Vitamin C

Git Configuration


  • git config [<file-option>] name [value] # one of the more common use cases of git config


--systemEdits the system-wide configuration file, which is used for every user (on Linux, this file is located at $(prefix)/etc/gitconfig)
--globalEdits the global configuration file, which is used for every repository you work on (on Linux, this file is located at ~/.gitconfig
--localEdits the respository-specific configuration file, which is located at .git/config in your repository; this is the default setting

Username and email address

Right after you install Git, the first thing you should do is set your username and email address. From a shell, type:

git config --global "Mr. Bean"
git config --global [email protected]
  • git config is the command to get or set options
  • --global means that the configuration file specific to your user account will be edited
  • and are the keys for the configuration variables; user is the section of the configuration file. name and email are the names of the variables.
  • "Mr. Bean" and [email protected] are the values that you're storing in the two variables. Note the quotes around "Mr. Bean", which are required because the value you are storing contains a space.

Multiple git configurations

You have up to 5 sources for git configuration:

  • 6 files:
    • %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Git\Config (Windows only)
    • (system) <git>/etc/gitconfig, with <git> being the git installation path.
      (on Windows, it is <git>\mingw64\etc\gitconfig)
    • (system) $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/git/config (Linux/Mac only)
    • (global) ~/.gitconfig (Windows: %USERPROFILE%\.gitconfig)
    • (local) .git/config (within a git repo $GIT_DIR)
    • a dedicated file (with git config -f), used for instance to modify the config of submodules: git config -f .gitmodules ...
  • the command line with git -c: git -c core.autocrlf=false fetch would override any other core.autocrlf to false, just for that fetch command.

The order is important: any config set in one source can be overridden by a source listed below it.

git config --system/global/local is the command to list 3 of those sources, but only git config -l would list all resolved configs.
"resolved" means it lists only the final overridden config value.

Since git 2.8, if you want to see which config comes from which file, you type:

git config --list --show-origin

Setting which editor to use

There are several ways to set which editor to use for committing, rebasing, etc.

  • Change the core.editor configuration setting.

    $ git config --global core.editor nano
  • Set the GIT_EDITOR environment variable.

    For one command:

    $ GIT_EDITOR=nano git commit

    Or for all commands run in a terminal. Note: This only applies until you close the terminal.

    $ export GIT_EDITOR=nano
  • To change the editor for all terminal programs, not just Git, set the VISUAL or EDITOR environment variable. (See VISUAL vs EDITOR.)

    $ export EDITOR=nano

    Note: As above, this only applies to the current terminal; your shell will usually have a configuration file to allow you to set it permanently. (On bash, for example, add the above line to your ~/.bashrc or ~/.bash_profile.)

Some text editors (mostly GUI ones) will only run one instance at a time, and generally quit if you already have an instance of them open. If this is the case for your text editor, Git will print the message Aborting commit due to empty commit message. without allowing you to edit the commit message first. If this happens to you, consult your text editor's documentation to see if it has a --wait flag (or similar) that will make it pause until the document is closed.

Configuring line endings


When working with a team who uses different operating systems (OS) across the project, sometimes you may run into trouble when dealing with line endings.

Microsoft Windows

When working on Microsoft Windows operating system (OS), the line endings are normally of form - carriage return + line feed (CR+LF). Opening a file which has been edited using Unix machine such as Linux or OSX may cause trouble, making it seem that text has no line endings at all. This is due to the fact that Unix systems apply different line-endings of form line feeds (LF) only.

In order to fix this you can run following instruction

git config --global core.autocrlf=true

On checkout, This instruction will ensure line-endings are configured in accordance with Microsoft Windows OS (LF -> CR+LF)

Unix Based (Linux/OSX)

Similarly, there might be issues when the user on Unix based OS tries to read files which have been edited on Microsoft Windows OS. In order to prevent any unexpected issues run

git config --global core.autocrlf=input

On commit, this will change line-endings from CR+LF -> +LF

configuration for one command only

you can use -c <name>=<value> to add a configuration only for one command.

To commit as an other user without having to change your settings in .gitconfig :

git -c = [email protected] commit -m "some message"

Note: for that example you don't need to precise both and, git will complete the missing information from the previous commits.

Setup a proxy

If you are behind a proxy, you have to tell git about it:

git config --global http.proxy

If you are no more behind a proxy:

git config --global --unset http.proxy

Auto correct typos

git config --global help.autocorrect 17

This enables autocorrect in git and will forgive you for your minor mistakes (e.g. git stats instead of git status). The parameter you supply to help.autocorrect determines how long the system should wait, in tenths of a second, before automatically applying the autocorrected command. In the command above, 17 means that git should wait 1.7 seconds before applying the autocorrected command.

However, bigger mistakes will be considered as missing commands, so typing something like git testingit would result in testingit is not a git command.

List and edit the current configuration

Git config allows you to customize how git works. It is commonly used to set your name and email or favorite editor or how merges should be done.

To see the current configuration.

$ git config --list

To edit the config:

$ git config <key> <value>    
$ git config core.ignorecase true

If you intend the change to be true for all your repositories, use --global

$ git config --global "Your Name"
$ git config --global "Your Email"
$ git config --global core.editor vi

You can list again to see your changes.

Multiple usernames and email address

Since Git 2.13, multiple usernames and email addresses could be configured by using a folder filter.

Example for Windows:


Edit: git config --global -e


[includeIf "gitdir:D:/work"]
  path = .gitconfig-work.config    

[includeIf "gitdir:D:/opensource/"]
  path = .gitconfig-opensource.config
  • The order is depended, the last one who matches "wins".
  • the / at the end is needed - e.g. "gitdir:D:/work" won't work.
  • the gitdir: prefix is required.


File in the same directory as .gitconfig

  name = Money
  email = [email protected]


File in the same directory as .gitconfig

  name = Nice
  email = [email protected]

Example for Linux

[includeIf "gitdir:~/work/"]
  path = .gitconfig-work
[includeIf "gitdir:~/opensource/"]
  path = .gitconfig-opensource

The file content and notes under section Windows.

Got any Git Question?