How to modify existing, unpushed commit messages?

GitGit CommitGit Rewrite-HistoryGit Amend

Git Problem Overview

I wrote the wrong thing in a commit message.

How can I change the message? The commit has not been pushed yet.

Git Solutions

Solution 1 - Git

Amending the most recent commit message

git commit --amend

will open your editor, allowing you to change the commit message of the most recent commit. Additionally, you can set the commit message directly in the command line with:

git commit --amend -m "New commit message"

…however, this can make multi-line commit messages or small corrections more cumbersome to enter.

Make sure you don't have any working copy changes staged before doing this or they will get committed too. (Unstaged changes will not get committed.)

Changing the message of a commit that you've already pushed to your remote branch

If you've already pushed your commit up to your remote branch, then - after amending your commit locally (as described above) - you'll also need to force push the commit with:

git push <remote> <branch> --force
# Or
git push <remote> <branch> -f

Warning: force-pushing will overwrite the remote branch with the state of your local one. If there are commits on the remote branch that you don't have in your local branch, you will lose those commits.

Warning: be cautious about amending commits that you have already shared with other people. Amending commits essentially rewrites them to have different SHA IDs, which poses a problem if other people have copies of the old commit that you've rewritten. Anyone who has a copy of the old commit will need to synchronize their work with your newly re-written commit, which can sometimes be difficult, so make sure you coordinate with others when attempting to rewrite shared commit history, or just avoid rewriting shared commits altogether.

Perform an interactive rebase

Another option is to use interactive rebase. This allows you to edit any message you want to update even if it's not the latest message.

In order to do a Git squash, follow these steps:

// n is the number of commits up to the last commit you want to be able to edit
git rebase -i HEAD~n

Once you squash your commits - choose the e/r for editing the message:

Screenshot of terminal while editing commit

Important note about interactive rebase

When you use git rebase -i HEAD~n there can be more than n commits. Git will "collect" all the commits in the last n commits, and if there was a merge somewhere in between that range you will see all the commits as well, so the outcome will be n + .

Good tip:

If you have to do it for more than a single branch and you might face conflicts when amending the content, set up git rerere and let Git resolve those conflicts automatically for you.


Solution 2 - Git

git commit --amend -m "your new message"

Solution 3 - Git

If the commit you want to fix isn’t the most recent one:

  1. git rebase --interactive $parent_of_flawed_commit

    If you want to fix several flawed commits, pass the parent of the oldest one of them.

  2. An editor will come up, with a list of all commits since the one you gave.

    1. Change pick to reword (or on old versions of Git, to edit) in front of any commits you want to fix.
    2. Once you save, Git will replay the listed commits.

  3. For each commit you want to reword, Git will drop you back into your editor. For each commit you want to edit, Git drops you into the shell. If you’re in the shell:

    1. Change the commit in any way you like.
    2. git commit --amend
    3. git rebase --continue

Most of this sequence will be explained to you by the output of the various commands as you go. It’s very easy; you don’t need to memorise it – just remember that git rebase --interactive lets you correct commits no matter how long ago they were.

Note that you will not want to change commits that you have already pushed. Or maybe you do, but in that case you will have to take great care to communicate with everyone who may have pulled your commits and done work on top of them. How do I recover/resynchronise after someone pushes a rebase or a reset to a published branch?

Solution 4 - Git

To amend the previous commit, make the changes you want and stage those changes, and then run

git commit --amend

This will open a file in your text editor representing your new commit message. It starts out populated with the text from your old commit message. Change the commit message as you want, then save the file and quit your editor to finish.

To amend the previous commit and keep the same log message, run

git commit --amend -C HEAD

To fix the previous commit by removing it entirely, run

git reset --hard HEAD^

If you want to edit more than one commit message, run

git rebase -i HEAD~commit_count

(Replace commit_count with number of commits that you want to edit.) This command launches your editor. Mark the first commit (the one that you want to change) as “edit” instead of “pick”, then save and exit your editor. Make the change you want to commit and then run

git commit --amend
git rebase --continue

Note: You can also "Make the change you want" from the editor opened by git commit --amend

Solution 5 - Git

As already mentioned, git commit --amend is the way to overwrite the last commit. One note: if you would like to also overwrite the files, the command would be

git commit -a --amend -m "My new commit message"

Solution 6 - Git

You also can use git filter-branch for that.

git filter-branch -f --msg-filter "sed 's/errror/error/'" $flawed_commit..HEAD

It's not as easy as a trivial git commit --amend, but it's especially useful, if you already have some merges after your erroneous commit message.

