checkout: add advice for ambiguous "checkout <branch>"
[git/git.git] / Documentation / git-checkout.txt
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1git-checkout(1)
2===============
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3
4NAME
5----
c4ac525c 6git-checkout - Switch branches or restore working tree files
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7
8SYNOPSIS
9--------
71bb1033 10[verse]
76cfadfc 11'git checkout' [-q] [-f] [-m] [<branch>]
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12'git checkout' [-q] [-f] [-m] --detach [<branch>]
13'git checkout' [-q] [-f] [-m] [--detach] <commit>
02ac9837 14'git checkout' [-q] [-f] [-m] [[-b|-B|--orphan] <new_branch>] [<start_point>]
eac5a401 15'git checkout' [-f|--ours|--theirs|-m|--conflict=<style>] [<tree-ish>] [--] <paths>...
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16'git checkout' [<tree-ish>] [--] <pathspec>...
17'git checkout' (-p|--patch) [<tree-ish>] [--] [<paths>...]
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18
19DESCRIPTION
20-----------
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21Updates files in the working tree to match the version in the index
22or the specified tree. If no paths are given, 'git checkout' will
23also update `HEAD` to set the specified branch as the current
76cfadfc 24branch.
4aaa7027 25
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26'git checkout' <branch>::
27 To prepare for working on <branch>, switch to it by updating
28 the index and the files in the working tree, and by pointing
29 HEAD at the branch. Local modifications to the files in the
30 working tree are kept, so that they can be committed to the
31 <branch>.
32+
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33If <branch> is not found but there does exist a tracking branch in
34exactly one remote (call it <remote>) with a matching name, treat as
35equivalent to
36+
37------------
38$ git checkout -b <branch> --track <remote>/<branch>
39------------
40+
e1cdf633 41You could omit <branch>, in which case the command degenerates to
be94568b 42"check out the current branch", which is a glorified no-op with
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43rather expensive side-effects to show only the tracking information,
44if exists, for the current branch.
45
02ac9837 46'git checkout' -b|-B <new_branch> [<start point>]::
4aaa7027 47
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48 Specifying `-b` causes a new branch to be created as if
49 linkgit:git-branch[1] were called and then checked out. In
50 this case you can use the `--track` or `--no-track` options,
51 which will be passed to 'git branch'. As a convenience,
52 `--track` without `-b` implies branch creation; see the
53 description of `--track` below.
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54+
55If `-B` is given, <new_branch> is created if it doesn't exist; otherwise, it
56is reset. This is the transactional equivalent of
57+
58------------
59$ git branch -f <branch> [<start point>]
60$ git checkout <branch>
61------------
62+
63that is to say, the branch is not reset/created unless "git checkout" is
64successful.
bb0ceb62 65
e1cdf633 66'git checkout' --detach [<branch>]::
26776c97 67'git checkout' [--detach] <commit>::
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68
69 Prepare to work on top of <commit>, by detaching HEAD at it
70 (see "DETACHED HEAD" section), and updating the index and the
71 files in the working tree. Local modifications to the files
72 in the working tree are kept, so that the resulting working
73 tree will be the state recorded in the commit plus the local
74 modifications.
75+
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76When the <commit> argument is a branch name, the `--detach` option can
77be used to detach HEAD at the tip of the branch (`git checkout
78<branch>` would check out that branch without detaching HEAD).
79+
80Omitting <branch> detaches HEAD at the tip of the current branch.
e1cdf633 81
b59698ae 82'git checkout' [<tree-ish>] [--] <pathspec>...::
4aaa7027 83
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84 Overwrite paths in the working tree by replacing with the
85 contents in the index or in the <tree-ish> (most often a
86 commit). When a <tree-ish> is given, the paths that
87 match the <pathspec> are updated both in the index and in
88 the working tree.
c4ac525c 89+
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90The index may contain unmerged entries because of a previous failed merge.
