How To Combine My Last N Commits In Git


By squashlabs, Last Updated: September 20, 2023

How To Combine My Last N Commits In Git


Combining multiple commits into a single commit, also known as “squashing” commits, can be useful in various scenarios. It allows you to create a cleaner and more concise commit history, making it easier to understand and maintain the project’s development timeline. In this guide, we will explore different methods to combine your last N commits in Git.

Related Article: How to Undo a Git Rebase: A Tutorial

Methods to combine commits

There are multiple methods you can use to combine your last N commits in Git. Here are two commonly used approaches:

Method 1: Interactive rebase

The interactive rebase is a powerful Git command that allows you to rewrite commit history. It provides the flexibility to squash, edit, reorder, and even remove commits. To combine your last N commits using an interactive rebase, follow these steps:

1. Open your terminal or Git Bash.
2. Navigate to the root directory of your Git repository.
3. Run the following command to start the interactive rebase process:

git rebase -i HEAD~N

Replace N with the number of commits you want to combine.

4. A text editor will open with a list of your recent commits. Each commit line begins with the word “pick”. To combine commits, change “pick” to “squash” or “s” for the commits you want to squash.


pick 93ec8e4 Commit message 1
squash 0a1b2c3 Commit message 2
squash 4d5e6f7 Commit message 3

5. Save the changes and exit the text editor.
6. Another text editor will open, allowing you to modify the commit message for the new combined commit. Edit the message as needed, save the changes, and exit the text editor.
7. Git will apply the changes and combine the selected commits into a single commit.

Method 2: Git merge –squash

Another method to combine commits is by using the git merge --squash command. This approach allows you to create a new commit that represents the combined changes of multiple commits. Here’s how to use it:

1. Open your terminal or Git Bash.
2. Navigate to the root directory of your Git repository.
3. Run the following command, replacing N with the number of commits you want to combine:

git merge --squash HEAD~N

4. Git will apply the changes and stage them, but it won’t create the commit automatically. You can now create a new commit with the combined changes using the following command:

git commit -m "Combined commit message"

5. Git will create a new commit with the combined changes from the specified number of commits.

Best practices and suggestions

When combining commits in Git, it’s important to follow best practices to ensure a clean and maintainable commit history. Here are some suggestions:

1. Combine related commits: Only combine commits that are logically related. Combining unrelated commits can make it harder to understand the commit history.
2. Write meaningful commit messages: When combining commits, take the opportunity to write a concise and descriptive commit message that accurately represents the combined changes.
3. Review the changes: Before combining commits, review the changes carefully to ensure you are not losing any important information or introducing errors.
4. Communicate with your team: If you are working in a team, it’s important to communicate your intentions before combining commits. This helps ensure everyone is aware of the changes being made to the commit history.

Alternative ideas

While the methods described above are commonly used, there are alternative ways to combine commits in Git. Here are a few additional approaches:

1. Git cherry-pick: Instead of combining commits, you can use the git cherry-pick command to apply specific commits onto a different branch. This allows you to select individual commits and apply them without altering the commit history.
2. Git reset: In some cases, you may want to completely remove or undo a series of commits. The git reset command can be used to move the branch pointer to a previous commit, effectively discarding the unwanted commits.

Related Article: How to Fix a Git Detached Head

Potential reasons for combining commits

There are several potential reasons why you might want to combine your last N commits in Git:

1. Fixing mistakes: If you made several small mistakes in your recent commits, squashing them into a single commit can help to maintain a cleaner history.
2. Organizing feature development: When working on a new feature, you may have made multiple small commits during the development process. Squashing these commits can make it easier to review and understand the changes as a cohesive unit.
3. Preparing for code review: Combining commits can be beneficial before submitting your changes for review. It allows reviewers to focus on the logical changes instead of being distracted by a large number of small commits.
4. Preparing for integration: When merging your changes into a main branch or release branch, it is often desirable to have a clean and concise commit history. Squashing your commits can help achieve this.

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