GIT-CHECKOUT-INDEX(1) Git Manual GIT-CHECKOUT-INDEX(1)
git-checkout-index - Copy files from the index to the working tree
git checkout-index [-u] [-q] [-a] [-f] [-n] [--prefix=<string>]
Will copy all files listed from the index to the working directory (not
overwriting existing files).
update stat information for the checked out entries in the index
be quiet if files exist or are not in the index
forces overwrite of existing files
checks out all files in the index. Cannot be used together with
Don't checkout new files, only refresh files already checked out.
When creating files, prepend <string> (usually a directory
including a trailing /)
Instead of checking out unmerged entries, copy out the files from
named stage. <number> must be between 1 and 3. Note: --stage=all
automatically implies --temp.
Instead of copying the files to the working directory write the
content to temporary files. The temporary name associations will be
written to stdout.
Instead of taking list of paths from the command line, read list of
paths from the standard input. Paths are separated by LF (i.e. one
path per line) by default.
Only meaningful with --stdin; paths are separated with NUL
character instead of LF.
Do not interpret any more arguments as options.
The order of the flags used to matter, but not anymore.
Just doing git checkout-index does nothing. You probably meant git
checkout-index -a. And if you want to force it, you want git
checkout-index -f -a.
Intuitiveness is not the goal here. Repeatability is. The reason for
the "no arguments means no work" behavior is that from scripts you are
supposed to be able to do:
$ find . -name '*.h' -print0 | xargs -0 git checkout-index -f --
which will force all existing *.h files to be replaced with their
cached copies. If an empty command line implied "all", then this would
force-refresh everything in the index, which was not the point. But
since git checkout-index accepts --stdin it would be faster to use:
$ find . -name '*.h' -print0 | git checkout-index -f -z --stdin
The -- is just a good idea when you know the rest will be filenames; it
will prevent problems with a filename of, for example, -a. Using -- is
probably a good policy in scripts.
USING --TEMP OR --STAGE=ALL
When --temp is used (or implied by --stage=all) git checkout-index will
create a temporary file for each index entry being checked out. The
index will not be updated with stat information. These options can be
useful if the caller needs all stages of all unmerged entries so that
the unmerged files can be processed by an external merge tool.
A listing will be written to stdout providing the association of
temporary file names to tracked path names. The listing format has two
1. tempname TAB path RS
The first format is what gets used when --stage is omitted or is
not --stage=all. The field tempname is the temporary file name
holding the file content and path is the tracked path name in the
index. Only the requested entries are output.
2. stage1temp SP stage2temp SP stage3tmp TAB path RS
The second format is what gets used when --stage=all. The three
stage temporary fields (stage1temp, stage2temp, stage3temp) list
the name of the temporary file if there is a stage entry in the
index or . if there is no stage entry. Paths which only have a
stage 0 entry will always be omitted from the output.
In both formats RS (the record separator) is newline by default but
will be the null byte if -z was passed on the command line. The
temporary file names are always safe strings; they will never contain
directory separators or whitespace characters. The path field is always
relative to the current directory and the temporary file names are
always relative to the top level directory.
If the object being copied out to a temporary file is a symbolic link
the content of the link will be written to a normal file. It is up to
the end-user or the Porcelain to make use of this information.
To update and refresh only the files already checked out
$ git checkout-index -n -f -a && git update-index --ignore-missing --refresh
Using git checkout-index to "export an entire tree"
The prefix ability basically makes it trivial to use git
checkout-index as an "export as tree" function. Just read the
desired tree into the index, and do:
$ git checkout-index --prefix=git-export-dir/ -a
git checkout-index will "export" the index into the specified
The final "/" is important. The exported name is literally just
prefixed with the specified string. Contrast this with the
Export files with a prefix
$ git checkout-index --prefix=.merged- Makefile
This will check out the currently cached copy of Makefile into the
Part of the git(1) suite
Git 2.20.1 12/17/2018 GIT-CHECKOUT-INDEX(1)