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git-cola - Man Page

The highly caffeinated Git GUI

Examples (TL;DR)


git cola [options] [sub-command]


Git Cola is a sleek and powerful Git GUI.



Start git cola in amend mode.


Prompt for a Git repository.  Defaults to the current directory.

-r, --repo <path>

Open the Git repository at <path>.  Defaults to the current directory.

-s, --status-filter <filter>

Apply the path filter to the status widget.


Print the git cola version and exit.

-h, --help

Show usage and optional arguments.


Show available sub-commands.



Apply patches.


Export tarballs from Git.


Create branches.


Browse tracked files.


Configure settings.


Start the git dag Git history browser.


Diff changed files.


Fetch history from remote repositories.


Use git grep to search for content.


Merge branches.


Fetch and merge remote branches.


Push branches to remotes.


Start an interactive rebase.


Create and edit remotes.


Stash uncommitted modifications.


Create tags.


Print the git cola version.

Configure Your Editor

The editor used by Ctrl-e is configured from the Preferences screen.

The following environment variables are consulted when no editor is configured. If defined, the first of these variables is used:

The *Visual variables are consulted before the *EDITOR variables so that you can configure a graphical editor independently of the editor used by the Git CLI.

Pro Tip: Configuring your editor to gvim -f -p will open multiple tabs when editing files.  gvim -f -o uses splits.

git cola is {vim, emacs, textpad, notepad++}-aware. When you select a line in the diff or grep screens and press any of Enter, Ctrl-e, or the Edit button, you are taken to that exact line.

The editor preference is saved in the gui.editor variable using git config.

The following are some recommend editor configurations.

Keyboard Shortcuts

git cola has many useful keyboard shortcuts.

Many of git cola’s editors understand vim-style hotkeys, e.g. {h,j,k,l} for navigating in the diff, status, grep, and file browser widgets.

{d,u} move down/up one half page at a time (similar to vim’s ctrl-{d,u}). The space and shift-space hotkeys are mapped to the same operations.

Shift-{j,k,d,u,f,b,page-up,page-down,left,right,up,down} can be be used in the diff editor to select lines while navigating.

s is a useful hotkey in the diff editor.  It stages/unstages the current selection when a selection is present.  When nothing is selected, the diff hunk at the current text cursor position is staged.  This makes it very easy to review changes by selecting good hunks with s while navigating down and over hunks that are not going to be staged.

Ctrl-u in the diff editor reverts unstaged edits, and respects the selection.  This is useful for selectively reverted edits from the worktree. This same hotkey reverts the entire file when used from the status tool.

Ctrl-s in the diff editor and status tools stages/unstages the entire file.

You can see the available shortcuts by pressing pressing the ? key, choosing Help -> Keyboard shortcuts from the main menu, or by consulting the git cola keyboard shortcuts reference.


The git cola interface is composed of various cooperating tools. Double-clicking a tool opens it in its own subwindow. Dragging it around moves and places it within the main window.

Tools can be hidden and rearranged however you like. git cola carefully remembers your window layout and restores it the next time it is launched.

The Control-{1, 2, 3, …} hotkey gives focus to a specific tool. A hidden tool can be re-opened using the Tools menu or the Shift+Control-{1, 2, 3, …} shortcut keys.

The Diff editor can be focused with Ctrl-j. The Status tool can be focused with Ctrl-k. The Commit tool can be focused with Ctrl-l.


The Status tool provides a visual analog to the git status command.

Status displays files that are modified relative to the staging area, staged for the next commit, unmerged files from an in-progress merge, and files that are untracked to git.

These are the same categories one sees when running git status on the command line.

You can navigate through the list of files using keyboard arrows as well as the ergonomic and vim-like j and k shortcut keys.

There are several convenient ways to interact with files in the Status tool.

Selecting a file displays its diff in the Diff viewer. Double-clicking a file stages its contents, as does the Ctrl-s shortcut key.