91By default, if you try to check out such an entry from the index, the
db941099 92checkout operation will fail and nothing will be checked out.
b831deda 93Using `-f` will ignore these unmerged entries. The contents from a
38901a48 94specific side of the merge can be checked out of the index by
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95using `--ours` or `--theirs`. With `-m`, changes made to the working tree
96file can be discarded to re-create the original conflicted merge result.
7fc9d69f 97
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98'git checkout' (-p|--patch) [<tree-ish>] [--] [<pathspec>...]::
99 This is similar to the "check out paths to the working tree
100 from either the index or from a tree-ish" mode described
101 above, but lets you use the interactive interface to show
102 the "diff" output and choose which hunks to use in the
103 result. See below for the description of `--patch` option.
104
105
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106OPTIONS
107-------
6124aee5 108-q::
f7aec129 109--quiet::
2be7fcb4 110 Quiet, suppress feedback messages.
6124aee5 111
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112--[no-]progress::
113 Progress status is reported on the standard error stream
114 by default when it is attached to a terminal, unless `--quiet`
115 is specified. This flag enables progress reporting even if not
116 attached to a terminal, regardless of `--quiet`.
117
0270f7c5 118-f::
f7aec129 119--force::
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120 When switching branches, proceed even if the index or the
121 working tree differs from HEAD. This is used to throw away
122 local changes.
123+
124When checking out paths from the index, do not fail upon unmerged
125entries; instead, unmerged entries are ignored.
0270f7c5 126
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127--ours::
128--theirs::
129 When checking out paths from the index, check out stage #2
130 ('ours') or #3 ('theirs') for unmerged paths.
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131+
132Note that during `git rebase` and `git pull --rebase`, 'ours' and
133'theirs' may appear swapped; `--ours` gives the version from the
134branch the changes are rebased onto, while `--theirs` gives the
135version from the branch that holds your work that is being rebased.
136+
137This is because `rebase` is used in a workflow that treats the
138history at the remote as the shared canonical one, and treats the
139work done on the branch you are rebasing as the third-party work to
140be integrated, and you are temporarily assuming the role of the
141keeper of the canonical history during the rebase. As the keeper of
142the canonical history, you need to view the history from the remote
143as `ours` (i.e. "our shared canonical history"), while what you did
144on your side branch as `theirs` (i.e. "one contributor's work on top
145of it").
0270f7c5 146
45aaf031 147-b <new_branch>::
2b1f4247 148 Create a new branch named <new_branch> and start it at
76cfadfc 149 <start_point>; see linkgit:git-branch[1] for details.
7fc9d69f 150
45aaf031 151-B <new_branch>::
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152 Creates the branch <new_branch> and start it at <start_point>;
153 if it already exists, then reset it to <start_point>. This is
154 equivalent to running "git branch" with "-f"; see
155 linkgit:git-branch[1] for details.
156
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157-t::
158--track::
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159 When creating a new branch, set up "upstream" configuration. See
160 "--track" in linkgit:git-branch[1] for details.
bb0ceb62 161+
23f8239b 162If no `-b` option is given, the name of the new branch will be
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163derived from the remote-tracking branch, by looking at the local part of
164the refspec configured for the corresponding remote, and then stripping
165the initial part up to the "*".
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166This would tell us to use "hack" as the local branch when branching
167off of "origin/hack" (or "remotes/origin/hack", or even
168"refs/remotes/origin/hack"). If the given name has no slash, or the above
169guessing results in an empty name, the guessing is aborted. You can
23f8239b 170explicitly give a name with `-b` in such a case.
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171
172--no-track::
167d7445 173 Do not set up "upstream" configuration, even if the
da0005b8 174 branch.autoSetupMerge configuration variable is true.
0746d19a 175
969d326d 176-l::
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177 Create the new branch's reflog; see linkgit:git-branch[1] for
178 details.
969d326d 179
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180--detach::
181 Rather than checking out a branch to work on it, check out a
182 commit for inspection and discardable experiments.
183 This is the default behavior of "git checkout <commit>" when
184 <commit> is not a branch name. See the "DETACHED HEAD" section
185 below for details.