Note that this will try to rewrite every commit between HEAD and the flawed commit, so you should choose your msg-filter command very wisely ;-)

Solution 7 - Git

I prefer this way:

git commit --amend -c <commit ID>

Otherwise, there will be a new commit with a new commit ID.

Solution 8 - Git

If you are using the Git GUI tool, there is a button named Amend last commit. Click on that button and then it will display your last commit files and message. Just edit that message, and you can commit it with a new commit message.

Or use this command from a console/terminal:

git commit -a --amend -m "My new commit message"

Solution 9 - Git

You can use Git rebasing. For example, if you want to modify back to commit bbc643cd, run

$ git rebase bbc643cd^ --interactive

In the default editor, modify 'pick' to 'edit' in the line whose commit you want to modify. Make your changes and then stage them with

$ git add <filepattern>

Now you can use

$ git commit --amend

to modify the commit, and after that

$ git rebase --continue

to return back to the previous head commit.

Solution 10 - Git

  1. If you only want to modify your last commit message, then do:

     git commit --amend

That will drop you into your text editor and let you change the last commit message.

  1. If you want to change the last three commit messages, or any of the commit messages up to that point, supply HEAD~3 to the git rebase -i command:

     git rebase -i HEAD~3

Solution 11 - Git

If you have to change an old commit message over multiple branches (i.e., the commit with the erroneous message is present in multiple branches) you might want to use:

git filter-branch -f --msg-filter \
'sed "s/<old message>/<new message>/g"' -- --all

Git will create a temporary directory for rewriting and additionally backup old references in refs/original/.

  • -f will enforce the execution of the operation. This is necessary if the temporary directory is already present or if there are already references stored under refs/original. If that is not the case, you can drop this flag.

  • -- separates filter-branch options from revision options.

  • --all will make sure that all branches and tags are rewritten.

Due to the backup of your old references, you can easily go back to the state before executing the command.

Say, you want to recover your master and access it in branch old_master:

git checkout -b old_master refs/original/refs/heads/master

Solution 12 - Git

If it's your last commit, just amend the commit:

git commit --amend -o -m "New commit message"

(Using the -o (--only) flag to make sure you change only the commit message)

If it's a buried commit, use the awesome interactive rebase:

git rebase -i @~9   # Show the last 9 commits in a text editor

Find the commit you want, change pick to r (reword), and save and close the file. Done!

Miniature Vim tutorial (or, how to rebase with only 8 keystrokes 3jcwrEscZZ):

  • Run vimtutor if you have time
  • hjkl correspond to movement keys
  • All commands can be prefixed with a "range", e.g. 3j moves down three lines
  • i to enter insert mode — text you type will appear in the file
  • Esc or Ctrlc to exit insert mode and return to "normal" mode
  • u to undo
  • Ctrlr to redo
  • dd, dw, dl to delete a line, word, or letter, respectively
  • cc, cw, cl to change a line, word, or letter, respectively (same as ddi)
  • yy, yw, yl to copy ("yank") a line, word, or letter, respectively
  • p or P to paste after, or before current position, respectively
  • :wEnter to save (write) a file
  • :q!Enter to quit without saving
  • :wqEnter or ZZ to save and quit

If you edit text a lot, then switch to the Dvorak keyboard layout, learn to touch-type, and learn Vim. Is it worth the effort? Yes.

ProTip™: Don't be afraid to experiment with "dangerous" commands that rewrite history* — Git doesn't delete your commits for 90 days by default; you can find them in the reflog:

$ git reset @~3   # Go back three commits
$ git reflog
c4f708b HEAD@{0}: reset: moving to @~3
2c52489 HEAD@{1}: commit: more changes
4a5246d HEAD@{2}: commit: make important changes
e8571e4 HEAD@{3}: commit: make some changes
... earlier commits ...
$ git reset 2c52489
... and you're back where you started

* Watch out for options like --hard and --force though — they can discard data. * Also, don't rewrite history on any branches you're collaborating on.

Solution 13 - Git


git commit --amend

To understand it in detail, an excellent post is 4. Rewriting Git History. It also talks about when not to use git commit --amend.

