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Stacked Git



stg - Manage stacks of patches using the Git content tracker


stg [OPTIONS] <command> […​]
stg [OPTIONS] <-h|--help>
stg --version


StGit (Stacked Git) is an application that provides a convenient way to maintain a patch stack on top of a Git branch:

  • The topmost (most recent) commits of a branch are given names. Such a named commit is called a patch.

  • After making changes to the worktree, you can incorporate the changes into an existing patch; this is called refreshing. You may refresh any patch, not just the topmost one.

  • You can pop a patch: temporarily putting it aside, so that the patch below it becomes the topmost patch. Later you may push it onto the stack again. Pushing and popping can be used to reorder patches.

  • You can easily rebase your patch stack on top of any other Git commit. (The base of a patch stack is the most recent Git commit that is not an StGit patch.) For example, if you started making patches on top of someone else’s branch, and that person publishes an updated branch, you can take all your patches and apply them on top of the updated branch.

  • As you would expect, changing what is below a patch can cause that patch to no longer apply cleanly — this can occur when you reorder patches, rebase patches, or refresh a non-topmost patch. StGit uses Git’s rename-aware three-way merge capability to automatically fix up what it can; if it still fails, it lets you manually resolve the conflict just like you would resolve a merge conflict in Git.

  • The patch stack is just some extra metadata attached to regular Git commits, so you can continue to use most Git tools along with StGit.

Typical uses

Tracking branch

Tracking changes from a remote branch, while maintaining local modifications against that branch, possibly with the intent of sending some patches upstream. You can modify your patch stack as much as you want, and when your patches are finally accepted upstream, the permanent recorded Git history will contain just the final sequence of patches, and not the messy sequence of edits that produced them.

Commands of interest in this workflow are e.g. rebase and mail.

Development branch

Even if you have no "upstream" to send patches to, you can use StGit as a convenient way to modify the recent history of a Git branch. For example, instead of first committing change A, then change B, and then A2 to fix A because it wasn’t quite right, you could incorporate the fix directly into A. This way of working results in a much more readable Git history than if you had immortalized every misstep you made on your way to the right solution.

Commands of interest in this workflow are e.g. uncommit, which can be used to move the patch stack base downwards — i.e., turn Git commits into StGit patches after the fact — and commit, its inverse.

For more information, see the tutorial.

Specifying patches

Most StGit commands have patch arguments. Patches in the stack may be specified in a variety of ways. A patch in the current branch may simply referred to by its name, or, alternatively, be located by a relative offset from the topmost patch (e.g. +3), as an absolute index into the stack (e.g. 7), or as an offset from the last visible patch (e.g. ^1).

Some commands allow you to specify a patch in another branch of the repository; this is done by prefixing the patch name with the branch name and a colon (e.g. otherbranch:thatpatch).

Commands that take multiple patch arguments may be supplied with patch ranges of the form patch1..patchN as an alternative to specifying each patch individually. For example, stg delete p0..p4 would be equivalent to stg delete p0 p1 p2 p3 p4. Patch ranges may be open on either or both ends. For example, stg delete ..p2 would delete the first applied patch up to and including patch p2. Alternatively, stg delete p2.. would delete patch p2 up to and including the topmost applied patch. And stg delete .. would delete all applied patches.

The complete syntax for locating patches follows:

<patchname>, e.g. patch

The name of a patch.


Refers to the topmost applied patch, or the base of the stack if no patches are applied.

[<patchname>]~[<n>], e.g. ~2, patch~, patch~3

The <n>th previous patch from the named patch. If <patchname> is not supplied, @ is implied. A single ~ represents the first previous patch. Multiple ~ may be specified, e.g. patch~~~ is the same as patch~3. This is similar to git’s revision syntax where <rev>~[<n>] means the <n>th ancestor commit from <rev> following first parents.

[<patchname>]+[<n>], e.g. +, +3, patch+, patch+3

The <n>th next patch from the named patch. If <patchname> is not supplied, @ is implied. A single + represents the next patch in the series. Multiple + may be specified, e.g. patch+++ is the same as patch+3.

-[<n>], e.g. -3, -

References the <n>th previously applied patch. This is similar to ~<n>, except it is only valid without a patch name prefix. Note that certain commands with other options taking numeric values may require escaping - with \-, e.g. \-10.

<n>, e.g. 3

The patch at absolute index <n> in the stack. This is a zero-based index, so 0 refers to the bottommost patch in the stack.

