git format-patch [-k] [(-o|--output-directory) <dir> | --stdout]
[--no-thread | --thread[=<style>]]
[(--attach|--inline)[=<boundary>] | --no-attach]
[-s | --signoff]
[--signature=<signature> | --no-signature]
[-n | --numbered | -N | --no-numbered]
[--start-number <n>] [--numbered-files]
[--subject-prefix=Subject-Prefix] [(--reroll-count|-v) <n>]
[--[no-]cover-letter] [--quiet] [--notes[=<ref>]]
[<common diff options>]
[ <since> | <revision range> ]
Prepare each commit with its patch in one file per commit, formatted to
resemble UNIX mailbox format. The output of this command is convenient
for e-mail submission or for use with git am.
There are two ways to specify which commits to operate on.
1. A single commit, <since>, specifies that the commits leading to the
tip of the current branch that are not in the history that leads to
the <since> to be output.
2. Generic <revision range> expression (see "SPECIFYING REVISIONS"
section in gitrevisions(7)) means the commits in the specified
The first rule takes precedence in the case of a single <commit>. To
apply the second rule, i.e., format everything since the beginning of
history up until <commit>, use the --root option: git format-patch
--root <commit>. If you want to format only <commit> itself, you can do
this with git format-patch -1 <commit>.
By default, each output file is numbered sequentially from 1, and uses
the first line of the commit message (massaged for pathname safety) as
the filename. With the --numbered-files option, the output file names
will only be numbers, without the first line of the commit appended.
The names of the output files are printed to standard output, unless
the --stdout option is specified.
If -o is specified, output files are created in <dir>. Otherwise they
are created in the current working directory.
By default, the subject of a single patch is "[PATCH] " followed by the
concatenation of lines from the commit message up to the first blank
line (see the DISCUSSION section of git-commit(1)).
When multiple patches are output, the subject prefix will instead be
"[PATCH n/m] ". To force 1/1 to be added for a single patch, use -n. To
omit patch numbers from the subject, use -N.
the patch by default, or to cancel the effect of --patch.
Generate diffs with <n> lines of context instead of the usual
Spend extra time to make sure the smallest possible diff is
Generate a diff using the "patience diff" algorithm.
Generate a diff using the "histogram diff" algorithm.
Choose a diff algorithm. The variants are as follows:
The basic greedy diff algorithm. Currently, this is the
Spend extra time to make sure the smallest possible diff is
Use "patience diff" algorithm when generating patches.
This algorithm extends the patience algorithm to "support
low-occurrence common elements".
For instance, if you configured diff.algorithm variable to a
non-default value and want to use the default one, then you have to
use --diff-algorithm=default option.
Generate a diffstat. By default, as much space as necessary will be
used for the filename part, and the rest for the graph part.
Maximum width defaults to terminal width, or 80 columns if not
connected to a terminal, and can be overridden by <width>. The
width of the filename part can be limited by giving another width
<name-width> after a comma. The width of the graph part can be
limited by using --stat-graph-width=<width> (affects all commands
generating a stat graph) or by setting diff.statGraphWidth=<width>
(does not affect git format-patch). By giving a third parameter
<count>, you can limit the output to the first <count> lines,
followed by ... if there are more.
These parameters can also be set individually with
--stat-width=<width>, --stat-name-width=<name-width> and
Output the distribution of relative amount of changes for each
sub-directory. The behavior of --dirstat can be customized by
passing it a comma separated list of parameters. The defaults are
controlled by the diff.dirstat configuration variable (see git-
config(1)). The following parameters are available:
Compute the dirstat numbers by counting the lines that have
been removed from the source, or added to the destination. This
ignores the amount of pure code movements within a file. In
other words, rearranging lines in a file is not counted as much
as other changes. This is the default behavior when no
parameter is given.
Compute the dirstat numbers by doing the regular line-based
diff analysis, and summing the removed/added line counts. (For
binary files, count 64-byte chunks instead, since binary files
have no natural concept of lines). This is a more expensive
--dirstat behavior than the changes behavior, but it does count
rearranged lines within a file as much as other changes. The
resulting output is consistent with what you get from the other
Compute the dirstat numbers by counting the number of files
changed. Each changed file counts equally in the dirstat
analysis. This is the computationally cheapest --dirstat
behavior, since it does not have to look at the file contents
Count changes in a child directory for the parent directory as
well. Note that when using cumulative, the sum of the
percentages reported may exceed 100%. The default
(non-cumulative) behavior can be specified with the
An integer parameter specifies a cut-off percent (3% by
default). Directories contributing less than this percentage of
the changes are not shown in the output.
