A git command that opens an editor to stage or unstage files.
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This command represents a faster alternative to git add -i or git gui. It allows you to stage or unstage files from the index in an editor, just like when you perform an interactive rebase.


For example, lets assume you have the following three modified files (git status --short):

M path/to/file1
M another/path/to/file2
M yet/another/path/to/file3

After running git edit-index, an editor will show up with the above output. To stage (add) the first two files, simply change the text to

A path/to/file1
A another/path/to/file2
M yet/another/path/to/file3

You can also unstage (reset) files, add only parts of files (add -p), or delete files (rm).


The script requires Python 2.7 or Python >= 3.2. Both CPython and PyPy implementations are supported.


Either install the script from Python Package Index (PyPI) with pip:

$ pip install git-edit-index

or install it manually by performing the following two steps:

  • Put the git-edit-index script to a directory that is in your $PATH.
  • Ensure that the script is executable (chmod a+x git-edit-index).


Run git edit-index to display an editor with the current index. In it, you can stage or unstage files from the index simply by changing their status:

  • To stage a modified or deleted file, change its status from M or D to A. This runs git add FILE. If you use P instead of A, it will run git add -p FILE instead.
  • To unstage a modified file, change its status from A to M. This runs git reset FILE.
  • To unstage a deleted file, change its status from A to D. This also runs git reset FILE. If you use P instead of D, it will run git reset -p FILE instead.
  • To add an untracked file, change its status from ? to A. This runs git add FILE.
  • To stop tracking of a file, change its status to ?. This runs git rm --cached FILE.
  • To delete an untracked file, remove the line with the file. This deletes the file by using the operating system's file-deletion facilities.
  • To revert changes done to a file since the last commit, remove the line with the file. This runs git checkout FILE (if the file is staged, it first runs git reset FILE).

The status is case-insensitive, e.g. both A and a stage the given file (lower-case letters are easier to type).

Selecting an Editor

The editor can be specified either by setting core.editor in your Git config:

git config --global core.editor "gvim -f"

or by setting the EDITOR, VISUAL, or GIT_EDITOR environment variable in your shell:

export EDITOR="gvim -f"

See the VARIABLES section in the manual pages for git-var for the used order of preference.

Using an Alias

Of course, instead of typing git edit-index, you can setup a git alias:

git config --global alias.ei edit-index

Then, all you have to do is to type git ei.

Configuration Options

The command supports the following configuration options via Git's configuration system.

git-edit-index.onEmptyBuffer [ask|act|nothing]

What should be done when the editor buffer is empty (i.e. all lines were deleted). Possible values:

  • ask: Ask the user by showing him or her a y/N prompt. This is the default behavior of the command since version 0.5.
  • act: Reflect the changes, without asking. This was the default behavior of the command until version 0.5.
  • nothing: Do not reflect any changes, without asking. This corresponds to the default behavior of many other Git commands.

Default: ask.


  • Only the following statuses are currently supported:

    • A: Added file (staged).
    • D: Deleted file (not staged).
    • M: Modified file (not staged).
    • ?: Untracked file.
  • Working with renamed files (status R), copied files (status C), files with merge conflicts (status U), and partially staged files (status MM) is currently not supported.


Copyright (c) 2015-2016 Petr Zemek (s3rvac@gmail.com) and contributors.

Distributed under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file for more details.