I’ve seen quite a few posts about setting up .gitconfig files with aliases like co = checkout. I see the value in saving some keystrokes (and misspellings), but I personally don’t use those aliases. Command length is rarely the pain point I experience with Git. I do, however, use a handful of aliases that I find very helpful. I like to classify them as semantic aliases.


  uncommit = reset --soft HEAD^
  unstage = reset
  staged = diff --cached
  ctags = "!.git/hooks/ctags"


As of the time of writing, a question on StackOverflow named “How to uncommit my last commit in Git” had been upvoted 666 times, and its accepted answer had been upvoted 1068 times. The title alone suggests what users are trying to do. They’re just not sure how to accomplish it. The answer is to use git reset --soft HEAD^, which, if you spend some time thinking about it, makes sense. But don’t make me think.

Aliasing the command to uncommit has taken the mental overhead out of the equation. And since I’m not searching for the correct syntax every time, it also saves me time. It’s been all upside.


Here’s what I see every time I issue git status:

Changes to be committed:
  (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)

“Use … to unstage”. While I don’t need to open up my browser to look up the syntax, I still have to translate the command and arguments to understand its purpose. Aliasing to unstage ends up adding a keystroke, but I find it reduces the mental energy spent on the task. Thanks to Thoughtbot for sharing and making my Git experience better!


I try to be very intentional about my commits, grouping alike changes to ensure that the story I’m telling to the reviewer (and future maintainers) is coherent. In the process of preparing a commit I often look at the current diff, as well as what has already been staged. I used to have git diff --cached memorized for this purpose, but aliasing the command has made it so much more friendly to use.

While uncommit and unstage are used occasionally, I use staged all the time.


This alias sheds less light on what Git itself is doing, but I find it useful and hope others will as well. It relies on Tim Pope’s Effortless Ctags with Git setup, which I highly recommend if you’re a Vim user. With this alias, you can re-index your codebase without relying on a Git hook.

I hope you find these aliases as helpful as I do, not for their ability to save keystrokes, but for how accessible they make some of Git’s powerful features.