Git Stash

Git Stash

Imagine that you are working on a part of a project and it starts getting messy. There has been an urgent bug that needs your immediate attention. It is time to save your changes and switch branches. The problem is, you don’t want to do a commit of a half-done work. The solution is git stash.

Stashing is handy if you need to quickly switch context and work on something else but you're mid-way through a code change and aren't quite ready to commit. By Bitbucket


Let's say you currently have a couple of local modifications. Run git status, to check your current state:

$ git status
# On branch master
# Changes to be committed:
#   (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)
#      modified:   index.html
# Changes not staged for commit:
#   (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
#      modified:   assets/stylesheets/styles.css

We need to work on that urgent bug. First, we want to save out unfinished work changes without committing them. This is where git stash comes as a savior:

$ git stash
Saved working directory and index state WIP on master:
  bb06da6 Modified the index page
HEAD is now at bb06da6 Modified the index page
(To restore them type "git stash apply")

Your working directory is now clean and all uncommitted local changes have been saved! At this point, you're free to make new changes, create new commits, switch branches, and perform any other Git operations.

By default, stashes are identified as "WIP" – work in progress, on top of the branch and commit they are created from.

Re-applying Your Stash

Git stash is a temporary storage. When you're ready to continue where you left off, you can restore the saved state easily: git stash pop.

Popping your stash removes the changes from your stash and reapplies the last saved state. If you want to keep the changes in the stash as well, you can use git stash apply instead.

Additional Tips and Tricks

There are a couple of other things you can do with a stash. Let's take a look!

  • Saving stashes
    Save a stash with a message: $ git stash save <message>.

Try this out by adding CSS-line high to your styles and stash it with a nice comment.

  • Stashing untracked files
    This is the only way to save untracked files: $ git stash -u or $ git stash --include-untracked
  • List multiple stashes
    When you git stash or git stash save, Git will create a Git commit object with a name and then save it in your repo. You can view the list of stashes you made at any time! $ git stash list.
$ git stash list
stash@{0}: On master: Modified the index page
stash@{1}: WIP on master: bb06da6 Initial Commit
  • Partial stashes
    You can choose to stash just a single file, a collection of files, or individual changes from within files: $ git stash -p or $ git stash --patch.

RSpec tests are a must in the Ruby on Rails projects, but they might not be always complete. Stash only the part that is ready to go!

  • Viewing stash diffs
    There are two ways to view a stash: to view the full diff of a stash - $ git stash show -p or view only the latest stash - $ git stash show.
$ git stash show
index.html | 1 +
style.css | 2 ++
2 files changed, 3 insertions(+)
  • Creating a branch from the stash
    Create a new branch to apply your stashed changes to, and then pop your stashed changes onto it: $ git stash branch <branch_name> <stash_id>.

This is another way to save your stash before moving on with the project.

  • Remove your stash
    Use it with caution, it maybe is difficult to revert. The only way to revert it is if you didn't close the terminal after deleting the stash.
    If you no longer need a particular stash, you can delete it with: $ git stash drop <stash_id>. Or you can delete all of your stashes from the repo with: $ git stash clear.

Hope this article helped you to get a better understanding how stashing works. Be sure to test it out!

The next article is just about to leave the stash! Subscribe and get informed when the time comes!