GIT-FILTER-BRANCH(1)             Git Manual             GIT-FILTER-BRANCH(1)

NAME         top

       git-filter-branch - Rewrite branches

SYNOPSIS         top

       git filter-branch [--setup <command>] [--subdirectory-filter <directory>]
               [--env-filter <command>] [--tree-filter <command>]
               [--index-filter <command>] [--parent-filter <command>]
               [--msg-filter <command>] [--commit-filter <command>]
               [--tag-name-filter <command>] [--prune-empty]
               [--original <namespace>] [-d <directory>] [-f | --force]
               [--state-branch <branch>] [--] [<rev-list options>...]

DESCRIPTION         top

       Lets you rewrite Git revision history by rewriting the branches
       mentioned in the <rev-list options>, applying custom filters on each
       revision. Those filters can modify each tree (e.g. removing a file or
       running a perl rewrite on all files) or information about each
       commit. Otherwise, all information (including original commit times
       or merge information) will be preserved.

       The command will only rewrite the positive refs mentioned in the
       command line (e.g. if you pass a..b, only b will be rewritten). If
       you specify no filters, the commits will be recommitted without any
       changes, which would normally have no effect. Nevertheless, this may
       be useful in the future for compensating for some Git bugs or such,
       therefore such a usage is permitted.

       NOTE: This command honors .git/info/grafts file and refs in the
       refs/replace/ namespace. If you have any grafts or replacement refs
       defined, running this command will make them permanent.

       WARNING! The rewritten history will have different object names for
       all the objects and will not converge with the original branch. You
       will not be able to easily push and distribute the rewritten branch
       on top of the original branch. Please do not use this command if you
       do not know the full implications, and avoid using it anyway, if a
       simple single commit would suffice to fix your problem. (See the
       "RECOVERING FROM UPSTREAM REBASE" section in git-rebase(1) for
       further information about rewriting published history.)

       Always verify that the rewritten version is correct: The original
       refs, if different from the rewritten ones, will be stored in the
       namespace refs/original/.

       Note that since this operation is very I/O expensive, it might be a
       good idea to redirect the temporary directory off-disk with the -d
       option, e.g. on tmpfs. Reportedly the speedup is very noticeable.

       The filters are applied in the order as listed below. The <command>
       argument is always evaluated in the shell context using the eval
       command (with the notable exception of the commit filter, for
       technical reasons). Prior to that, the $GIT_COMMIT environment
       variable will be set to contain the id of the commit being rewritten.
       taken from the current commit and exported to the environment, in
       order to affect the author and committer identities of the
       replacement commit created by git-commit-tree(1) after the filters
       have run.

       If any evaluation of <command> returns a non-zero exit status, the
       whole operation will be aborted.

       A map function is available that takes an "original sha1 id" argument
       and outputs a "rewritten sha1 id" if the commit has been already
       rewritten, and "original sha1 id" otherwise; the map function can
       return several ids on separate lines if your commit filter emitted
       multiple commits.

OPTIONS         top

       --setup <command>
           This is not a real filter executed for each commit but a one time
           setup just before the loop. Therefore no commit-specific
           variables are defined yet. Functions or variables defined here
           can be used or modified in the following filter steps except the
           commit filter, for technical reasons.

       --subdirectory-filter <directory>
           Only look at the history which touches the given subdirectory.
           The result will contain that directory (and only that) as its
           project root. Implies the section called “Remap to ancestor”.

       --env-filter <command>
           This filter may be used if you only need to modify the
           environment in which the commit will be performed. Specifically,
           you might want to rewrite the author/committer name/email/time
           environment variables (see git-commit-tree(1) for details).