Example: The following will count changed files, while ignoring
directories with less than 10% of the total amount of changed
files, and accumulating child directory counts in the parent
Output a condensed summary of extended header information such as
creations, renames and mode changes.
Instead of showing the full 40-byte hexadecimal object name in
diff-raw format output and diff-tree header lines, show only a
partial prefix. This is independent of the --full-index option
above, which controls the diff-patch output format. Non default
number of digits can be specified with --abbrev=<n>.
Break complete rewrite changes into pairs of delete and create.
This serves two purposes:
It affects the way a change that amounts to a total rewrite of a
file not as a series of deletion and insertion mixed together with
a very few lines that happen to match textually as the context, but
as a single deletion of everything old followed by a single
insertion of everything new, and the number m controls this aspect
of the -B option (defaults to 60%). -B/70% specifies that less
than 30% of the original should remain in the result for Git to
consider it a total rewrite (i.e. otherwise the resulting patch
will be a series of deletion and insertion mixed together with
When used with -M, a totally-rewritten file is also considered as
the source of a rename (usually -M only considers a file that
disappeared as the source of a rename), and the number n controls
this aspect of the -B option (defaults to 50%). -B20% specifies
that a change with addition and deletion compared to 20% or more of
the file's size are eligible for being picked up as a possible
source of a rename to another file.
Detect renames. If n is specified, it is a threshold on the
similarity index (i.e. amount of addition/deletions compared to the
file's size). For example, -M90% means Git should consider a
delete/add pair to be a rename if more than 90% of the file hasn't
changed. Without a % sign, the number is to be read as a fraction,
with a decimal point before it. I.e., -M5 becomes 0.5, and is thus
the same as -M50%. Similarly, -M05 is the same as -M5%. To limit
detection to exact renames, use -M100%. The default similarity
index is 50%.
Detect copies as well as renames. See also --find-copies-harder. If
n is specified, it has the same meaning as for -M<n>.
For performance reasons, by default, -C option finds copies only if
the original file of the copy was modified in the same changeset.
This flag makes the command inspect unmodified files as candidates
for the source of copy. This is a very expensive operation for
large projects, so use it with caution. Giving more than one -C
option has the same effect.
The -M and -C options require O(n^2) processing time where n is the
number of potential rename/copy targets. This option prevents
rename/copy detection from running if the number of rename/copy
targets exceeds the specified number.
Output the patch in the order specified in the <orderfile>, which
has one shell glob pattern per line. This overrides the
diff.orderFile configuration variable (see git-config(1)). To
cancel diff.orderFile, use -O/dev/null.
Treat all files as text.
Ignore changes in whitespace at EOL.
Ignore changes in amount of whitespace. This ignores whitespace at
line end, and considers all other sequences of one or more
whitespace characters to be equivalent.
Ignore whitespace when comparing lines. This ignores differences
even if one line has whitespace where the other line has none.
Ignore changes whose lines are all blank.
Show the context between diff hunks, up to the specified number of
lines, thereby fusing hunks that are close to each other.
Show whole surrounding functions of changes.
Allow an external diff helper to be executed. If you set an
external diff driver with gitattributes(5), you need to use this
option with git-log(1) and friends.
Disallow external diff drivers.
Allow (or disallow) external text conversion filters to be run when
comparing binary files. See gitattributes(5) for details. Because
textconv filters are typically a one-way conversion, the resulting
diff is suitable for human consumption, but cannot be applied. For
this reason, textconv filters are enabled by default only for git-
diff(1) and git-log(1), but not for git-format-patch(1) or diff
Show the given source prefix instead of "a/".
Show the given destination prefix instead of "b/".
Do not show any source or destination prefix.
For more detailed explanation on these common options, see also
Prepare patches from the topmost <n> commits.
-o <dir>, --output-directory <dir>
Use <dir> to store the resulting files, instead of the current
Name output in [PATCH n/m] format, even with a single patch.
Name output in [PATCH] format.
Start numbering the patches at <n> instead of 1.
Output file names will be a simple number sequence without the
default first line of the commit appended.
Do not strip/add [PATCH] from the first line of the commit log
Add Signed-off-by: line to the commit message, using the committer
identity of yourself. See the signoff option in git-commit(1) for
Print all commits to the standard output in mbox format, instead of
creating a file for each one.
Create multipart/mixed attachment, the first part of which is the
commit message and the patch itself in the second part, with
Disable the creation of an attachment, overriding the configuration
shallow threading makes every mail a reply to the head of the
series, where the head is chosen from the cover letter, the
--in-reply-to, and the first patch mail, in this order. deep
threading makes every mail a reply to the previous one.
