Git Basics Cheat Sheet

Git is a distributed version control system that helps manage changes to source code throughout the software development lifecycle. It's the standard way for multiple developers to work on a single project simultaneously.

In this short cheat sheet, I'll cover all the jargon and basics you'll need to know as a developer:

Git Jargon You Should Know:

  • Repository (Repo): A database storing the history of a collection of files.
  • Commit: A snapshot of the state of your files at a given time. Branch: A separate development line used to work on new features or fix bugs independently of the main project.
  • Merge: The process of combining changes from different branches.
  • Clone: A copy of a repository on your computer, allowing you to edit files in your environment.
  • Pull: Fetching and merging changes from a remote repository to your local repository.
  • Push: Sending your local changes to the remote repository.

Basic Git Commands

Setting up Git

Configure your user information:

git config --global "Your Name"
git config --global ""

Creating a Repository

Initialize a new Git repository:

git init

Cloning a Repository

Create a local copy of a remote repository:

git clone

Working with Branches

List all branches:

git branch

Create a new branch:

git checkout -b new-branch-name

Switch to a branch:

git checkout existing-branch-name

Staging and Committing

Stage changes all changes files:

git add .

Stage specific files:

git add index.js test.js

Commit changes with a message:

git commit -m "Commit message"

Pushing Changes

Push your commits to the remote repository:

git push origin my-branch-name

Pulling Changes

Update your local repository to the newest commit from the remote repository:

git pull

Merging Branches

Merge another branch into your current branch:

git merge other-branch

Commit History

Show the commit history:

git log

Handling Merge Conflicts

Merge conflicts occur when Git cannot automatically reconcile changes in different branches. When a conflict arises, you have to resolve the conflicts in the affected files manually, then mark them as resolved by staging them:

git add filename

General Tips

  • Make small, incremental commits that include related changes.
  • Write clear, descriptive commit messages.
  • Regularly pull changes from the remote repository to keep your local repository up-to-date. It will help you avoid nasty conflicts.
  • Use branches for new features, fixes, or experiments.
Avatar for Niall Maher

Written by Niall Maher

Founder of Codú - The web developer community! I've worked in nearly every corner of technology businesses; Lead Developer, Software Architect, Product Manager, CTO and now happily a Founder.


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