Solution 14 - Git


You have a couple of options here. You can do

git commit --amend

as long as it's your last commit.

Interactive rebase

Otherwise, if it's not your last commit, you can do an interactive rebase,

git rebase -i [branched_from] [hash before commit]

Then inside the interactive rebase you simply add edit to that commit. When it comes up, do a git commit --amend and modify the commit message. If you want to roll back before that commit point, you could also use git reflog and just delete that commit. Then you just do a git commit again.

Solution 15 - Git

If you are using the Git GUI, you can amend the last commit which hasn't been pushed with:

Commit/Amend Last Commit

Solution 16 - Git

I use the Git GUI as much as I can, and that gives you the option to amend the last commit:

Tick that box

Also, git rebase -i origin/masteris a nice mantra that will always present you with the commits you have done on top of master, and give you the option to amend, delete, reorder or squash. No need to get hold of that hash first.

Solution 17 - Git

For anyone looking for a Windows/Mac GUI to help with editing older messages (i.e. not just the latest message), I'd recommend Sourcetree. The steps to follow are below the image.

Sourcetree interactive rebase

For commits that haven't been pushed to a remote yet:

  1. Make sure you've committed or stashed all current changes (i.e., so there are no files listed in the "File Status" tab) - it won't work otherwise.
  2. In the "Log / History" tab, right click on the entry with an adjoining line in the graph one below the commit(s) you wish to edit and select "Rebase children of <commit ref> interactively..."
  3. Select the whole row for a commit message you wish to change (click on the "Message" column).
  4. Click the "Edit Message" button.
  5. Edit the message as desired in the dialog that comes up and then click OK.
  6. Repeat steps 3-4 if there are other commit messages to change.
  7. Click OK: Rebasing will commence. If all is well, the output will end "Completed successfully". NOTE: I've sometimes seen this fail with Unable to create 'project_path/.git/index.lock': File exists. when trying to modify multiple commit messages at the same time. Not sure exactly what the issue is, or whether it will be fixed in a future version of Sourcetree, but if this happens would recommend rebasing them one at a time (slower but seems more reliable).

...Or... for commits that have already been pushed:

Follow the steps in this answer, which are similar to above, but require a further command to be run from the command line (git push origin <branch> -f) to force-push the branch. I'd recommend reading it all and applying the necessary caution!

Solution 18 - Git

Wow, so there are a lot of ways to do this.

Yet another way to do this is to delete the last commit, but keep its changes so that you won't lose your work. You can then do another commit with the corrected message. This would look something like this:

git reset --soft HEAD~1
git commit -m 'New and corrected commit message'

I always do this if I forget to add a file or do a change.

Remember to specify --soft instead of --hard, otherwise you lose that commit entirely.

Solution 19 - Git

If you just want to edit the latest commit, use:

git commit --amend


git commit --amend -m 'one line message'

But if you want to edit several commits in a row, you should use rebasing instead:

git rebase -i <hash of one commit before the wrong commit>

Git rebase editing

In a file, like the one above, write edit/e or one of the other options, and hit save and exit.

Now you'll be at the first wrong commit. Make changes in the files, and they'll be automatically staged for you. Type

git commit --amend

Save and exit that and type

git rebase --continue

to move to next selection until finished with all your selections.

Note that these things change all your SHA hashes after that particular commit.

Solution 20 - Git

If you only want to change your last message you should use the --only flag or its shortcut -o with commit --amend:

git commit --amend -o -m "New commit message"

This ensures that you don't accidentally enhance your commit with staged stuff. Of course it's best to have a proper $EDITOR configuration. Then you can leave the -m option out, and Git will pre-fill the commit message with the old one. In this way it can be easily edited.

Solution 21 - Git

Update your last wrong commit message with the new commit message in one line:

git commit --amend -m "your new commit message"

Or, try Git reset like below:

# You can reset your head to n number of commit
# NOT a good idea for changing last commit message,
# but you can get an idea to split commit into multiple commits
git reset --soft HEAD^

# It will reset you last commit. Now, you
# can re-commit it with new commit message.
Using reset to split commits into smaller commits

git reset can help you to break one commit into multiple commits too:

# Reset your head. I am resetting to last commits:
git reset --soft HEAD^
# (You can reset multiple commit by doing HEAD~2(no. of commits)

# Now, reset your head for splitting it to multiple commits
git reset HEAD

# Add and commit your files separately to make multiple commits: e.g
git add app/
git commit -m "add all files in app directory"

git add config/
git commit -m "add all files in config directory"

Here you have successfully broken your last commit into two commits.

