parse the date string, and output the corresponding --max-age= parameter for git-rev-list.


Parse the date string, and output the corresponding --min-age= parameter for git-rev-list.


Flags and parameters to be parsed.


A revision parameter typically, but not necessarily, names a commit object. They use what is called an extended SHA1 syntax. Here are various ways to spell object names. The ones listed near the end of this list are to name trees and blobs contained in a commit.

Here is an illustration, by Jon Loeliger. Both commit nodes B and C are parents of commit node A. Parent commits are ordered left-to-right.

G   H   I   J
 \ /     \ /
  D   E   F
   \  |  / \
    \ | /   |
     \|/    |
      B     C
       \   /
        \ /
A =      = A^0
B = A^   = A^1     = A~1
C = A^2  = A^2
D = A^^  = A^1^1   = A~2
E = B^2  = A^^2
F = B^3  = A^^3
G = A^^^ = A^1^1^1 = A~3
H = D^2  = B^^2    = A^^^2  = A~2^2
I = F^   = B^3^    = A^^3^
J = F^2  = B^3^2   = A^^3^2


History traversing commands such as git-log operate on a set of commits, not just a single commit. To these commands, specifying a single revision with the notation described in the previous section means the set of commits reachable from that commit, following the commit ancestry chain.

To exclude commits reachable from a commit, a prefix {caret} notation is used. E.g. "{caret}r1 r2" means commits reachable from r2 but exclude the ones reachable from r1.

This set operation appears so often that there is a shorthand for it. When you have two commits r1 and r2 (named according to the syntax explained in SPECIFYING REVISIONS above), you can ask for commits that are reachable from r2 excluding those that are reachable from r1 by "{caret}r1 r2" and it can be written as "r1..r2".

A similar notation "r1\...r2" is called symmetric difference of r1 and r2 and is defined as "r1 r2 --not $(git merge-base --all r1 r2)". It is the set of commits that are reachable from either one of r1 or r2 but not from both.

Two other shorthands for naming a set that is formed by a commit and its parent commits exist. The r1{caret}@ notation means all parents of r1. r1{caret}! includes commit r1 but excludes all of its parents.

Here are a handful of examples:

D                G H D
D F              G H I J D F
^G D             H D
^D B             E I J F B
B...C            G H D E B C
^D B C           E I J F B C
C^@              I J F
F^! D            G H D F


In --parseopt mode, git-rev-parse helps massaging options to bring to shell scripts the same facilities C builtins have. It works as an option normalizer (e.g. splits single switches aggregate values), a bit like getopt(1) does.

It takes on the standard input the specification of the options to parse and understand, and echoes on the standard output a line suitable for sh(1) eval to replace the arguments with normalized ones. In case of error, it outputs usage on the standard error stream, and exits with code 129.

Input Format

git-rev-parse --parseopt input format is fully text based. It has two parts, separated by a line that contains only --. The lines before the separator (should be more than one) are used for the usage. The lines after the separator describe the options.

Each line of options has this format:

<opt_spec><flags>* SP+ help LF

its format is the short option character, then the long option name separated by a comma. Both parts are not required, though at least one is necessary. h,help, dry-run and f are all three correct <opt_spec>.


<flags> are of *, =, ? or !.

  • Use = if the option takes an argument.

  • Use ? to mean that the option is optional (though its use is discouraged).

  • Use * to mean that this option should not be listed in the usage generated for the -h argument. It’s shown for --help-all as documented in gitcli(7).

  • Use ! to not make the corresponding negated long option available.

The remainder of the line, after stripping the spaces, is used as the help associated to the option.

Blank lines are ignored, and lines that don’t match this specification are used as option group headers (start the line with a space to create such lines on purpose).


some-command [options] <args>...

some-command does foo and bar!
h,help    show the help

foo       some nifty option --foo
bar=      some cool option --bar with an argument

  An option group Header
C?        option C with an optional argument"

eval `echo "$OPTS_SPEC" | git rev-parse --parseopt -- "$@" || echo exit $?`



Written by Linus Torvalds <> . Junio C Hamano <> and Pierre Habouzit <>


Documentation by Junio C Hamano and the git-list <>.


Part of the git(1) suite