Stashing New Files in Git

July 15, 2018

Let's say you are working on a new feature but need to switch branches to apply a fix. Your current branch has both tracked and untracked (new) files and you want to save both types for when you return.

While you could just add everything and then commit a "WIP" (work in progress), you will have to revert that commit in the future. Good thing Git has a great solution to this problem!

Solution

git stash push --include-untracked -m 'Some useful message here'

Analysis

The stash command stores the current local modifications and then reverts the working directory to the HEAD pointer. We use the --include-untracked option because this command does not save new files by default.

We can also shorten the --include-untracked option to -u.

The -m option allows us to set a message for this stash operation so we can more easily reference it. This is especially useful when you have multiple stashes.

Warning

Using the stash command with the -u option will clean your working directory after the stash. As a result, any untracked files you have in .gitignore will be permanently deleted.

There is the --all or -a option if you wish to stash untracked files that are also ignored.

Closing Thoughts

Make sure to check out the official documentation! Even though I am still learning all the different ways the stash command can be used, I can definitely see an improvement in my workflow.

I feel that there is a reduction in anxiety when I need to switch branches promptly. Anything that lessens the amount of potential overhead and worry is a win in my book.

Copyright © 2017 - 2018 David Tran