The default is --no-thread, unless the format.thread configuration
is set. If --thread is specified without a style, it defaults to
the style specified by format.thread if any, or else shallow.
Beware that the default for git send-email is to thread emails
itself. If you want git format-patch to take care of threading, you
will want to ensure that threading is disabled for git send-email.
Make the first mail (or all the mails with --no-thread) appear as a
reply to the given Message-Id, which avoids breaking threads to
provide a new patch series.
Do not include a patch that matches a commit in <until>..<since>.
This will examine all patches reachable from <since> but not from
<until> and compare them with the patches being generated, and any
patch that matches is ignored.
Instead of the standard [PATCH] prefix in the subject line, instead
use [<Subject-Prefix>]. This allows for useful naming of a patch
series, and can be combined with the --numbered option.
-v <n>, --reroll-count=<n>
Mark the series as the <n>-th iteration of the topic. The output
filenames have v<n> prepended to them, and the subject prefix
("PATCH" by default, but configurable via the --subject-prefix
option) has ` v<n>` appended to it. E.g. --reroll-count=4 may
produce v4-0001-add-makefile.patch file that has "Subject: [PATCH
v4 1/20] Add makefile" in it.
Add a To: header to the email headers. This is in addition to any
configured headers, and may be used multiple times. The negated
form --no-to discards all To: headers added so far (from config or
Add a Cc: header to the email headers. This is in addition to any
configured headers, and may be used multiple times. The negated
form --no-cc discards all Cc: headers added so far (from config or
Use ident in the From: header of each commit email. If the author
ident of the commit is not textually identical to the provided
ident, place a From: header in the body of the message with the
original author. If no ident is given, use the committer ident.
--no-add-header discards all (To:, Cc:, and custom) headers added
so far from config or command line.
In addition to the patches, generate a cover letter file containing
the branch description, shortlog and the overall diffstat. You can
fill in a description in the file before sending it out.
Append the notes (see git-notes(1)) for the commit after the
The expected use case of this is to write supporting explanation
for the commit that does not belong to the commit log message
proper, and include it with the patch submission. While one can
simply write these explanations after format-patch has run but
before sending, keeping them as Git notes allows them to be
maintained between versions of the patch series (but see the
discussion of the notes.rewrite configuration options in git-
notes(1) to use this workflow).
Add a signature to each message produced. Per RFC 3676 the
signature is separated from the body by a line with '-- ' on it. If
the signature option is omitted the signature defaults to the Git
Works just like --signature except the signature is read from a
Instead of using .patch as the suffix for generated filenames, use
specified suffix. A common alternative is --suffix=.txt. Leaving
this empty will remove the .patch suffix.
Note that the leading character does not have to be a dot; for
example, you can use --suffix=-patch to get
Do not print the names of the generated files to standard output.
Do not output contents of changes in binary files, instead display
a notice that those files changed. Patches generated using this
option cannot be applied properly, but they are still useful for
Output an all-zero hash in each patch's From header instead of the
hash of the commit.
headers = "Organization: git-foo\n"
subjectPrefix = CHANGE
suffix = .txt
numbered = auto
to = <email>
cc = <email>
attach [ = mime-boundary-string ]
signOff = true
coverletter = auto
The patch produced by git format-patch is in UNIX mailbox format, with
a fixed "magic" time stamp to indicate that the file is output from
format-patch rather than a real mailbox, like so:
From 8f72bad1baf19a53459661343e21d6491c3908d3 Mon Sep 17 00:00:00 2001
From: Tony Luck <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2010 11:42:54 -0700
Subject: [PATCH] =?UTF-8?q?[IA64]=20Put=20ia64=20config=20files=20on=20the=20?=
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
arch/arm config files were slimmed down using a python script
(See commit c2330e286f68f1c408b4aa6515ba49d57f05beae comment)
Do the same for ia64 so we can have sleek & trim looking
Typically it will be placed in a MUA's drafts folder, edited to add
timely commentary that should not go in the changelog after the three
dashes, and then sent as a message whose body, in our example, starts
with "arch/arm config files were...". On the receiving end, readers can
save interesting patches in a UNIX mailbox and apply them with git-
When a patch is part of an ongoing discussion, the patch generated by
git format-patch can be tweaked to take advantage of the git am
--scissors feature. After your response to the discussion comes a line
that consists solely of "-- >8 --" (scissors and perforation), followed
by the patch with unnecessary header fields removed:
> So we should do such-and-such.
Makes sense to me. How about this patch?