^[<n>], e.g. ^, ^3

The patch at offset <n> from the last visible patch in the stack. This is a zero-based offset, so ^0 refers to the last visible patch in the stack, which is equivalent to just ^. Negative values of <n> are allowed and refer to hidden patches which are after the last visible patch in the stack.

{base}+[<n>], e.g. {base}+, {base}+3

The patch at offset <n> from the stack’s base commit. Since the stack base is not a commit, a positive offset is required.

Take note that numeric patch locations of the form <n>, -<n>, and +<n>, e.g. 3, -3, or +3 are also valid patch names. I.e. it is possible (but not recommended) to name a patch, for example, "-3". In the case where a patch name could also be interpreted as a numeric index or offset, the literal patch name will take precidence when resolving the patch location.

Specifying commits

Some StGit commands take Git commits as arguments. StGit accepts all revision specifications that Git does (see gitrevisions(7)); and additionally, the patch specifiers from above. The usual Git modifiers, including ^, are also allowed; e.g. some-branch:a-patch^^ refers to the grandparent of the commit that is patch a-patch on branch some-branch.

If you need to pass a given StGit reference to a Git command, stg id will convert it to a Git commit id for you.


The following generic option flags are available. Additional options are available for (and documented with) the different subcommands.


Print version information


Print help information.


Run as if stg was started in <path> instead of the current working directory. When multiple -C options are given, each subsequent non-absolute -C <path> is interpreted relative to the preceding -C <path>.

This option affects arguments that expect path names or path specs in that their interpretations of the path names would be made relative to the working directory caused by the -C option.

--color <when>

Specify when to colorize the output.

auto (the default) enables colored output only when outputting to a terminal or TTY. The NO_COLOR environment variable is respected.

always and never unconditionlly enable/disable colored output, respectively.

ansi forces color to be output using ANSI escape sequences, even in a Windows console.


We divide StGit commands in thematic groups, according to the primary type of object they create or change.

Patch Inspection

stg diff

Show a diff

stg files

Show files modified by a patch

stg id

Print git hash of a StGit revision

stg log

Display or optionally clear the stack changelog

stg show

Show patch commits

Patch Manipulation

stg edit

Edit a patch

stg fold

Fold diff file into the current patch

stg new

Create a new patch at top of the stack

stg refresh

Incorporate worktree changes into current patch

stg rename

Rename a patch

stg spill

Spill changes from the topmost patch

stg sync

Synchronize patches with a branch or a series

Stack Inspection

stg email

Format and send patches as email

stg export

Export patches to a directory

stg next

Print the name of the next patch

stg patches

Show patches that modify files

stg prev

Print the name of the previous patch

stg series

Display the patch series

stg top

Print the name of the top patch

Stack Manipulation

stg branch

Branch operations: switch, list, create, rename, delete, …​

stg clean

Delete empty patches from the series

stg commit

Finalize patches to the stack base

stg delete

Delete patches

stg float

Push patches to the top, even if applied

stg goto

Go to patch by pushing or popping as necessary

stg hide

Hide patches in the series

stg import

Import patches to stack

stg init

Initialize a StGit stack on a branch

stg pick

Import a patch from another branch or a commit object

stg pop

Pop (unapply) one or more applied patches

stg pull

Pull changes from a remote repository

stg push

Push (apply) one or more unapplied patches

stg rebase

Move the stack base to another point in history

stg redo

Undo the last undo operation

stg repair

Repair stack after branch is modified with git commands

stg reset

Reset the patch stack to an earlier state

stg sink

Move patches deeper in the stack

stg squash

Squash two or more patches into one

stg uncommit

Convert regular Git commits into StGit patches

stg undo

Undo the last command

stg unhide

Unhide hidden patches


stg completion

Support for shell completions

stg help

Print this message or the help of the given subcommand(s)

stg version

Print version information and exit


StGit uses the same configuration mechanism as Git. See git-config(1) for more details.



Branch-specific configuration values. These take precedence over the corresponding non-branch specific configuration values (see below).


Specifies the parent branch of a branch with a StGit stack. This value is set by stg branch when creating or cloning branches, and not typically set by the user. The parent branch is used by stg pull when stgit.pull-policy is either rebase or fetch-rebase to determine the target of the rebase.


Command aliases for stg. For example, after defining stgit.alias.list = series -d, running stg list is equivalent to stg series -d. Arguments are split by spaces and the usual shell quoting and escaping is supported. A quote pair or backslash may be used to quote them.