       --tree-filter <command>
           This is the filter for rewriting the tree and its contents. The
           argument is evaluated in shell with the working directory set to
           the root of the checked out tree. The new tree is then used as-is
           (new files are auto-added, disappeared files are auto-removed -
           neither .gitignore files nor any other ignore rules HAVE ANY

       --index-filter <command>
           This is the filter for rewriting the index. It is similar to the
           tree filter but does not check out the tree, which makes it much
           faster. Frequently used with git rm --cached --ignore-unmatch
           ..., see EXAMPLES below. For hairy cases, see

       --parent-filter <command>
           This is the filter for rewriting the commit’s parent list. It
           will receive the parent string on stdin and shall output the new
           parent string on stdout. The parent string is in the format
           described in git-commit-tree(1): empty for the initial commit,
           "-p parent" for a normal commit and "-p parent1 -p parent2 -p
           parent3 ..." for a merge commit.

       --msg-filter <command>
           This is the filter for rewriting the commit messages. The
           argument is evaluated in the shell with the original commit
           message on standard input; its standard output is used as the new
           commit message.

       --commit-filter <command>
           This is the filter for performing the commit. If this filter is
           specified, it will be called instead of the git commit-tree
           command, with arguments of the form "<TREE_ID> [(-p
           <PARENT_COMMIT_ID>)...]" and the log message on stdin. The commit
           id is expected on stdout.

           As a special extension, the commit filter may emit multiple
           commit ids; in that case, the rewritten children of the original
           commit will have all of them as parents.

           You can use the map convenience function in this filter, and
           other convenience functions, too. For example, calling
           skip_commit "$@" will leave out the current commit (but not its
           changes! If you want that, use git rebase instead).

           You can also use the git_commit_non_empty_tree "$@" instead of
           git commit-tree "$@" if you don’t wish to keep commits with a
           single parent and that makes no change to the tree.

       --tag-name-filter <command>
           This is the filter for rewriting tag names. When passed, it will
           be called for every tag ref that points to a rewritten object (or
           to a tag object which points to a rewritten object). The original
           tag name is passed via standard input, and the new tag name is
           expected on standard output.

           The original tags are not deleted, but can be overwritten; use
           "--tag-name-filter cat" to simply update the tags. In this case,
           be very careful and make sure you have the old tags backed up in
           case the conversion has run afoul.

           Nearly proper rewriting of tag objects is supported. If the tag
           has a message attached, a new tag object will be created with the
           same message, author, and timestamp. If the tag has a signature
           attached, the signature will be stripped. It is by definition
           impossible to preserve signatures. The reason this is "nearly"
           proper, is because ideally if the tag did not change (points to
           the same object, has the same name, etc.) it should retain any
           signature. That is not the case, signatures will always be
           removed, buyer beware. There is also no support for changing the
           author or timestamp (or the tag message for that matter). Tags
           which point to other tags will be rewritten to point to the
           underlying commit.

           Some filters will generate empty commits that leave the tree
           untouched. This option instructs git-filter-branch to remove such
           commits if they have exactly one or zero non-pruned parents;
           merge commits will therefore remain intact. This option cannot be
           used together with --commit-filter, though the same effect can be
           achieved by using the provided git_commit_non_empty_tree function
           in a commit filter.

       --original <namespace>
           Use this option to set the namespace where the original commits
           will be stored. The default value is refs/original.

       -d <directory>
           Use this option to set the path to the temporary directory used
           for rewriting. When applying a tree filter, the command needs to
           temporarily check out the tree to some directory, which may
           consume considerable space in case of large projects. By default
           it does this in the .git-rewrite/ directory but you can override
           that choice by this parameter.

       -f, --force
           git filter-branch refuses to start with an existing temporary
           directory or when there are already refs starting with
           refs/original/, unless forced.

       --state-branch <branch>
           This option will cause the mapping from old to new objects to be
           loaded from named branch upon startup and saved as a new commit
           to that branch upon exit, enabling incremental of large trees. If
           <branch> does not exist it will be created.

       <rev-list options>...
           Arguments for git rev-list. All positive refs included by these
           options are rewritten. You may also specify options such as
           --all, but you must use -- to separate them from the git
           filter-branch options. Implies the section called “Remap to

   Remap to ancestor
       By using git-rev-list(1) arguments, e.g., path limiters, you can
       limit the set of revisions which get rewritten. However, positive
       refs on the command line are distinguished: we don’t let them be
       excluded by such limiters. For this purpose, they are instead
       rewritten to point at the nearest ancestor that was not excluded.

