Start using Git on the command line

If you want to start using a Git and GitLab, make sure that you have created an account on GitLab.

Open a shell

Depending on your operating system, find the shell of your preference. Here are some suggestions.

Check if Git has already been installed

Git is usually preinstalled on Mac and Linux.

Type the following command and then press enter:

git --version

You should receive a message that will tell you which Git version you have in your computer. If you don’t receive a "Git version" message, it means that you need to download Git.

If Git doesn't automatically download, there's an option on the website to download manually. Then follow the steps on the installation window.

After you finished installing, open a new shell and type "git --version" again to verify that it was correctly installed.

Add your Git username and set your email

It is important because every Git commit that you create will use this information.

On your shell, type the following command to add your username:

git config --global ADD YOUR USERNAME

Then verify that you have the correct username:

git config --global

To set your email address, type the following command:

git config --global ADD YOUR EMAIL

To verify that you entered your email correctly, type:

git config --global

You'll need to do this only once because you are using the "--global" option. It tells Git to always use this information for anything you do on that system. If you want to override this with a different username or email address for specific projects, you can run the command without the "--global" option when you’re in that project.

Check your information

To view the information that you entered, type:

git config --global --list

Basic Git commands

Go to the master branch to pull the latest changes from there

git checkout master

Download the latest changes in the project

This is for you to work on an up-to-date copy (it is important to do every time you work on a project), while you setup tracking branches.


(REMOTE: origin) (NAME-OF-BRANCH: could be "master" or an existing branch)

Create a branch

Spaces won't be recognized, so you need to use a hyphen or underscore.

git checkout -b NAME-OF-BRANCH

Work on a branch that has already been created

git checkout NAME-OF-BRANCH

View the changes you've made

It's important to be aware of what's happening and what's the status of your changes.

git status

Add changes to commit

You'll see your changes in red when you type "git status".


Send changes to


Delete all changes in the Git repository, but leave unstaged things

git checkout .

Delete all changes in the Git repository, including untracked files

git clean -f

Merge created branch with master branch

You need to be in the created branch.

git checkout NAME-OF-BRANCH
git merge master