186
45aaf031 187--orphan <new_branch>::
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188 Create a new 'orphan' branch, named <new_branch>, started from
189 <start_point> and switch to it. The first commit made on this
190 new branch will have no parents and it will be the root of a new
191 history totally disconnected from all the other branches and
192 commits.
9db5ebf4 193+
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194The index and the working tree are adjusted as if you had previously run
195"git checkout <start_point>". This allows you to start a new history
196that records a set of paths similar to <start_point> by easily running
197"git commit -a" to make the root commit.
9db5ebf4 198+
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199This can be useful when you want to publish the tree from a commit
200without exposing its full history. You might want to do this to publish
201an open source branch of a project whose current tree is "clean", but
202whose full history contains proprietary or otherwise encumbered bits of
203code.
204+
205If you want to start a disconnected history that records a set of paths
206that is totally different from the one of <start_point>, then you should
207clear the index and the working tree right after creating the orphan
208branch by running "git rm -rf ." from the top level of the working tree.
209Afterwards you will be ready to prepare your new files, repopulating the
210working tree, by copying them from elsewhere, extracting a tarball, etc.
9db5ebf4 211
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212--ignore-skip-worktree-bits::
213 In sparse checkout mode, `git checkout -- <paths>` would
214 update only entries matched by <paths> and sparse patterns
215 in $GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout. This option ignores
216 the sparse patterns and adds back any files in <paths>.
217
1be0659e 218-m::
eac5a401 219--merge::
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220 When switching branches,
221 if you have local modifications to one or more files that
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222 are different between the current branch and the branch to
223 which you are switching, the command refuses to switch
224 branches in order to preserve your modifications in context.
225 However, with this option, a three-way merge between the current
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226 branch, your working tree contents, and the new branch
227 is done, and you will be on the new branch.
228+
229When a merge conflict happens, the index entries for conflicting
230paths are left unmerged, and you need to resolve the conflicts
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231and mark the resolved paths with `git add` (or `git rm` if the merge
232should result in deletion of the path).
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233+
234When checking out paths from the index, this option lets you recreate
235the conflicted merge in the specified paths.
1be0659e 236
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237--conflict=<style>::
238 The same as --merge option above, but changes the way the
239 conflicting hunks are presented, overriding the
da0005b8 240 merge.conflictStyle configuration variable. Possible values are
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241 "merge" (default) and "diff3" (in addition to what is shown by
242 "merge" style, shows the original contents).
1be0659e 243
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244-p::
245--patch::
246 Interactively select hunks in the difference between the
247 <tree-ish> (or the index, if unspecified) and the working
248 tree. The chosen hunks are then applied in reverse to the
249 working tree (and if a <tree-ish> was specified, the index).
250+
251This means that you can use `git checkout -p` to selectively discard
a31538e2 252edits from your current working tree. See the ``Interactive Mode''
6cf378f0 253section of linkgit:git-add[1] to learn how to operate the `--patch` mode.
4f353658 254
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255--ignore-other-worktrees::
256 `git checkout` refuses when the wanted ref is already checked
257 out by another worktree. This option makes it check the ref
258 out anyway. In other words, the ref can be held by more than one
259 worktree.
260
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261--[no-]recurse-submodules::
262 Using --recurse-submodules will update the content of all initialized
263 submodules according to the commit recorded in the superproject. If
264 local modifications in a submodule would be overwritten the checkout
265 will fail unless `-f` is used. If nothing (or --no-recurse-submodules)
266 is used, the work trees of submodules will not be updated.
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267 Just like linkgit:git-submodule[1], this will detach the
268 submodules HEAD.
1fc458d9 269
0270f7c5 270<branch>::
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271 Branch to checkout; if it refers to a branch (i.e., a name that,
272 when prepended with "refs/heads/", is a valid ref), then that
273 branch is checked out. Otherwise, if it refers to a valid
274 commit, your HEAD becomes "detached" and you are no longer on
275 any branch (see below for details).
