GIT-WORKTREE(1) Git Manual GIT-WORKTREE(1)
git-worktree - Manage multiple working trees
git worktree add [-f] [--detach] [--checkout] [--lock] [-b <new-branch>] <path> [<commit-ish>]
git worktree list [--porcelain]
git worktree lock [--reason <string>] <worktree>
git worktree move <worktree> <new-path>
git worktree prune [-n] [-v] [--expire <expire>]
git worktree remove [-f] <worktree>
git worktree unlock <worktree>
Manage multiple working trees attached to the same repository.
A git repository can support multiple working trees, allowing you to
check out more than one branch at a time. With git worktree add a new
working tree is associated with the repository. This new working tree
is called a "linked working tree" as opposed to the "main working tree"
prepared by "git init" or "git clone". A repository has one main
working tree (if it's not a bare repository) and zero or more linked
working trees. When you are done with a linked working tree, remove it
with git worktree remove.
If a working tree is deleted without using git worktree remove, then
its associated administrative files, which reside in the repository
(see "DETAILS" below), will eventually be removed automatically (see
gc.worktreePruneExpire in git-config(1)), or you can run git worktree
prune in the main or any linked working tree to clean up any stale
If a linked working tree is stored on a portable device or network
share which is not always mounted, you can prevent its administrative
files from being pruned by issuing the git worktree lock command,
optionally specifying --reason to explain why the working tree is
add <path> [<commit-ish>]
Create <path> and checkout <commit-ish> into it. The new working
directory is linked to the current repository, sharing everything
except working directory specific files such as HEAD, index, etc.
- may also be specified as <commit-ish>; it is synonymous with
If <commit-ish> is a branch name (call it <branch>) and is not
found, and neither -b nor -B nor --detach are used, but there does
exist a tracking branch in exactly one remote (call it <remote>)
with a matching name, treat as equivalent to:
$ git worktree add --track -b <branch> <path> <remote>/<branch>
If the branch exists in multiple remotes and one of them is named
by the checkout.defaultRemote configuration variable, we'll use
that one for the purposes of disambiguation, even if the <branch>
isn't unique across all remotes. Set it to e.g.
checkout.defaultRemote=origin to always checkout remote branches
from there if <branch> is ambiguous but exists on the origin
remote. See also checkout.defaultRemote in git-config(1).
If <commit-ish> is omitted and neither -b nor -B nor --detach used,
then, as a convenience, the new worktree is associated with a
branch (call it <branch>) named after $(basename <path>). If
<branch> doesn't exist, a new branch based on HEAD is automatically
created as if -b <branch> was given. If <branch> does exist, it
will be checked out in the new worktree, if it's not checked out
anywhere else, otherwise the command will refuse to create the
worktree (unless --force is used).
List details of each worktree. The main worktree is listed first,
followed by each of the linked worktrees. The output details
include if the worktree is bare, the revision currently checked
out, and the branch currently checked out (or detached HEAD if
If a working tree is on a portable device or network share which is
not always mounted, lock it to prevent its administrative files
from being pruned automatically. This also prevents it from being
moved or deleted. Optionally, specify a reason for the lock with
Move a working tree to a new location. Note that the main working
tree or linked working trees containing submodules cannot be moved.
Prune working tree information in $GIT_DIR/worktrees.
Remove a working tree. Only clean working trees (no untracked files
and no modification in tracked files) can be removed. Unclean
working trees or ones with submodules can be removed with --force.
The main working tree cannot be removed.
Unlock a working tree, allowing it to be pruned, moved or deleted.
By default, add refuses to create a new working tree when
<commit-ish> is a branch name and is already checked out by another
working tree, or if <path> is already assigned to some working tree
but is missing (for instance, if <path> was deleted manually). This
option overrides these safeguards. To add a missing but locked
working tree path, specify --force twice.
move refuses to move a locked working tree unless --force is
remove refuses to remove an unclean working tree unless --force is
used. To remove a locked working tree, specify --force twice.
-b <new-branch>, -B <new-branch>
With add, create a new branch named <new-branch> starting at
<commit-ish>, and check out <new-branch> into the new working tree.
If <commit-ish> is omitted, it defaults to HEAD. By default, -b
refuses to create a new branch if it already exists. -B overrides
this safeguard, resetting <new-branch> to <commit-ish>.
With add, detach HEAD in the new working tree. See "DETACHED HEAD"
By default, add checks out <commit-ish>, however, --no-checkout can
be used to suppress checkout in order to make customizations, such
as configuring sparse-checkout. See "Sparse checkout" in git-read-
With worktree add <path>, without <commit-ish>, instead of creating
a new branch from HEAD, if there exists a tracking branch in
exactly one remote matching the basename of <path>, base the new
branch on the remote-tracking branch, and mark the remote-tracking
branch as "upstream" from the new branch.
This can also be set up as the default behaviour by using the
worktree.guessRemote config option.
When creating a new branch, if <commit-ish> is a branch, mark it as
"upstream" from the new branch. This is the default if <commit-ish>
is a remote-tracking branch. See "--track" in git-branch(1) for
Keep the working tree locked after creation. This is the equivalent
of git worktree lock after git worktree add, but without race
With prune, do not remove anything; just report what it would
With list, output in an easy-to-parse format for scripts. This
format will remain stable across Git versions and regardless of
user configuration. See below for details.
With add, suppress feedback messages.
With prune, report all removals.
With prune, only expire unused working trees older than <time>.
With lock, an explanation why the working tree is locked.
Working trees can be identified by path, either relative or
If the last path components in the working tree's path is unique
among working trees, it can be used to identify worktrees. For
example if you only have two working trees, at "/abc/def/ghi" and
"/abc/def/ggg", then "ghi" or "def/ghi" is enough to point to the
former working tree.
