How to colorize output of git?

Is there a way to color output for git (or any command)?


baller@Laptop:~/rails/spunky-monkey$ git status
# On branch new-message-types
# Changes not staged for commit:
#   (use "git add <file>..." to update what will be committed)
#   (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)
#       modified:   app/models/message_type.rb
no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")
baller@Laptop:~/rails/spunky-monkey$ git add app/models


baller@Laptop:~/rails/spunky-monkey$ git status
# On branch new-message-types
# Changes to be committed:
#   (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)
#       modified:   app/models/message_type.rb

The output looks the same, but the information is totally different: the file has gone from unstaged to staged for commit.

Is there a way to colorize the output? For example, files that are unstaged are red, staged are green?

Or even Changes not staged for commit: to red and # Changes to be committed: to green?

Working in Ubuntu.

EDIT: Googling found this answer which works great: git config --global --add color.ui true.

However, is there any more general solution for adding color to a command output?

Asked By: B Seven


You can create a section [color] in your ~/.gitconfig with e.g. the following content

  diff = auto
  status = auto
  branch = auto
  interactive = auto
  ui = true
  pager = true

You can also fine control what you want to have coloured in what way, e.g.

[color "status"]
  added = green
  changed = red bold
  untracked = magenta bold

[color "branch"]
  remote = yellow

I hope this gets you started. And of course, you need a terminal which supports colour.

Also see this answer for a way to add colorization directly from the command line.

Answered By: Marco

You probably want to use

git config --global color.ui auto

The auto part says that git will only try and use color on terminals that support it, and you will not get ANSI sequences if you redirect output of git commands to a file for example. Setting it to true is same as auto, and this is also the default since Git 1.8.4.

The color.ui is a meta configuration that includes all the various color.* configurations available with git commands.

This is explained in-depth in git help config.

When color.ui is set to always it will always emit ANSI color characters, even when piping the output like git log | less while when set to auto it will not print colors unless the output is to the terminal.

Answered By: Evgeny

You can do this with Arbitrary Command Output Colourer. It mostly works, but I haven’t figured out how to work around a bug where prompts expecting input aren’t shown and you can’t simply type the known needed input and press enter to continue in every case.

Example of ~/.acoc.conf for git:

# git
/.*(error:.*)/                                    red+bold
/.*(warning:.*)/                                  yellow
/.*(hint:.*)/                                     magenta
/.*(up-to-date).*/                                green+bold
/.*(nothing to commit).*/                         green
/^(+.*)/                                         green
/^(-.*)/                                          red

..which works nicely along with alias git="acoc git" in .bash_profile.

Answered By: Tom Mahoney
git config --global color.ui auto
git config --global color.branch auto
git config --global color.status auto
Answered By: sakisk
git config --global color.ui always
git config --global color.branch always
git config --global color.diff always
git config --global color.interactive always
git config --global color.status always
git config --global color.grep always
git config --global color.pager true
git config --global color.decorate always
git config --global color.showbranch always
Answered By: mlibre

The accepted answer gives the most common solution.
If for any reason you need not to permanently change the configuration, which that solution does, you may override the configuration for a single git command:

git -c color.ui=always <usual git command and options>

For example:

git -c color.ui=always status
git -c color.ui=always diff

Tested: supported on git 2.4.6, not supported on git 1.7.1.

Answered By: Hamlet

or turn off all/most of the colorization off via:

git config --global color.ui false
git config --global color.branch false
git config --global color.diff false
git config --global color.interactive false
git config --global color.status false
git config --global color.grep false
git config --global color.pager false
git config --global color.decorate false
git config --global color.showbranch false
Answered By: theRiley

I know the post is four years old but no one responded from my camp, the color blind. If you can distinguish colors, ignore my post.

“git status” for example puts out text that is white on background/black on white background (legible), dark gray for deleted (illegible against a black background but legible against a white background) and medium gray for added (barley legible on black background, illegible on white background). I used to toggle the background of my terminal window to/from white/black so I could read the illegible text. A simple solution is more:

 git status | more

This makes all the text legible on a standard white or black background terminal window.

Answered By: Jan David Narkiewicz

For a colored git diff piped into less, this works:

git -c color.diff=always diff [...] | less -R
Answered By: jox

To colorize the output of git diff you can add a color.diff section to ~/.gitconfig. For example:

[color "diff"]
  new = bold italic 154
  old = bold italic 196

Here 154 and 196 are ANSI 256-color codes. For more details see man git config.

Answered By: builder-7000

Have a look at for colored language syntax-highlighting of (git) diff output, and colored highlighting of added/removed lines in the diff.

Answered By: 5fec

Definitely recommend: diff-so-fancy

Answered By: jasonleonhard

Some minimalist OSes popular for creating docker containers, like Alpine, may come with stripped down versions of lesss that do not output in color. Install the less package with apk add less command in Alpine.

Answered By: StevieD
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