GIT-SYMBOLIC-REF(1) Git Manual GIT-SYMBOLIC-REF(1)
git-symbolic-ref - Read, modify and delete symbolic refs
git symbolic-ref [-m <reason>] <name> <ref>
git symbolic-ref [-q] [--short] <name>
git symbolic-ref --delete [-q] <name>
Given one argument, reads which branch head the given symbolic ref
refers to and outputs its path, relative to the .git/ directory.
Typically you would give HEAD as the <name> argument to see which
branch your working tree is on.
Given two arguments, creates or updates a symbolic ref <name> to point
at the given branch <ref>.
Given --delete and an additional argument, deletes the given symbolic
A symbolic ref is a regular file that stores a string that begins with
ref: refs/. For example, your .git/HEAD is a regular file whose
contents is ref: refs/heads/master.
Delete the symbolic ref <name>.
Do not issue an error message if the <name> is not a symbolic ref
but a detached HEAD; instead exit with non-zero status silently.
When showing the value of <name> as a symbolic ref, try to shorten
the value, e.g. from refs/heads/master to master.
Update the reflog for <name> with <reason>. This is valid only when
creating or updating a symbolic ref.
In the past, .git/HEAD was a symbolic link pointing at
refs/heads/master. When we wanted to switch to another branch, we did
ln -sf refs/heads/newbranch .git/HEAD, and when we wanted to find out
which branch we are on, we did readlink .git/HEAD. But symbolic links
are not entirely portable, so they are now deprecated and symbolic refs
(as described above) are used by default.
git symbolic-ref will exit with status 0 if the contents of the
symbolic ref were printed correctly, with status 1 if the requested
name is not a symbolic ref, or 128 if another error occurs.
Part of the git(1) suite
Git 2.17.1 09/09/2021 GIT-SYMBOLIC-REF(1)
Man Pages Copyright Respective Owners. Site Copyright (C) 1994 - 2022
All Rights Reserved.