git-column - Linux


git-column is a Git command that allows you to manage and compare columns in a tabular format, making it easy to identify changes and visualize data within commits. It provides a convenient way to diff and merge columns in a structured and organized manner.


git column [options] <rev> <rev>


  • -h, –help: Display help message and exit
  • -p, –patch: Show the patch format of the changes instead of a tabular format
  • -L : Specify a custom file to use for column diffing (requires -p)
  • -E : Filter columns based on a custom expression (requires -p)
  • -a, –align: Align columns in tabular output
  • -w : Set the maximum column width
  • -c : Specify custom colors for the output (e.g., green, red, blue)


Simple Tabular Output:

$ git column master~2 master
| Column | Old Value | New Value |
| Name   | John Doe | Jane Doe  |
| Age    | 25       | 26       |
| City   | New York | Boston    |

Custom File and Expression Filtering:

$ git column -p HEAD^ HEAD \
-L path/to/file -E 'age > 25'

Patch Format Output:

$ git column -p HEAD^ HEAD
diff --git a/data.txt b/data.txt
index 9367fac..65cb0e1 100644
--- a/data.txt
+++ b/data.txt
@@ -1,3 +1,3 @@
-Name | Age | City
-John Doe | 25 | New York
+Name | Age | City
+Jane Doe | 26 | Boston

Common Issues

  • No columns detected: Ensure that your data file has a clear tabular structure with unambiguous column delimiters.
  • Incorrect file specified: Verify the path and format of the custom file used for column diffing.
  • Invalid expression: Double-check the syntax of your custom expression for filtering columns.


With Git Difftool:

git difftool -y \
--extcmd=git column --patch HEAD~2 HEAD

For Advanced Scripting:


# Get column changes from a specific range
changes=$(git column master~2 master -p -L data.txt)

# Filter and process the changes
filtered_changes=$(echo "$changes" | grep 'age > 25')

# Perform additional actions based on the filtered changes

Related Commands

  • git diff: Compare changes between commits or files
  • git difftool: Visually compare and merge changes
  • git blame: Determine the authorship of each line in a file