EXIT STATUS         top

       On success, the exit status is 0. If the filter can’t find any
       commits to rewrite, the exit status is 2. On any other error, the
       exit status may be any other non-zero value.

EXAMPLES         top

       Suppose you want to remove a file (containing confidential
       information or copyright violation) from all commits:

           git filter-branch --tree-filter 'rm filename' HEAD

       However, if the file is absent from the tree of some commit, a simple
       rm filename will fail for that tree and commit. Thus you may instead
       want to use rm -f filename as the script.

       Using --index-filter with git rm yields a significantly faster
       version. Like with using rm filename, git rm --cached filename will
       fail if the file is absent from the tree of a commit. If you want to
       "completely forget" a file, it does not matter when it entered
       history, so we also add --ignore-unmatch:

           git filter-branch --index-filter 'git rm --cached --ignore-unmatch filename' HEAD

       Now, you will get the rewritten history saved in HEAD.

       To rewrite the repository to look as if foodir/ had been its project
       root, and discard all other history:

           git filter-branch --subdirectory-filter foodir -- --all

       Thus you can, e.g., turn a library subdirectory into a repository of
       its own. Note the -- that separates filter-branch options from
       revision options, and the --all to rewrite all branches and tags.

       To set a commit (which typically is at the tip of another history) to
       be the parent of the current initial commit, in order to paste the
       other history behind the current history:

           git filter-branch --parent-filter 'sed "s/^\$/-p <graft-id>/"' HEAD

       (if the parent string is empty - which happens when we are dealing
       with the initial commit - add graftcommit as a parent). Note that
       this assumes history with a single root (that is, no merge without
       common ancestors happened). If this is not the case, use:

           git filter-branch --parent-filter \
                   'test $GIT_COMMIT = <commit-id> && echo "-p <graft-id>" || cat' HEAD

       or even simpler:

           git replace --graft $commit-id $graft-id
           git filter-branch $graft-id..HEAD

       To remove commits authored by "Darl McBribe" from the history:

           git filter-branch --commit-filter '
                   if [ "$GIT_AUTHOR_NAME" = "Darl McBribe" ];
                           skip_commit "$@";
                           git commit-tree "$@";
                   fi' HEAD

       The function skip_commit is defined as follows:

                   while [ -n "$1" ];
                           map "$1";

       The shift magic first throws away the tree id and then the -p
       parameters. Note that this handles merges properly! In case Darl
       committed a merge between P1 and P2, it will be propagated properly
       and all children of the merge will become merge commits with P1,P2 as
       their parents instead of the merge commit.

       NOTE the changes introduced by the commits, and which are not
       reverted by subsequent commits, will still be in the rewritten
       branch. If you want to throw out changes together with the commits,
       you should use the interactive mode of git rebase.

       You can rewrite the commit log messages using --msg-filter. For
       example, git svn-id strings in a repository created by git svn can be
       removed this way:

           git filter-branch --msg-filter '
                   sed -e "/^git-svn-id:/d"

       If you need to add Acked-by lines to, say, the last 10 commits (none
       of which is a merge), use this command:

           git filter-branch --msg-filter '
                   cat &&
                   echo "Acked-by: Bugs Bunny <>"
           ' HEAD~10..HEAD

       The --env-filter option can be used to modify committer and/or author
       identity. For example, if you found out that your commits have the
       wrong identity due to a misconfigured, you can make a
       correction, before publishing the project, like this:

           git filter-branch --env-filter '
                   if test "$GIT_AUTHOR_EMAIL" = "root@localhost"
                   if test "$GIT_COMMITTER_EMAIL" = "root@localhost"
           ' -- --all

       To restrict rewriting to only part of the history, specify a revision
       range in addition to the new branch name. The new branch name will
       point to the top-most revision that a git rev-list of this range will