Ctrl-e opens selected files in the configured editor, and Ctrl-d opens selected files using git difftool

Additional actions can be performed using the right-click context menu.

Drag and Drop

Files can be dragged from the Status tool onto other applications.

Some terminals will treat a drag with multiple files by separating them with newlines, which is less amenable for pasting command-line arguments.

To avoid this issue, hold down Alt / Option when dragging from the Status tool. The drag and drop payload will no longer contain local file URLs – it will contain plain text that is amenable for use on a command-line.

Note: if drag and drop is not working and you are on Wayland then you may need to export QT_QPA_PLATFORM=wayland in your environment.


Clicking the Staged folder shows a diffstat for the index.

Clicking the Modified folder shows a diffstat for the worktree.

Clicking individual files sends diffs to the Diff Display.

Double-clicking individual files adds and removes their content from the index.

Various actions are available through the right-click context menu. Different actions are available depending a file’s status.

Stage Selected

Add to the staging area using git add Marks unmerged files as resolved.

Launch Editor

Launches the configured visual text editor

Launch Difftool

Visualize changes using git difftool.

Revert Unstaged Edits

Reverts unstaged content by checking out selected paths from the index/staging area

Revert Uncommitted Edits

Throws away uncommitted edits

Unstage Selected

Remove from the index/staging area with git reset

Launch Merge Tool

Resolve conflicts using git mergetool.

Delete File(s)

Delete untracked files from the filesystem.

Add to .gitignore

Adds untracked files to to the .gitignore file.


The diff viewer/editor displays diffs for selected files. Additions are shown in green and removals are displayed in light red. Extraneous whitespace is shown with a pure-red background.

Right-clicking in the diff provides access to additional actions that use either the cursor location or text selection.

The “Copy Diff” action at Alt + Shift + C copies the selected lines to the clipboard. The +, - and `` `` diff line prefixes are stripped from each line when copying diffs using the “Copy Diff” action.

Staging content for commit

The @@ patterns denote a new diff hunk.  Selecting lines of diff and using the Stage Selected Lines command will stage just the selected lines.  Clicking within a diff hunk and selecting Stage Diff Hunk stages the entire patch diff hunk.

The corresponding opposite commands can be performed on staged files as well, e.g. staged content can be selectively removed from the index when we are viewing diffs for staged content.

Diff Against Commit (Diff Mode)

Diff Mode allows you to selectively unstage and revert edits from arbitrary commits so that you can bring these edits back into your worktree.

You can use the diff editor to unstage edits against arbitrary commits by using the Diff > Against Commit... (Diff Mode) menu action.

You can exit Diff Mode by clicking on the red circle-slash icon on the Status widget, by using the Diff > Exit Diff mode menu action, or by clicking in an empty area in the Status tool.

Commit Message Editor

The commit message editor is a simple text widget for entering commit messages.

You can navigate between the Subject and Extended description… fields using the keyboard arrow keys.

Pressing enter when inside the Subject field jumps down to the extended description field.

The Options button menu to the left of the subject field provides access to the additional actions.

The Ctrl+i keyboard shortcut adds a standard “Signed-off-by: “ line, and Ctrl+Enter creates a new commit using the commit message and staged content.

Sign Off

The Sign Off button adds a sign-off to the bottom of the commit message:

Signed-off-by: A. U. Thor <a.u.thor@example.com>

Invoking this action is equivalent to passing the -s option to git commit.

Signing-off on commits is a common practice in projects that use Developer Certificate of Origin attestations in their contribution process.


The commit button runs git commit. The contents of the commit message editor is provided as the commit message.

Only staged files are included in the commit – this is the same behavior as running git commit on the command-line.

Line and Column Display

The current line and column number is displayed by the editor. E.g. a 5,0 display means that the cursor is located at line five, column zero.

The display changes colors when lines get too long. Yellow indicates the safe boundary for sending patches to a mailing list while keeping space for inline reply markers.

Orange indicates that the line is starting to run a bit long and should break soon.

