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Git - Removing a file from a commit

Once again, another git magic that might be of help to some of you. This research came up when I accidentally added a couple of unwanted files and wanted to remove them from a commit.

We all know that to update an existing commit, we shall follow this git magic to amend commits. However, how do we drop changes to a particular file in a commit?

While that is easy, it is also tricky. This blog post covers scenarios and respective commands that help you understand what should be done.

 * Please read this post fully before executing any command. My scenario might not be the same as yours.

There are two scenarios to be handled here,

  1. Remove a newly added file
  2. Remove changes to an existing file
Let's look at them separately,

Remove a newly added file

This is the scenario where an unwanted file added to the commit. This file might be some config.json that got generated while doing a research on a new testing tool or a bundling tool. Such scenarios are easier.

1. Remove your file from the local folder

Go to the root folder of your repository and execute the below command,

    > rm config.json

2. Stage and amend the commit

    > git add config.json
    > git commit --amend

Remove changes to an existing file

This is tricky but easy-to-solve scenario once you know it's doable. This is the scenario where there's a file already in the branch and you made some accidental changes to it and committed it. To remove the accidental changes and put it back to what it was before,

1. Checkout the file from the parent branch

Let's say you have made changes to webpack.config.js but don't need that change anymore and let's assume you are working in a branch that was created from an upstream/main branch.

Go to the root folder of your repository and execute the below command,

    > git checkout upstream/main -- webpack.config.js

2. Stage and commit

    > git add config.json
    > git commit --amend

Tada! With this, we come to an end of this git flow. If there's anything that you might want me to add or discuss or if there's anything I've missed, please leave comments below.


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