In multiple working trees, some refs may be shared between all working
trees, some refs are local. One example is HEAD is different for all
working trees. This section is about the sharing rules and how to
access refs of one working tree from another.
In general, all pseudo refs are per working tree and all refs starting
with "refs/" are shared. Pseudo refs are ones like HEAD which are
directly under GIT_DIR instead of inside GIT_DIR/refs. There are one
exception to this: refs inside refs/bisect and refs/worktree is not
Refs that are per working tree can still be accessed from another
working tree via two special paths, main-worktree and worktrees. The
former gives access to per-worktree refs of the main working tree,
while the latter to all linked working trees.
For example, main-worktree/HEAD or main-worktree/refs/bisect/good
resolve to the same value as the main working tree's HEAD and
refs/bisect/good respectively. Similarly, worktrees/foo/HEAD or
worktrees/bar/refs/bisect/bad are the same as
To access refs, it's best not to look inside GIT_DIR directly. Instead
use commands such as git-rev-parse(1) or git-update-ref(1) which will
handle refs correctly.
By default, the repository "config" file is shared across all working
trees. If the config variables core.bare or core.worktree are already
present in the config file, they will be applied to the main working
In order to have configuration specific to working trees, you can turn
on "worktreeConfig" extension, e.g.:
$ git config extensions.worktreeConfig true
In this mode, specific configuration stays in the path pointed by git
rev-parse --git-path config.worktree. You can add or update
configuration in this file with git config --worktree. Older Git
versions will refuse to access repositories with this extension.
Note that in this file, the exception for core.bare and core.worktree
is gone. If you have them in $GIT_DIR/config before, you must move them
to the config.worktree of the main working tree. You may also take this
opportunity to review and move other configuration that you do not want
to share to all working trees:
o core.worktree and core.bare should never be shared
o core.sparseCheckout is recommended per working tree, unless you are
sure you always use sparse checkout for all working trees.
Each linked working tree has a private sub-directory in the
repository's $GIT_DIR/worktrees directory. The private sub-directory's
name is usually the base name of the linked working tree's path,
possibly appended with a number to make it unique. For example, when
$GIT_DIR=/path/main/.git the command git worktree add
/path/other/test-next next creates the linked working tree in
/path/other/test-next and also creates a $GIT_DIR/worktrees/test-next
directory (or $GIT_DIR/worktrees/test-next1 if test-next is already
Within a linked working tree, $GIT_DIR is set to point to this private
directory (e.g. /path/main/.git/worktrees/test-next in the example) and
$GIT_COMMON_DIR is set to point back to the main working tree's
$GIT_DIR (e.g. /path/main/.git). These settings are made in a .git file
located at the top directory of the linked working tree.
Path resolution via git rev-parse --git-path uses either $GIT_DIR or
$GIT_COMMON_DIR depending on the path. For example, in the linked
working tree git rev-parse --git-path HEAD returns
/path/other/test-next/.git/HEAD or /path/main/.git/HEAD) while git
rev-parse --git-path refs/heads/master uses $GIT_COMMON_DIR and returns
/path/main/.git/refs/heads/master, since refs are shared across all
working trees, except refs/bisect and refs/worktree.
See gitrepository-layout(5) for more information. The rule of thumb is
do not make any assumption about whether a path belongs to $GIT_DIR or
$GIT_COMMON_DIR when you need to directly access something inside
$GIT_DIR. Use git rev-parse --git-path to get the final path.
If you manually move a linked working tree, you need to update the
gitdir file in the entry's directory. For example, if a linked working
tree is moved to /newpath/test-next and its .git file points to
/path/main/.git/worktrees/test-next, then update
/path/main/.git/worktrees/test-next/gitdir to reference
To prevent a $GIT_DIR/worktrees entry from being pruned (which can be
useful in some situations, such as when the entry's working tree is
stored on a portable device), use the git worktree lock command, which
adds a file named locked to the entry's directory. The file contains
the reason in plain text. For example, if a linked working tree's .git
file points to /path/main/.git/worktrees/test-next then a file named
/path/main/.git/worktrees/test-next/locked will prevent the test-next
entry from being pruned. See gitrepository-layout(5) for details.
When extensions.worktreeConfig is enabled, the config file
.git/worktrees/<id>/config.worktree is read after .git/config is.
LIST OUTPUT FORMAT
The worktree list command has two output formats. The default format
shows the details on a single line with columns. For example:
$ git worktree list
/path/to/linked-worktree abcd1234 [master]
/path/to/other-linked-worktree 1234abc (detached HEAD)
The porcelain format has a line per attribute. Attributes are listed
with a label and value separated by a single space. Boolean attributes
(like bare and detached) are listed as a label only, and are only
present if and only if the value is true. The first attribute of a
worktree is always worktree, an empty line indicates the end of the
record. For example:
$ git worktree list --porcelain
You are in the middle of a refactoring session and your boss comes in
and demands that you fix something immediately. You might typically use
git-stash(1) to store your changes away temporarily, however, your
working tree is in such a state of disarray (with new, moved, and
removed files, and other bits and pieces strewn around) that you don't
want to risk disturbing any of it. Instead, you create a temporary
linked working tree to make the emergency fix, remove it when done, and
then resume your earlier refactoring session.
$ git worktree add -b emergency-fix ../temp master
$ pushd ../temp
# ... hack hack hack ...
$ git commit -a -m 'emergency fix for boss'
$ git worktree remove ../temp
Multiple checkout in general is still experimental, and the support for
submodules is incomplete. It is NOT recommended to make multiple
checkouts of a superproject.
Part of the git(1) suite
Git 2.20.1 01/22/2019 GIT-WORKTREE(1)