Red indicates that the line is running up against the standard 80-column limit for commit messages.

Keeping commit messages less than 76-characters wide is encouraged. git log is a great tool but long lines mess up its formatting for everyone else, so please be mindful when writing commit messages.

Amend Last Commit

Clicking on Amend Last Commit makes git cola amend the previous commit instead of creating a new one.  git cola loads the previous commit message into the commit message editor when this option is selected.

The Status tool will display all of the changes for the amended commit.

Create Signed Commit

Tell git commit and git merge to sign commits using GPG.

Using this option is equivalent to passing the --gpg-sign option to git commit and git merge.

This option’s default value can be configured using the cola.signcommits configuration variable.

Prepare Commit Message

The Commit -> Prepare Commit Message action or Ctrl-Shift-Return keyboard shortcut runs the cola-prepare-commit-msg hook if it is available in .git/hooks/. This is a git cola-specific hook that takes the same parameters as Git’s prepare-commit-msg hook

The hook is passed the path to .git/GIT_COLA_MSG as the first argument and the hook is expected to write an updated commit message to specified path.  After running this action, the commit message editor is updated with the new commit message.

To override the default path to this hook set the cola.prepareCommitMessageHook git config variable to the path to the hook script.  This is useful if you would like to use a common hook across all repositories.


The Branches tool provides a visual tree to navigate branches. The tree has three main sections: Local Branches, Remote Branches and Tags. Branches are grouped by their name divided by the character /. For example, in a repo with the following list of branches:


The branches widget will display the following hierarchy:

    - doe
    + feature
        - bar
        - foo

The current branch is decorated with a star icon. If the current branch has commits ahead or behind the remote then an up or down arrow will be displayed alongside a number showing the number of commits.


Various actions are available through the right-click context menu. Different actions are available depending on the selected branch’s status.


The checkout action runs git checkout [<branchname>].

Merge into current branch

The merge action runs git merge –no-commit [<branchname>].


The pull action runs git pull –no-ff [<remote>] [<branchname>].


The push action runs git push [<remote>] [<branchname>].

Rename Branch

The rename branch action runs git branch -M [<branchname>].

Delete Branch

The delete branch branch action runs git branch -D [<branchname>].

Delete Remote Branch

The remote branch action runs git push –delete [<remote>] [<branchname>].

Apply Patches

Use the File -> Apply Patches menu item to begin applying patches.

Dragging and dropping patches onto the git cola interface adds the patches to the list of patches to apply using git am.

You can drag either a set of patches or a directory containing patches. Patches can be sorted using in the interface and are applied in the same order as is listed in the list.

When a directory is dropped git cola walks the directory tree in search of patches.  git cola sorts the list of patches after they have all been found.  This allows you to control the order in which patches are applied by placing patch sets into alphanumerically-sorted directories.

Custom Window Settings

git cola remembers modifications to the layout and arrangement of tools within the git cola interface.  Changes are saved and restored at application shutdown/startup.

git cola can be configured to not save custom layouts by disabling the Save Window Settings option in the git cola preferences.

Dark Mode and Window Manager Themes

Git Cola contains a default theme which follows the current Qt style and a handful of built-in color themes.  See cola.theme for more details.

To use icons appropriate for a dark application theme, configure git config --global cola.icontheme dark to use the dark icon theme. See cola.icontheme for more details.

On macOS, using the default theme will automatically inherit “Dark Mode” color themes when configured via System Preferences.  You will need to configure the dark icon theme as noted above when dark mode is enabled.

On Linux, you may want Qt to follow the Window manager theme by configuring it to do so using the qt5ct Qt5 configuration tool.  Install qt5ct on Debian/Ubuntu systems to make this work.:

sudo apt install qt5ct

Once installed, update your ~/.bash_profile to activate qt5ct:

# Use the style configured using the qt5ct tool

This only work with the default theme.  The other themes replace the color palette with theme-specific colors.

