Peter Eisentraut

professional automator

Some git log tweaks

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Here are some tweaks to git log that I have found useful. It might depend on the workflow of individual projects how applicable this is.

Git stores separate author and committer information for each commit. How these are generated and updated is sometimes mysterious but generally makes sense. For example, if you cherry-pick a commit to a different branch, the author information stays the same but the committer information is updated. git log defaults to showing the author information. But I generally care less about that than the committer information, because I’m usually interested in when the commit arrived in my or the public repository, not when it was initially thought about. So let’s try to change the default git log format to show the committer information instead. Again, depending on the project and the workflow, there can be other preferences.

To create a different default format for git log, first create a new format by setting the Git configuration item pretty.somename. I chose pretty.cmedium because it’s almost the same as the default medium but with the author information replaced by the committer information.

cmedium="format:%C(auto,yellow)commit %H%C(auto,reset)%nCommit:     %cn <%ce>%nCommitDate: %cd%n%n%w(0,4,4)%s%n%+b"

Unfortunately, the default git log formats are not defined in terms of these placeholders but are hardcoded in the source, so this is my best reconstruction using the available means.

You can use this as git log --pretty=cmedium, and you can set this as the default using


If you find this useful and you’re the sort of person who is more interested in their own timeline than the author’s history, you might also like two more tweaks.

First, add %cr for relative date, so it looks like

cmedium="format:%C(auto,yellow)commit %H%C(auto,reset)%nCommit:     %cn <%ce>%nCommitDate: %cd (%cr)%n%n%w(0,4,4)%s%n%+b"

This adds a relative designation like “2 days ago” to the commit date.

Second, set


to have all timestamps converted to your local time.

When you put all this together, you turn this

commit e2c117a28f767c9756d2d620929b37651dbe43d1
Author: Paul Eggert <>
Date:   Tue Apr 5 08:16:01 2016 -0700

into this

commit e2c117a28f767c9756d2d620929b37651dbe43d1
Commit:     Paul Eggert <>
CommitDate: Tue Apr 5 11:16:01 2016 (3 days ago)

PS: If this is lame, there is always this: