Git: Switching Unstaged Changes to a New Branch

Avatar of Chris Coyier
Chris Coyier on

I’m always on the wrong branch. I’m either on master or main working on something that should be on a fix or feature branch. Or I’m on the last branch I was working on and should have cut a new branch. Oh well. It’s never that big of a deal. Basically means switching unstaged changes to a new branch. This is what I normally do:

  • Stash all the changed-but-unstaged files
  • Move back to master
  • Pull master to make sure it’s up to date
  • Cut a new branch from master
  • Move to the new branch
  • Unstash those changed files

Want a bunch of other Git tips? Our “Advanced Git” series has got a ton of them.

Switching unstaged changes to a new branch with the Git CLI it looks like this

Here’s how I generally switch unstaged changes to a new branch in Git:

git status
git stash --include-untracked
git checkout master
git pull
git branch content/sharis
git checkout content/sharis
git stash pop
Yeah I commit jpgs right to git.

Switching unstaged changes to a new branch in Git Tower it looks like this

I think you could theoretically do each of those steps to switch unstaged changed to a new branch, one-by-one, in Git Tower, too, but the shortcut is that you can make the branch and double-click over to it.

Sorry, I’m just doing Git Tower but there are lots of other Git GUIs that probably have clever ways of doing this as well.

But there is a new fancy way!

This way of switching unstaged changes to a new branch is new to me anyway, and it was new to Wes when he tweeted this:

Cool. That’s:

git switch -c new-branch

Documentation for that here.