Some systems may require that you override QT_STYLE_OVERRIDE in order to use a dark theme or to better interact with the Desktop environment. Some systems provide a theme that you can install:

sudo apt-get install adwaita-qt

You can activate the theme using the following environment variable:

# Override the default theme to adwaita-dark
export QT_STYLE_OVERRIDE=adwaita-dark

QT_STYLE_OVERRIDE may already be set in your Desktop Environment, so check that variable for reference if you get unexpected hangs when launching git-cola or when the default theme does not follow the desktop’s theme on Linux.

If you don’t want to set this variable globally then you can set it when launching cola from the command-line:

QT_STYLE_OVERRIDE=adwaita-dark git cola

The following is a user-contributed custom git-cola.desktop file that can be used to launch Git Cola with these settings preset for you:

[Desktop Entry]
Name=Git Cola (dark)
Comment=The highly caffeinated Git GUI
Exec=env QT_STYLE_OVERRIDE=adwaita-dark git-cola --prompt --icon-theme dark

You may also want to customize the diff colors when using a dark theme:

git config --global cola.color.add 86c19f
git config --global cola.color.remove c07067

Please see #760 for more details.

Custom Themes

To create your own custom theme for Git Cola just create a QSS file and put it in ~/.config/themes/. You can add as many files as you want. Each file will become an option in Menu -> File -> Preferences -> Appearance -> GUI theme.

Some examples can be found here Qt Style Sheets Examples.

Configuration Variables

These variables can be set using git config or from the settings.


Set to false to disable auto-completion of filenames in completion widgets. This can speed up operations when working in large repositories. Defaults to true.


Set to true to automatically load the commit template in the commit message editor If the commit.template variable has not been configured, raise the corresponding error. Defaults to false.


The command used to blame files.  Defaults to git gui blame.


Whether to use a “block” cursor in diff editors. The block cursor is easier to see compared to a line cursor. Set to false to use a thin “line” cursor. Defaults to true.


Whether to create a dock widget with the Browser tool. Defaults to false to speedup startup time.


Inspect unmerged files for conflict markers before staging them. This feature helps prevent accidental staging of unresolved merge conflicts. Defaults to true.


git cola, when run outside of a Git repository, prompts the user for a repository.  Set cola.defaultrepo to the path of a Git repository to make git cola attempt to use that repository before falling back to prompting the user for a repository.


Specifies an additional dictionary for git cola to use in its spell checker. This should be configured to the path of a newline-separated list of words.

By default, git cola searches for dict/words and dict/propernames dictionary files in ~/.local/share and $XDG_DATA_DIRS.

If $XDG_DATA_DIRS is undefined or set to an empty value then /usr/local/share and /usr/share are searched for dictionary files.

Dictionary files are newline-separated and contain one word per line.


Expand tabs into spaces in the commit message editor.  When set to true, git cola will insert a configurable number of spaces when tab is pressed. The number of spaces is determined by cola.tabwidth. Defaults to false.


Use the gravatar.com service to lookup icons for author emails. Gravatar icons work by sending an MD5 hash of an author’s email to gravatar.com when requesting an icon. Warning: this feature can leak information. Network requests to gravatar.com are disabled when set to false. Defaults to true.


Enables per-file gitattributes encoding and binary file support. This tells git cola to honor the configured encoding when displaying and applying diffs.

A .gitattributes file can set the binary attribute in order to force specific untracked paths to be treated as binary files when diffing. Binary files are displayed using a hex-dump display.

# Treat *.exr files as binary files.
*.exr binary


Specifies the font to use for git cola’s diff display.


Specifies the High DPI displays scale factor. Set 0 to automatically scaled. Setting value between 0 and 1 is undefined. This option requires at least Qt 5.6 to work. See Qt QT_SCALE_FACTOR documentation for more information.


Specifies the icon themes to use throughout git cola. The theme specified must be the name of the subdirectory containing the icons, which in turn must be placed in the inside the main “icons” directory in git cola’s installation prefix.