If the alias expansion is prefixed with an exclamation point (!), it will be treated as a shell command. For example, defining stgit.alias.outgoing = !git log @{u}, running stg outgoing is equivalent to running the shell command git log @{u}. Note that shell commands will be executed from the top-level directory of the working tree, which may not necessarily be the current directory. GIT_PREFIX is set as returned by running git rev-parse --show-prefix from the original current directory. See git-rev-parse(1).

Aliases that would hide existing StGit commands are ignored.


When set to true, if conflicts occur when pushing a patch, git-mergetool(1) is automatically run to attempt to resolve the conflicts.


Automatically add "Signed-off-by:" trailer to commit messages for new patches created with stg new or lingstg:import[].


When running stg rebase, if any modified files are found in the working tree, a temporary stash is created with git-stash(1) before the operation begins and is applied after the operation completes.


Options to pass-through to git diff-tree for stg diff, stg export, stg patches, and stg show. Multiple space-separated options may be specified. See git-diff-tree(1) for information about the various available options.


When set to true, the patch’s diff will be shown when interactively editing a patch description with, for example, stg edit.


Commands such as stg edit and stg new open an editor to edit the patch description and commit message. The editor set by this variable is launched when the GIT_EDITOR environment variable is not set. This variable takes precedence over the core.editor configuration variable as well as the VISUAL and EDITOR environment variables.


The command specified by this variable will be run by stg pull to fetch from the remote repository when stgit.pull-policy is fetch-rebase. When not set, the default command is git fetch.


A boolean to specify whether StGit stack metadata commits should be GPG signed.

N.B. Set commit.gpgsign to determine whether patch commits themselves are GPG signed. See git-config(1) for more information about commit.gpgsign.


When set to true, create Message-ID: trailer in the patch description of patches imported from email using stg import.


When set to true, after pulling changes with stg pull, the repository’s object database will be optimized by running git-repack(1).


An integer used to determine the maximum length, in characters, of automatically generated patch names. The default value is 30. This option does not affect user-specified patch names. Setting to a value less than or equal to 0 will allow automatically generated patch names of unlimited length.

Automatically generated patch names are truncated at word boundaries less than or equal to the value of stgit.namelength. As a result, patch names will typically not be truncated at exactly this number of characters. It is also possible for automatically generated patch names to be longer than this value if a work boundary cannot be found within this bound, or if additional characters need to be added to the patch name to make it unique.


Format of the commit message for patches picked using the --expose option with stg pick. The value of this option is as may be specified to the --pretty option of git-show(1). The default is format:%B%n(imported from commit %H).


Policy used by stg pull for pulling changes from a remote repository. Valid values include:

  • pull, the default, uses git-pull(1) or stgit.pullcmd, if set, to pull changes from the remote repository.

  • rebase uses git-reset(1) or stgit.rebasecmd, if set, to rebase the patch stack before reapplying patches.

  • fetch-rebase first fetches commits from the remote repository using git-fetch(1) or stgit.fetchcmd, if set, before performing the rebase as described above.


The command to be run by stg pull to pull changes from the remote repository when stgit.pull-policy is pull (the default). The default value is git pull.


A boolean to specify whether stg push and other commands that push patches will push patches that may result in merge conflicts. The default is true, which means that a patch with conflicts will be pushed and if the conflicts cannot be automatically resolved, the operation will stop and with the conflicts left to be resolved manually.

When set to false, a patch that would have merge conflicts will not be pushed, thus leaving the stack on the last patch that could be pushed without conflicts.

This configuration variable may be overridden on the command line with either --conflicts[=allow] or --conflicts=disallow.

N.B.: stgit.autoimerge only has an affect when push conflicts are allowed.


The command to be run by stg pull to set the new stack base when stgit.pull-policy is either rebase or fetch-rebase. The default is git reset --hard.


A boolean to specify whether stg refresh includes submodules in patch content. This value may be overridden by the --submodules or --no-submodules option to stg refresh. By default, submodule content is not included in patch content.


The number of patches listed by stg series when the -s/--short option is specified. Defaults to 5.


A number of StGit commands make use of template files to provide useful default texts to be edited by the user. These <name>.tmpl template files are searched in the following directories:

  1. $GITDIR/ (in practice, the .git/ directory in your repository)

  2. $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/stgit/templates/

  3. $HOME/.stgit/templates/