-- >8 --
Subject: [IA64] Put ia64 config files on the Uwe Kleine-Konig diet
arch/arm config files were slimmed down using a python script
o Non-empty context lines that have one extra whitespace at the
One way to test if your MUA is set up correctly is:
o Send the patch to yourself, exactly the way you would, except with
To: and Cc: lines that do not contain the list and maintainer
o Save that patch to a file in UNIX mailbox format. Call it a.patch,
o Apply it:
$ git fetch <project> master:test-apply
$ git checkout test-apply
$ git reset --hard
$ git am a.patch
If it does not apply correctly, there can be various reasons.
o The patch itself does not apply cleanly. That is bad but does not
have much to do with your MUA. You might want to rebase the patch
with git-rebase(1) before regenerating it in this case.
o The MUA corrupted your patch; "am" would complain that the patch
does not apply. Look in the .git/rebase-apply/ subdirectory and see
what patch file contains and check for the common corruption
patterns mentioned above.
o While at it, check the info and final-commit files as well. If what
is in final-commit is not exactly what you would want to see in the
commit log message, it is very likely that the receiver would end
up hand editing the log message when applying your patch. Things
like "Hi, this is my first patch.\n" in the patch e-mail should
come after the three-dash line that signals the end of the commit
Here are some hints on how to successfully submit patches inline using
GMail does not have any way to turn off line wrapping in the web
interface, so it will mangle any emails that you send. You can however
use "git send-email" and send your patches through the GMail SMTP
server, or use any IMAP email client to connect to the google IMAP
server and forward the emails through that.
For hints on using git send-email to send your patches through the
GMail SMTP server, see the EXAMPLE section of git-send-email(1).
For hints on submission using the IMAP interface, see the EXAMPLE
Install the Toggle Word Wrap add-on that is available from
adds a menu entry "Enable Word Wrap" in the composer's "Options"
menu that you can tick off. Now you can compose the message as you
otherwise do (cut + paste, git format-patch | git imap-send, etc),
but you have to insert line breaks manually in any text that you
Approach #2 (configuration)
1. Configure your mail server composition as plain text:
Edit...Account Settings...Composition & Addressing, uncheck
"Compose Messages in HTML".
2. Configure your general composition window to not wrap.
In Thunderbird 2: Edit..Preferences..Composition, wrap plain
text messages at 0
In Thunderbird 3: Edit..Preferences..Advanced..Config Editor.
Search for "mail.wrap_long_lines". Toggle it to make sure it is
set to false. Also, search for "mailnews.wraplength" and set
the value to 0.
3. Disable the use of format=flowed:
Edit..Preferences..Advanced..Config Editor. Search for
"mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed". Toggle it to make sure it is
set to false.
After that is done, you should be able to compose email as you
otherwise would (cut + paste, git format-patch | git imap-send,
etc), and the patches will not be mangled.
Approach #3 (external editor)
The following Thunderbird extensions are needed: AboutConfig from
http://aboutconfig.mozdev.org/ and External Editor from
1. Prepare the patch as a text file using your method of choice.
2. Before opening a compose window, use Edit->Account Settings to
uncheck the "Compose messages in HTML format" setting in the
"Composition & Addressing" panel of the account to be used to
send the patch.
3. In the main Thunderbird window, before you open the compose
window for the patch, use Tools->about:config to set the
following to the indicated values:
mailnews.send_plaintext_flowed => false
mailnews.wraplength => 0
4. Open a compose window and click the external editor icon.
help you include patches with Thunderbird in an easy way. To use
it, do the steps above and then use the script as the external
This should help you to submit patches inline using KMail.
1. Prepare the patch as a text file.
2. Click on New Mail.
3. Go under "Options" in the Composer window and be sure that "Word
wrap" is not set.
4. Use Message -> Insert file... and insert the patch.
5. Back in the compose window: add whatever other text you wish to the
message, complete the addressing and subject fields, and press
o Extract commits between revisions R1 and R2, and apply them on top
of the current branch using git am to cherry-pick them:
$ git format-patch -k --stdout R1..R2 | git am -3 -k
o Extract all commits which are in the current branch but not in the
$ git format-patch origin
For each commit a separate file is created in the current
o Extract all commits that lead to origin since the inception of the
$ git format-patch --root origin
o The same as the previous one:
$ git format-patch -M -B origin
Additionally, it detects and handles renames and complete rewrites
intelligently to produce a renaming patch. A renaming patch reduces
the amount of text output, and generally makes it easier to review.
Note that non-Git "patch" programs won't understand renaming
patches, so use it only when you know the recipient uses Git to
apply your patch.
o Extract three topmost commits from the current branch and format
them as e-mailable patches:
$ git format-patch -3
Man Pages Copyright Respective Owners. Site Copyright (C) 1994 - 2020
All Rights Reserved.