If unset, or set either “light” or “default”, then the default style will be used.  If set to “dark” then the built-in “dark” icon theme, which is suitable for a dark window manager theme, will be used.

If set to an absolute directory path then icons in that directory will be used. This value can be set to multiple values using, git config --add cola.icontheme $theme.

This setting can be overridden by the Git_cola_icon_theme environment variable, which can specify multiple themes using a colon-separated value.

The icon theme can also be specified by passing --icon-theme=<theme> on the command line, once for each icon theme, in the order that they should be searched.  This can be used to override a subset of the icons, and fallback to the built-in icons for the remainder.


Enable image diffs for the specified file extension.  For example, configuring git config –global cola.imagediff.svg false will disable use of the visual image diff for .svg files in all repos until is is explicitly toggled on. Defaults to true.


Set to false to disable file system change monitoring.  Defaults to true, but also requires either Linux with inotify support or Windows with pywin32 installed for file system change monitoring to actually function.


Set to true to automatically refresh when git cola gains focus.  Defaults to false because this can cause a pause whenever switching to git cola from another application.


Whether to automatically break long lines while editing commit messages. Defaults to true.  This setting is configured using the Preferences dialog, but it can be toggled for one-off usage using the commit message editor’s options sub-menu.


Set the default date-time mode for the DAG display. This value is passed to git log –date=<format>. See git log(1) for more details.


git cola caps the number of recent repositories to avoid cluttering the start and recent repositories menu.  The maximum number of repositories to remember is controlled by cola.maxrecent and defaults to 8.


Controls whether zooming text using Ctrl + MouseWheel scroll is enabled. Set to false to disable scrolling with the mouse wheel. Defaults to true.


Enable desktop notifications when commits are pushed using the “Push” dialog. Set to true to enable desktop notifications. Defaults to false.


git cola encodes paths dragged from its widgets into utf-16 when adding them to the drag-and-drop mime data (specifically, the text/x-moz-url entry). utf-16 is used to make gnome-terminal see the right paths, but other terminals may expect a different encoding.  If you are using a terminal that expects a modern encoding, e.g. terminator, then set this value to utf-8.


git cola avoids reading large binary untracked files. The maximum size to read is controlled by cola.readsize and defaults to 2048.


git cola will automatically resize the file browser columns as folders are expanded/collapsed when cola.resizebrowsercolumns is set to true.


The default directory to use when exporting patches. Relative paths are treated as being relative to the current repository. Absolute paths are used as-is. Defaults to patches.


The “Stage” button in the git cola Actions panel stages all files when it is activated and no files are selected.  This can be problematic if it is accidentally triggered after carefully preparing the index with staged changes.  “Safe Mode” is enabled by setting cola.safemode to true. When enabled, git cola will do nothing when “Stage” is activated without a selection.  Defaults to false.


git cola will remember its window settings when set to true. Window settings and X11 sessions are saved in $HOME/.config/git-cola.


git cola displays the absolute path of the repository in the window title. This can be disabled by setting cola.showpath to false. Defaults to true.


git cola will sign commits by default when set true. Defaults to false. See the section below on setting up GPG for more details.


Control how the list of repositories is displayed in the startup dialog. Set to list to view the list of repositories as a list, or folder to view the list of repositories as a collection of folder icons. Defaults to list.


Set to true to indent files in the Status widget.  Files in the Staged, Modified, etc. categories will be grouped in a tree-like structure. Defaults to false.


Set to true to display files counts in the Status widget’s category titles. Defaults to false.


Set to false to disable calling os.fdatasync()  / os.fdata() when saving settings. Defaults to true, which means that these functions are called when windows are closed and their settings are saved.


The number of columns occupied by a tab character.  Defaults to 8.


The command to use when launching commands within a graphical terminal.

cola.terminal defaults to xterm -e when unset. e.g. when opening a shell, git cola will run xterm -e $SHELL.

git cola has built-in support for xterm, gnome-terminal, konsole. If either gnome-terminal, xfce4-terminal, or konsole are installed then they will be preferred over xterm when cola.terminal is unset.

