Git Switch Branch: How to Change to a Different Branch
Introduction to Git Branch Switching
Git, a powerful version control system, allows developers to work on multiple branches within a repository. Switching between branches is a fundamental operation when working on different features, bug fixes, or experiments. In this article, we will explore how to switch to a different branch in Git and effectively change the context of your working directory.
Checking Current Branch
Before switching to a different branch, it’s helpful to know which branch you are currently on. You can check the current branch using the following command:
The branch with an asterisk (*) next to it represents the current branch.
Switching to an Existing Branch
To switch to an existing branch in Git, follow these steps:
- List Existing Branches: Use the following command to view all existing branches in the repository:
Choose the Branch to Switch To: Identify the branch you want to switch to from the list of existing branches.
Switch to the Branch: Use the following command to switch to the desired branch:
git switch branch-name
Replace branch-name with the name of the branch you want to switch to. H3: Creating and Switching to a New Branch If the branch you want to switch to does not exist yet, you can create a new branch and switch to it in a single command. Here's how:
git switch -c new-branch-name
This command creates a new branch with the specified name (
new-branch-name) and automatically switches to it.
Handling Uncommitted Changes
When switching between branches, it’s important to handle uncommitted changes in your working directory. Git provides several options to handle uncommitted changes:
- Stash Changes: If you have made changes in your working directory that you want to keep but don’t want to commit yet, you can stash them using the following command:
This command saves your changes on a stack and reverts your working directory to the state of the last commit. You can switch branches and then apply the stashed changes later.
Discard Changes: If you have made changes that you no longer need and want to discard them, you can use the following command:
git restore .
This command discards all changes in your working directory and reverts it to the state of the last commit. Be cautious when using this command, as it permanently discards the changes.
Switching to a Remote Branch
To switch to a remote branch, you need to fetch the latest updates from the remote repository first. Follow these steps:
- Fetch Latest Changes: Use the following command to fetch the latest updates from the remote repository:
List Remote Branches: Use the following command to view all remote branches:
git branch -r
Choose the Remote Branch to Switch To: Identify the remote branch you want to switch to from the list of remote branches. Create and Switch to a Local Branch: Use the following command to create a new local branch from the remote branch and switch to it:
git switch -c local-branch-name origin/remote-branch-name
local-branch-name with the desired name for your local branch and
origin/remote-branch-name with the name of the remote branch you want to switch to.
Switching branches in Git is a crucial operation when working on different features or collaborating with other developers. Whether you
My name is Mark Stein and I am an author of technical articles at EasyTechh. I do the parsing, writing and publishing of articles on various IT topics.