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How to change your commit messages in Git? — First published in fullweb.io issue #55

How to change your commit messages in Git?

At some point you’ll find yourself in a situation where you need edit a commit message. That commit might already be pushed or not, be the most recent or burried below 10 other commits, but fear not, git has your back 🙂.

Not pushed + most recent commit:

git commit --amend

This will open your $EDITOR and let you change the message. Continue with your usual git push origin master.

Already pushed + most recent commit:

git commit --amend
git push origin master --force

We edit the message like just above. But need to --force the push to update the remote history.

⚠️ But! Force pushing your commit after changing it will very likely prevent others to sync with the repo, if they already pulled a copy. You should first check with them.

Not pushed + old commit:

git rebase -i HEAD~X
# X is the number of commits to go back
# Move to the line of your commit, change pick into edit,
# then change your commit message:
git commit --amend
# Finish the rebase with:
git rebase --continue

Rebase opened your history and let you pick what to change. With edit you tell you want to change the message. Git moves you to a new branch to let you --amend the message. git rebase --continue puts you back in your previous branch with the message changed.

Already pushed + old commit:

Edit your message with the same 3 steps process as above (rebase -i, commit --amend, rebase --continue). Then force push the commit:

git push origin master --force

⚠️ But! Remember re-pushing your commit after changing it will very likely prevent others to sync with the repo, if they already pulled a copy. You should first check with them.

@simono

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commented Jul 11, 2016

You can choose reword instead of edit when rebasing to change the commit message directly. Then you can skip the amend and rebase continue.

@nepsilon

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Owner Author

commented Jul 12, 2016

Thanks for the tip! I completely missed that one.

@simono

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commented Jul 12, 2016

Sure thing. Thanks for the awesome gist 😄

@thelocle

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commented Nov 15, 2016

Hey. I'm trying to change the first-commit-message.

I tried to search for it with git rebase -i HEAD~77 but it didn't show up.

When I tried to do anything higher than 77, it states, "fatal: Needed a single revision. invalid upstream HEAD~78"

@shaharao

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commented Jan 4, 2018

@imlocle Try recounting your commits. You might not have 77 or more than 77commits.

@shaharao

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commented Jan 4, 2018

This gist is really helpful. Thanks!

@shreyas1496

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commented Jan 4, 2018

@nepsilon This works like a charm.

@Juddd

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commented Jan 12, 2018

How to input you such emoji with text form?

@Juddd

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commented Jan 13, 2018

I use your method to change those message I have pushed successfully. But seem git rebase --continue don't work anymore? If I run it, it will put me a information like:

No rebase in progress?

@Juddd

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commented Jan 13, 2018

As the reminder, I think reword is more suitable for this target..

@kshitijgorde

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commented Feb 20, 2018

Thanks. It was helpful!

@gerome0123

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commented Apr 24, 2018

+1

@superche

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commented May 18, 2018

Thanks! It's really helpful! 👍

@divivu

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commented May 22, 2018

Thanks for nice tip!

@brahbassim

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commented May 23, 2018

Very helpfull

@mgurnani

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commented Jun 24, 2018

Really helpful !!

@lokhandeomkar

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commented Jul 28, 2018

What will others have to do to be able to sync with the repo if they have already pulled?

@saso008

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commented Aug 4, 2018

I have two commit and use the (git rebase -i HEAD~2) for change commit two, and why give me the commit head for change?!
in other word , if (n) commit i don't change the commit (n).

@quannh02

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commented Oct 8, 2018

Thank it helpful

@vasanthdeveloper

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commented Nov 2, 2018

Thank you 👍

@code0wl

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commented Dec 7, 2018

Great gist!
You can also use git push --force-with-lease when force pushing to the branch if you are worried about not overriding other's work.

@ppant

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commented Mar 12, 2019

Very good.. helpful. Thanks

@ggrrll

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commented Mar 14, 2019

thanks!

@nadieenespecial

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commented Apr 7, 2019

Trying to edit asd2 it give me an error.

commit asd1...
Author: ...
Date:   Sun Apr 7 11:47:46 2019 -0300

    3.32

commit asd2...
Author: ...
Date:   Sun Apr 7 10:52:53 2019 -0300

    X 3.31
git rebase -i HEAD~2
fatal: Needed a single revision
invalid upstream HEAD~2

Solution:
git rebase -i --root

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