696acf45 276+
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277You can use the `"@{-N}"` syntax to refer to the N-th last
278branch/commit checked out using "git checkout" operation. You may
279also specify `-` which is synonymous to `"@{-1}`.
873c3472 280+
75ce1495 281As a special case, you may use `"A...B"` as a shortcut for the
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282merge base of `A` and `B` if there is exactly one merge base. You can
283leave out at most one of `A` and `B`, in which case it defaults to `HEAD`.
5e1a2e8c 284
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285<new_branch>::
286 Name for the new branch.
287
288<start_point>::
289 The name of a commit at which to start the new branch; see
290 linkgit:git-branch[1] for details. Defaults to HEAD.
291
292<tree-ish>::
293 Tree to checkout from (when paths are given). If not specified,
294 the index will be used.
295
296
5e1a2e8c 297
32669671 298DETACHED HEAD
5e1a2e8c 299-------------
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300HEAD normally refers to a named branch (e.g. 'master'). Meanwhile, each
301branch refers to a specific commit. Let's look at a repo with three
302commits, one of them tagged, and with branch 'master' checked out:
5e1a2e8c 303
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304------------
305 HEAD (refers to branch 'master')
306 |
307 v
308a---b---c branch 'master' (refers to commit 'c')
309 ^
310 |
311 tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')
312------------
313
314When a commit is created in this state, the branch is updated to refer to
315the new commit. Specifically, 'git commit' creates a new commit 'd', whose
316parent is commit 'c', and then updates branch 'master' to refer to new
317commit 'd'. HEAD still refers to branch 'master' and so indirectly now refers
318to commit 'd':
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319
320------------
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321$ edit; git add; git commit
322
323 HEAD (refers to branch 'master')
324 |
325 v
326a---b---c---d branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
327 ^
328 |
329 tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')
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330------------
331
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332It is sometimes useful to be able to checkout a commit that is not at
333the tip of any named branch, or even to create a new commit that is not
334referenced by a named branch. Let's look at what happens when we
335checkout commit 'b' (here we show two ways this may be done):
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336
337------------
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338$ git checkout v2.0 # or
339$ git checkout master^^
340
341 HEAD (refers to commit 'b')
342 |
343 v
344a---b---c---d branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
345 ^
346 |
347 tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')
348------------
5e1a2e8c 349
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350Notice that regardless of which checkout command we use, HEAD now refers
351directly to commit 'b'. This is known as being in detached HEAD state.
352It means simply that HEAD refers to a specific commit, as opposed to
353referring to a named branch. Let's see what happens when we create a commit:
cec8d146 354
cec8d146 355------------
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356$ edit; git add; git commit
357
358 HEAD (refers to commit 'e')
359 |
360 v
361 e
362 /
363a---b---c---d branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
364 ^
365 |
366 tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')
cec8d146 367------------
7fc9d69f 368
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369There is now a new commit 'e', but it is referenced only by HEAD. We can
370of course add yet another commit in this state:
7fc9d69f 371
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372------------
373$ edit; git add; git commit
374
375 HEAD (refers to commit 'f')
376 |
377 v
378 e---f
379 /
380a---b---c---d branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
381 ^
382 |
383 tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')
384------------
385
2de9b711 386In fact, we can perform all the normal Git operations. But, let's look
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387at what happens when we then checkout master:
388
389------------
390$ git checkout master
391
392 HEAD (refers to branch 'master')
393 e---f |
394 / v
395a---b---c---d branch 'master' (refers to commit 'd')
396 ^
397 |
398 tag 'v2.0' (refers to commit 'b')
399------------
400
401It is important to realize that at this point nothing refers to commit
402'f'. Eventually commit 'f' (and by extension commit 'e') will be deleted
2de9b711 403by the routine Git garbage collection process, unless we create a reference
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404before that happens. If we have not yet moved away from commit 'f',
405any of these will create a reference to it:
406
407------------
408$ git checkout -b foo <1>
409$ git branch foo <2>
410$ git tag foo <3>
411------------
412
413<1> creates a new branch 'foo', which refers to commit 'f', and then
414updates HEAD to refer to branch 'foo'. In other words, we'll no longer
415be in detached HEAD state after this command.