       Consider this history:

               /     /

       To rewrite only commits D,E,F,G,H, but leave A, B and C alone, use:

           git filter-branch ... C..H

       To rewrite commits E,F,G,H, use one of these:

           git filter-branch ... C..H --not D
           git filter-branch ... D..H --not C

       To move the whole tree into a subdirectory, or remove it from there:

           git filter-branch --index-filter \
                   'git ls-files -s | sed "s-\t\"*-&newsubdir/-" |
                           GIT_INDEX_FILE=$ \
                                   git update-index --index-info &&
                    mv "$" "$GIT_INDEX_FILE"' HEAD


       git-filter-branch can be used to get rid of a subset of files,
       usually with some combination of --index-filter and
       --subdirectory-filter. People expect the resulting repository to be
       smaller than the original, but you need a few more steps to actually
       make it smaller, because Git tries hard not to lose your objects
       until you tell it to. First make sure that:

       ·   You really removed all variants of a filename, if a blob was
           moved over its lifetime.  git log --name-only --follow --all --
           filename can help you find renames.

       ·   You really filtered all refs: use --tag-name-filter cat -- --all
           when calling git-filter-branch.

       Then there are two ways to get a smaller repository. A safer way is
       to clone, that keeps your original intact.

       ·   Clone it with git clone file:///path/to/repo. The clone will not
           have the removed objects. See git-clone(1). (Note that cloning
           with a plain path just hardlinks everything!)

       If you really don’t want to clone it, for whatever reasons, check the
       following points instead (in this order). This is a very destructive
       approach, so make a backup or go back to cloning it. You have been

       ·   Remove the original refs backed up by git-filter-branch: say git
           for-each-ref --format="%(refname)" refs/original/ | xargs -n 1
           git update-ref -d.

       ·   Expire all reflogs with git reflog expire --expire=now --all.

       ·   Garbage collect all unreferenced objects with git gc --prune=now
           (or if your git-gc is not new enough to support arguments to
           --prune, use git repack -ad; git prune instead).

NOTES         top

       git-filter-branch allows you to make complex shell-scripted rewrites
       of your Git history, but you probably don’t need this flexibility if
       you’re simply removing unwanted data like large files or passwords.
       For those operations you may want to consider The BFG
       Repo-Cleaner[1], a JVM-based alternative to git-filter-branch,
       typically at least 10-50x faster for those use-cases, and with quite
       different characteristics:

       ·   Any particular version of a file is cleaned exactly once. The
           BFG, unlike git-filter-branch, does not give you the opportunity
           to handle a file differently based on where or when it was
           committed within your history. This constraint gives the core
           performance benefit of The BFG, and is well-suited to the task of
           cleansing bad data - you don’t care where the bad data is, you
           just want it gone.

       ·   By default The BFG takes full advantage of multi-core machines,
           cleansing commit file-trees in parallel. git-filter-branch cleans
           commits sequentially (i.e. in a single-threaded manner), though
           it is possible to write filters that include their own
           parallelism, in the scripts executed against each commit.

       ·   The command options[2] are much more restrictive than git-filter
           branch, and dedicated just to the tasks of removing unwanted
           data- e.g: --strip-blobs-bigger-than 1M.

GIT         top

       Part of the git(1) suite

NOTES         top

        1. The BFG Repo-Cleaner

        2. command options

COLOPHON         top

       This page is part of the git (Git distributed version control system)
       project.  Information about the project can be found at 
       ⟨⟩.  If you have a bug report for this manual page,
       see ⟨⟩.  This page was obtained from the
       project's upstream Git repository ⟨⟩ on
       2018-10-29.  (At that time, the date of the most recent commit that
       was found in the repository was 2018-10-26.)  If you discover any
       rendering problems in this HTML version of the page, or you believe
       there is a better or more up-to-date source for the page, or you have
       corrections or improvements to the information in this COLOPHON
       (which is not part of the original manual page), send a mail to

Git           10/28/2018             GIT-FILTER-BRANCH(1)

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