Command Git Rebase -I Explained With Examples

Mastering Git Rebase -i: A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to Git Rebase -i

Git is a powerful tool for version control, and one of its most useful commands is git rebase -i. This command allows you to interactively rebase your commits, making your commit history cleaner and more understandable. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of git rebase -i, providing you with the knowledge to use it effectively.

What is Git Rebase -i?

Git rebase -i, or interactive rebase, is a feature that lets you edit, combine, and reorder commits. This is particularly useful for cleaning up your commit history before merging branches. By using git rebase -i, you can make your project history more linear and easier to follow.

How to Use Git Rebase -i

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Start the Interactive Rebase:

    git rebase -i HEAD~n

    Replace n with the number of commits you want to rebase.

  2. Edit the Commit List:
    You will see a list of commits in your text editor. Each line starts with a command (pick, reword, edit, squash, fixup, exec, or drop) followed by the commit hash and message.

  3. Choose Your Actions:

    • pick: Use the commit as is.
    • reword: Change the commit message.
    • edit: Amend the commit.
    • squash: Combine this commit with the previous one.
    • fixup: Like squash, but discard this commit’s message.
    • drop: Remove the commit.
  4. Save and Exit:
    After making your changes, save the file and exit the editor. Git will apply your changes.


Suppose you have the following commits:

pick a1b2c3d Initial commit
pick e4f5g6h Add feature X
pick i7j8k9l Fix bug in feature X

You can change it to:

pick a1b2c3d Initial commit
squash e4f5g6h Add feature X
fixup i7j8k9l Fix bug in feature X

This will combine the three commits into one.

Benefits of Using Git Rebase -i

  • Cleaner History: Makes your commit history linear and easy to read.
  • Better Collaboration: Simplifies code reviews and collaboration.
  • Enhanced Project Management: Helps in maintaining a clear project timeline.

Common Issues and Solutions

Conflicts During Rebase

Conflicts can occur during a rebase. Git will pause and allow you to resolve the conflicts. After resolving, use:

git add <file>
git rebase --continue

Aborting a Rebase

If you encounter too many conflicts or decide to cancel the rebase, you can abort it:

git rebase --abort

FAQ Section

What is the difference between git rebase and git rebase -i?

git rebase replays commits from one branch onto another, while git rebase -i allows you to interactively edit, reorder, and combine commits.

How do I resolve conflicts during a rebase?

Resolve the conflicts manually, then use git add <file> and git rebase --continue.

Can I undo a rebase?

Yes, you can use git reflog to find the previous state and then use git reset --hard <commit> to revert.

What does squash mean in git rebase -i?

Squash combines multiple commits into one, keeping the commit messages.


Mastering git rebase -i can significantly improve your workflow and project management. By making your commit history cleaner and more understandable, you enhance collaboration and maintain a clear project timeline. Start using git rebase -i today to take full control of your Git history.

  1. Git Documentation on Rebase – Official Git documentation.
  2. Atlassian Git Tutorials – Comprehensive tutorials on Git.
  3. Stack Overflow Git Rebase Questions – Community-driven Q&A on Git rebase.

By following this guide, you will be well on your way to mastering git rebase -i and making your Git history cleaner and more efficient.