The table below shows the built-in values that are used for the respective terminal.  You can force the use of a specific terminal by configuring cola accordingly.


Some terminal require that the command string get passed as a string. For example, xfce4-terminal -e "git difftool" requires shell quoting, whereas gnome-terminal -- git difftool does not.

You should not need to set this variable for the built-in terminals cola knows about – it will behave correctly without configuration. For example, when not configured, cola already knows that xfce4-terminal requires shell quoting.

This configuration variable is for custom terminals outside of the builtin set. The table below shows the builtin configuration.

Terminal            cola.terminal           cola.terminalshellquote
--------            -------------           -----------------------
gnome-terminal      "gnome-terminal --"     false
konsole             "konsole -e"            false
xfce4-terminal      "xfce4-terminal -e"     true
xterm               "xterm -e"              false


The number of columns used for line wrapping. Tabs are counted according to cola.tabwidth.


Specifies the GUI theme to use throughout git cola. The theme specified must be one of the following values:

  • default – default Qt theme, may appear different on various systems
  • flat-dark-blue
  • flat-dark-green
  • flat-dark-grey
  • flat-dark-red
  • flat-light-blue
  • flat-light-green
  • flat-light-grey
  • flat-light-red

If unset, or set to an invalid value, then the default style will be used. The default theme is generated by Qt internal engine and should look native but may look noticeably different on different platforms. The flat themes on the other hand should look similar (but not identical) on various systems.

The GUI theme can also be specified by passing --theme=<name> on the command line.


Set to true to enable “turbo” mode.  “Turbo” mode disables some features that can slow things down when operating on huge repositories. “Turbo” mode will skip loading Git commit messages, author details, status information, and commit date details in the File Browser tool. Defaults to false.


The default diff text color, in hexadecimal #RRGGBB notation. Defaults to “#030303”:

git config cola.color.text '#030303'


The default diff “add” background color, in hexadecimal #RRGGBB notation. Defaults to “#d2ffe4”:

git config cola.color.add '#d2ffe4'


The default diff “remove” background color, in hexadecimal #RRGGBB notation. Defaults to “#fee0e4”:

git config cola.color.remove '#fee0e4'


The default diff header text color, in hexadecimal #RRGGBB notation. Defaults to “#bbbbbb”:

git config cola.color.header '#bbbbbb'


Configure whether commit messages should be stripped of whitespace and comments.

Valid values are strip, whitespace, verbatim, scissors or default.

The default mode uses the whitespace mode when committing through Git Cola and the strip mode when committing using the git commit command-line.

  • strip - Strip leading and trailing empty lines, trailing whitespace, commentary and collapse consecutive empty lines.
  • whitespace - Same as strip except # commentary is not removed. This is the default behavior when committing through Git Cola.
  • verbatim - Do not change the message at all.
  • scissors - Same as whitespace except that everything from (and including) the line found below is truncated, if the message is to be edited. “#” can be customized with core.commentChar:

    # ------------------------ >8 ------------------------
    Scissor-lines and all following lines are removed.

Changing the mode to whitespace can be useful when you always want to keep lines that begin with comment character # in your log message, even when committing using the command-line git commit.

On the contrary, if you always want to always strip comments, even when committing through Git Cola, then configure commit.cleanup to strip.

Please see the git commit cleanup mode documentation for more details.


Commit messages can contain comments that start with this character. Defaults to #.

Please see the git config documentation for more details.


Hooks are programs you can place in a hooks directory to trigger actions at certain points in git’s execution. Hooks that don’t have the executable bit set are ignored.

By default the hooks directory is $GIT_DIR/hooks, but that can be changed via the core.hooksPath configuration variable

The cola-prepare-commit-msg hook functionality and Cola’s Git LFS detection honors this configuration.

Please see the git hooks documentation for more details.


