What does git log do?

The git log command displays all of the commits in a repository’s history.

By default, the command displays each commit’s:

  • Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA)
  • author
  • date
  • commit message

Git uses the Less terminal pager to page through the commit history. You can navigate it with the following commands:

  • to scroll down by one line, use j or ↓
  • to scroll up by one line, use k or ↑
  • to scroll down by one page, use the spacebar or the Page Down button
  • to scroll up by one page, use b or the Page Up button
  • to quit the log, use q

Git Log Flags

You can customize the information presented by git log using flags.


git log --oneline

The --oneline flag causes git log to display

  • one commit per line
  • the first seven characters of the SHA
  • the commit message


git log --stat

The --stat flag causes git log to display

  • the files that were modified in each commit
  • the number of lines added or removed
  • a summary line with the total number of files and lines changed

--patch or -p

git log --patch

or, the shorter version

git log -p

The --patch flag causes git log to display

  • the files that you modified
  • the location of the lines that you added or removed
  • the specific changes that you made

View specified number of commits by author

To view a specified number of commits by an author to the current repo (optionally in a prettified format), the following command can be used

git log --pretty=format:"%Cred%h%Creset -%C(yellow)%d%Creset %s %Cgreen(%cr) %C(bold blue)<%an>%Creset" -n {NUMBER_OF_COMMITS} --author="{AUTHOR_NAME}" --all

Start at a specific commit

To start git log at a specific commit, add the SHA:

git log 7752b22

This will display the commit with the SHA 7752b22 and all of the commits made before that commit. You can combine this with any of the other flags.


git log --graph

The --graph flag enables you to view your git log as a graph. To make things things interesting, you can combine this command with --oneline option you learned from above.

git log --graph --oneline

The output would be similar to,

* 64e6db0 Update index.md
* b592012 Update Python articles (#5030)
* ecbf9d3 Add latest version and remove duplicate link (#8860)
* 7e3934b Add hint for Compose React Components (#8705)
* 99b7758 Added more frameworks (#8842)
* c4e6a84 Add hint for "Create a Component with Composition" (#8704)
*   907b004 Merge branch 'master' of github.com:freeCodeCamp/guide
| * 275b6d1 Update index.md
* |   cb74308 Merge branch 'dogb3rt-patch-3'
|\ \  
| |/  
| *   98015b6 fix merge conflicts after folder renaming
| |\  
|/ /  
| * fa83460 Update index.md
* | 6afb3b5 rename illegally formatted folder name (#8762)
* | 64b1fe4 CSS3: border-radius property (#8803)

One of the benefit of using this command is that it enables you to get a overview of how commits have merged and how the git history was created.

There are may other options you could use in combination with --graph. Couple of them are --decorate and --all. Make sure to try these out too. And you can refer to the documentation for more helpful info.

More Information:

Other Resources on Git