git-diff-index - Linux


git-diff-index compares the contents of a staged file in the index to either the working copy (if specified) or the version from a given tree or commit (if not). It’s useful for reviewing changes, checking for errors before committing, and verifying the results of merging, cherry-picking, and other operations.


git diff-index [-a|-b|-c|-r] [--cached] [--diff-filter=<filter>]
              [--ignore-errors] [--ignore-file=<file>]
              [--ignore-submodules] [--ignore-untracked] [--no-binary]
              [--no-color] [--no-extensions] [--no-index] [--no-renames]
              [--no-verify] [--numstat] [--pathname=<path>] [--pickaxe-regex=<regex>]
              [--quiet] [--staged] [--trust-mtime] [--<option>] [--no-<option>]
              [--] <tree-ish> <path>...


  • -a, –all: Diff all staged files.
  • -b, –brief: Show fewer details in the output.
  • -c, –cached: Use the staged file contents.
  • -r, –relative: Display paths relative to the current directory.
  • –cached: Compare between staged and HEAD.
  • –diff-filter: Specifies the changes to display (e.g., ‘A’, ‘D’, ‘M’).
  • –ignore-errors: Ignore errors when reading the index.
  • –ignore-file: Exclude specific patterns from the diff.
  • –ignore-submodules: Don’t descend into submodules.
  • –ignore-untracked: Ignore untracked files.
  • –no-binary: Display files in text format, even if they’re binary.
  • –no-color: Disable color output.
  • –no-extensions: Ignore version control extensions.
  • –no-index: Don’t use the index.
  • –no-renames: Don’t show renamed files.
  • –no-verify: Don’t verify the signature of the file in the index.
  • –numstat: Display summary of file changes as number of added/deleted lines.
  • –pathname: Specify a custom diff output format.
  • –pickaxe-regex: Use the given regex to match hunk headers.
  • –quiet: Suppress output except error messages.
  • –staged: Compare between staged and unstaged changes.
  • –trust-mtime: Trust the mtime of the file.


  • Compare staged changes to the working copy:
    git diff-index --cached
  • Compare a specific file to the index:
    git diff-index --cached -- myfile.txt
  • Diff all staged files, filtering out renamed ones:
    git diff-index HEAD -- . --no-renames
  • Display a summary of changes:
    git diff-index --cached --numstat
  • Compare index to a specific commit:
    git diff-index 12345 HEAD -- myfile.txt

Common Issues

  • No arguments provided: Specify either a tree-ish and paths or the --cached flag to specify a comparison against the HEAD.
  • File not found in index: The file is not staged. Use git add to add it to the index.
  • Corrupted index: Reset the index using git reset or re-initialize it with git init.


git-diff-index can be combined with other Git commands to perform advanced tasks:

  • Compare staged changes to a remote branch:
    git fetch origin
    git diff-index origin/main HEAD
  • Check for uncommitted changes in a subdirectory:
    git diff-index --cached --no-ignore-submodules subdirectory

Related Commands

  • git diff: Compares changes between two trees or commits.
  • git status: Shows the changes in the working directory and the index.
  • git checkout: Overwrites local files with either the index or a tree/commit.
  • git add: Adds files to the index.