The number of diff context lines to display.


git cola avoids showing untracked files when set to false.


The default text editor to use is defined in gui.editor. The config variable overrides the Visual environment variable. Defaults to gvim -f -p.


The history browser to use when visualizing history. Defaults to gitk.


The default diff tool to use.


The default merge tool to use.


Your email address to be recorded in any newly created commits. Can be overridden by the ‘GIT_AUTHOR_EMAIL’, ‘GIT_COMMITTER_EMAIL’, and ‘EMAIL’ environment variables.


Your full name to be recorded in any newly created commits. Can be overridden by the ‘GIT_AUTHOR_NAME’ and ‘GIT_COMMITTER_NAME’ environment variables.

Environment Variables


When set in the environment, GIT_COLA_ICON_THEME overrides the theme specified in the cola.icontheme configuration. Read cola.icontheme for more details.



GIT_COLA_SCALE should not be used with newer versions of Qt.

Set QT_AUTO_SCREEN_SCALE_FACTOR to 1 and Qt will automatically scale the interface to the correct size based on the display DPI. This option is also available by setting cola.hidpi configuration.

See the Qt High DPI documentation for more details.

git cola can be made to scale its interface for HiDPI displays. When defined, git cola will scale icons, radio buttons, and checkboxes according to the scale factor.  The default value is 1. A good value is 2 for high-resolution displays.

Fonts are not scaled, as their size can already be set in the settings.


When defined, git cola logs git commands to stdout. When set to full, git cola also logs the exit status and output. When set to trace, git cola logs to the Console widget.


Specifies the default editor to use. This is ignored when the gui.editor configuration variable is defined.

Language Settings

git cola automatically detects your language and presents some translations when available.  This may not be desired, or you may want git cola to use a specific language.

You can make git cola use an alternative language by creating a ~/.config/git-cola/language file containing the standard two-letter gettext language code, e.g. “en”, “de”, “ja”, “zh”, etc.:

mkdir -p ~/.config/git-cola &&
echo en >~/.config/git-cola/language

Alternatively you may also use LANGUAGE environmental variable to temporarily change git cola’s language just like any other gettext-based program.  For example to temporarily change git cola’s language to English:

LANGUAGE=en git cola

To make git cola use the zh_TW translation with zh_HK, zh, and en as a fallback.:

LANGUAGE=zh_TW:zh_HK:zh:en git cola

Custom GUI Actions

git cola allows you to define custom GUI actions by setting git config variables.  The “name” of the command appears in the “Actions” menu.


Specifies the shell command line to execute when the corresponding item of the Tools menu is invoked. This option is mandatory for every tool. The command is executed from the root of the working directory, and in the environment it receives the name of the tool as GIT_GUITOOL, the name of the currently selected file as FILENAME, and the name of the current branch as CUR_BRANCH (if the head is detached, CUR_BRANCH is empty).

If <name> contains slashes (/) then the leading part of the name, up until the final slash, is treated like a path of sub-menus under which the actions will be created.

For example, configuring guitool.Commands/Util/echo.cmd creates a Commands menu inside the top-level Actions menu, a Util menu inside the Commands menu and an echo action inside the Commands sub-menu.


Run the command in the background (similar to editing and difftool actions). This avoids blocking the GUI.  Setting background to true implies noconsole and norescan.


Run the tool only if a diff is selected in the GUI. It guarantees that FILENAME is not empty.


Run the command silently, without creating a window to display its output.


Don’t rescan the working directory for changes after the tool finishes execution.


Show a confirmation dialog before actually running the tool.


Request a string argument from the user, and pass it to the tool through the ARGS environment variable. Since requesting an argument implies confirmation, the confirm option has no effect if this is enabled. If the option is set to true, yes, or 1, the dialog uses a built-in generic prompt; otherwise the exact value of the variable is used.


Request a single valid revision from the user, and set the REVISION environment variable. In other aspects this option is similar to argprompt, and can be used together with it.