416
417<2> similarly creates a new branch 'foo', which refers to commit 'f',
418but leaves HEAD detached.
419
420<3> creates a new tag 'foo', which refers to commit 'f',
421leaving HEAD detached.
422
423If we have moved away from commit 'f', then we must first recover its object
424name (typically by using git reflog), and then we can create a reference to
425it. For example, to see the last two commits to which HEAD referred, we
426can use either of these commands:
427
428------------
429$ git reflog -2 HEAD # or
430$ git log -g -2 HEAD
431------------
4aaa7027 432
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433ARGUMENT DISAMBIGUATION
434-----------------------
435
436When there is only one argument given and it is not `--` (e.g. "git
437checkout abc"), and when the argument is both a valid `<tree-ish>`
438(e.g. a branch "abc" exists) and a valid `<pathspec>` (e.g. a file
439or a directory whose name is "abc" exists), Git would usually ask
440you to disambiguate. Because checking out a branch is so common an
441operation, however, "git checkout abc" takes "abc" as a `<tree-ish>`
442in such a situation. Use `git checkout -- <pathspec>` if you want
443to checkout these paths out of the index.
444
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445EXAMPLES
446--------
4aaa7027 447
1be0659e 448. The following sequence checks out the `master` branch, reverts
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449the `Makefile` to two revisions back, deletes hello.c by
450mistake, and gets it back from the index.
1be0659e 451+
4aaa7027 452------------
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453$ git checkout master <1>
454$ git checkout master~2 Makefile <2>
4aaa7027 455$ rm -f hello.c
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456$ git checkout hello.c <3>
457------------
458+
1e2ccd3a 459<1> switch branch
c7cb12b8 460<2> take a file out of another commit
ce8936c3 461<3> restore hello.c from the index
1be0659e 462+
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463If you want to check out _all_ C source files out of the index,
464you can say
465+
466------------
467$ git checkout -- '*.c'
468------------
469+
470Note the quotes around `*.c`. The file `hello.c` will also be
471checked out, even though it is no longer in the working tree,
472because the file globbing is used to match entries in the index
473(not in the working tree by the shell).
474+
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475If you have an unfortunate branch that is named `hello.c`, this
476step would be confused as an instruction to switch to that branch.
477You should instead write:
1be0659e 478+
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479------------
480$ git checkout -- hello.c
481------------
482
c7cb12b8 483. After working in the wrong branch, switching to the correct
71bb1033 484branch would be done using:
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485+
486------------
487$ git checkout mytopic
488------------
489+
490However, your "wrong" branch and correct "mytopic" branch may
c7cb12b8 491differ in files that you have modified locally, in which case
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492the above checkout would fail like this:
493+
494------------
495$ git checkout mytopic
142183d0 496error: You have local changes to 'frotz'; not switching branches.
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497------------
498+
499You can give the `-m` flag to the command, which would try a
500three-way merge:
501+
502------------
503$ git checkout -m mytopic
504Auto-merging frotz
505------------
506+
507After this three-way merge, the local modifications are _not_
508registered in your index file, so `git diff` would show you what
509changes you made since the tip of the new branch.
510
511. When a merge conflict happens during switching branches with
512the `-m` option, you would see something like this:
513+
514------------
515$ git checkout -m mytopic
516Auto-merging frotz
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517ERROR: Merge conflict in frotz
518fatal: merge program failed
519------------
520+
521At this point, `git diff` shows the changes cleanly merged as in
522the previous example, as well as the changes in the conflicted
523files. Edit and resolve the conflict and mark it resolved with
d7f078b8 524`git add` as usual:
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525+
526------------
527$ edit frotz
d7f078b8 528$ git add frotz
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529------------
530
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531GIT
532---
9e1f0a85 533Part of the linkgit:git[1] suite