Solution 22 - Git

On this question there are a lot of answers, but none of them explains in super detail how to change older commit messages using Vim. I was stuck trying to do this myself, so here I'll write down in detail how I did this especially for people who have no experience in Vim!

I wanted to change my five latest commits that I already pushed to the server. This is quite 'dangerous' because if someone else already pulled from this, you can mess things up by changing the commit messages. However, when you’re working on your own little branch and are sure no one pulled it you can change it like this:

Let's say you want to change your five latest commits, and then you type this in the terminal:

git rebase -i HEAD~5

*Where 5 is the number of commit messages you want to change (so if you want to change the 10th to last commit, you type in 10).

This command will get you into Vim there you can ‘edit’ your commit history. You’ll see your last five commits at the top like this:

pick <commit hash> commit message

Instead of pick you need to write reword. You can do this in Vim by typing in i. That makes you go in to insert mode. (You see that you’re in insert mode by the word INSERT at the bottom.) For the commits you want to change, type in reword instead of pick.

Then you need to save and quit this screen. You do that by first going in to ‘command-mode’ by pressing the Escbutton (you can check that you’re in command-mode if the word INSERT at the bottom has disappeared). Then you can type in a command by typing :. The command to save and quit is wq. So if you type in :wq you’re on the right track.

Then Vim will go over every commit message you want to reword, and here you can actually change the commit messages. You’ll do this by going into insert mode, changing the commit message, going into the command-mode, and save and quit. Do this five times and you’re out of Vim!

Then, if you already pushed your wrong commits, you need to git push --force to overwrite them. Remember that git push --force is quite a dangerous thing to do, so make sure that no one pulled from the server since you pushed your wrong commits!

Now you have changed your commit messages!

(As you see, I'm not that experienced in Vim, so if I used the wrong 'lingo' to explain what's happening, feel free to correct me!)

Solution 23 - Git

I have added the aliases reci and recm for recommit (amend) it. Now I can do it with git recm or git recm -m:

$ vim ~/.gitconfig


	cm = commit
	reci = commit --amend
	recm = commit --amend

Solution 24 - Git

You can use git-rebase-reword

It is designed to edit any commit (not just last) same way as commit --amend

$ git rebase-reword <commit-or-refname>

It is named after the action on rebase interactive to amend a commit: "reword". See this post and man -section interactive mode-


$ git rebase-reword b68f560
$ git rebase-reword HEAD^

Solution 25 - Git

I realised that I had pushed a commit with a typo in it. In order to undo, I did the following:

git commit --amend -m "T-1000, advanced prototype"
git push --force

Warning: force pushing your changes will overwrite the remote branch with your local one. Make sure that you aren't going to be overwriting anything that you want to keep. Also be cautious about force pushing an amended (rewritten) commit if anyone else shares the branch with you, because they'll need to rewrite their own history if they have the old copy of the commit that you've just rewritten.

Solution 26 - Git

I like to use the following:

  1. git status
  2. git add --all
  3. git commit -am "message goes here about the change"
  4. git pull <origin master>
  5. git push <origin master>

Solution 27 - Git

If you have not pushed the code to your remote branch (GitHub/Bitbucket) you can change the commit message on the command line as below.

 git commit --amend -m "Your new message"

If you're working on a specific branch do this:

git commit --amend -m "BRANCH-NAME: new message"

If you've already pushed the code with the wrong message, and you need to be careful when changing the message. That is, after you change the commit message and try pushing it again, you end up with having issues. To make it smooth, follow these steps.

Please read my entire answer before doing it.

git commit --amend -m "BRANCH-NAME : your new message"

git push -f origin BRANCH-NAME                # Not a best practice. Read below why?

Important note: When you use the force push directly you might end up with code issues that other developers are working on the same branch. So to avoid those conflicts, you need to pull the code from your branch before making the force push:

 git commit --amend -m "BRANCH-NAME : your new message"
 git pull origin BRANCH-NAME
 git push -f origin BRANCH-NAME

This is the best practice when changing the commit message, if it was already pushed.


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