Show only unmerged branches in the revprompt sub-dialog. This is useful for tools similar to merge or rebase, but not for things like checkout or reset.


Specifies the title to use for the prompt dialog. Defaults to the tool name.


Specifies the general prompt string to display at the top of the dialog, before subsections for argprompt and revprompt. The default value includes the actual command.


Specifies a keyboard shortcut for the custom tool.

The value must be a valid string understood by the QAction::setShortcut() API. See https://doc.qt.io/qt-6/qkeysequence.html#toString for more details about the supported values.

Avoid creating shortcuts that conflict with existing built-in git cola shortcuts.  Creating a conflict will result in no action when the shortcut is used.

Setting Up Credential Helpers

Git has robust support for automatically handling credentials.

The recommended approach is to use SSH keys and an SSH agent, but any of the core Git Credentials helpers will get used automatically by Git Cola.

See https://git-scm.com/doc/credential-helpers for more details.

Setting Up GPG for Signed Commits

When creating signed commits, gpg will attempt to read your password from the terminal from which git cola was launched. The way to make this work smoothly is to use a GPG agent so that you can avoid needing to re-enter your password every time you commit.

This also gets you a graphical passphrase prompt instead of getting prompted for your password in the terminal.

Install gpg-agent and friends

On Mac OS X, you may need to brew install gpg-agent and install the Mac GPG Suite.

On Linux use your package manager to install gnupg2, gnupg-agent and pinentry-qt, e.g.:

sudo apt-get install gnupg2 gnupg-agent pinentry-qt

On Linux, you should also configure Git so that it uses gpg2 (gnupg2), otherwise you will get errors mentioning, “unable to open /dev/tty”. Set Git’s gpg.program to gpg2:

git config --global gpg.program gpg2

Configure gpg-agent and a pin-entry program

On Mac OS X, edit ~/.gnupg/gpg.conf to include the line,:


This is typically not needed on Linux, where gpg2 is used, as this is the default value when using gpg2.

Next, edit ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf to contain a pinentry-program line pointing to the pinentry program for your platform.

The following example ~/.gnupg/gpg-agent.conf shows how to use pinentry-gtk-2 on Linux:

pinentry-program /usr/bin/pinentry-gtk-2
default-cache-ttl 3600

This following example .gnupg/gpg-agent.conf shows how to use MacGPG2’s pinentry app on On Mac OS X:

pinentry-program /usr/local/MacGPG2/libexec/pinentry-mac.app/Contents/MacOS/pinentry-mac
default-cache-ttl 3600

Once this has been set up then you will need to reload your gpg-agent config:

echo RELOADAGENT | gpg-connect-agent

If you see the following output:


Then the daemon is already running, and you do not need to start it yourself.

If it is not running, eval the output of gpg-agent --daemon in your shell prior to launching git cola.:

eval $(gpg-agent --daemon)
git cola

Shell Completions

Git Cola provides shell completions for zsh and bash. The completion scripts and instructions are included in Git Cola’s contrib directory.

Windows Notes

Git Installation

If Git is installed in a custom location, e.g. not installed in C:/Git or Program Files, then the path to Git must be configured by creating a file in your home directory ~/.config/git-cola/git-bindir that points to your git installation, e.g.:


SSH Agents for Key-based Authentication

You may need to setup ssh-agent in order to use SSH key-based authentication on Windows. It has been reported that starting OpenSSH agent in Windows Services and adding the key using Powershell are necessary in order to get things working.

Please see the following links for more details.


Fips Security Mode

FIPS Security Mode is available in newer versions of Python. These include Python 3.9+ and the patched Python 3.6 used by CentOS8/RHEL8 (and possibly others).

Git Cola uses the hashlib.md5 function and adheres to the FIPS security mode when available. Git Cola does not use the MD5 value for security purposes. MD5 is used only for the purposes of implementing the cola/gravatar.py Gravatar client.


David Aguilar and contributors


Jul 01, 2024 4.8.0 Git Cola