SmartGit’s Log displays the working tree state and the repository’s history as a list of commits, sorted by increasing age, and with a graph on the left side to show the parent-child relationships between the commits. What is shown on the Log depends on what was selected when the Log command was invoked:

  • To view the history of the entire repository (root Log), select the repository in the Repositories view before invoking the Log command.
  • To view the history of a directory within the repository, select the directory in the Repositories view before invoking the Log command.
  • To view the history of a single file within the repository, select the file in the Files view before invoking the Log command. If the file is not visible in the Files view, either adjust the file table’s filter settings (on its top right), or enter the name of the file in the search field above the file table.

A root Log can be invoked from other places in SmartGit as well:

  • In the Branches view (just in the Working Tree window), you can right-click on a branch and select Log to open the Log for the selected branch.
  • In the Journal view, you can right-click on a specific commit and invoke Log to open the Log for the current branch, with the selected commit pre-selected in the Log.

Graph view

The Graph displays the log graph (“history”) starting from the selected Branches anchors. Branches/tags and other refs will show up at the “appropriate” commits. In case of File (or Subtree) Logs or filtered Logs (see Filter input field, below), every ref will be mapped to the most recent commit of the graph which is still part of the ref’s history. In case of File (or Subtree) Logs, the file (or subtree) content of the mapped ref commit will be identical to the content of the actual commit to which the refs points. For filtered Logs, there is no such relation between the mapped commit and the actual commit, still you will be able to see which of your filtered commits are part of which ref’s history. Mapped refs which are not exactly located at the commit to which they are attached will be denoted by ~.

The Graph can be customized in many ways from the Options-menu (≡).

Graph filter

Using the Filter field above the Graph, you can restrict the displayed commits to those matching a certain filter criterion. On change of the Filter field, SmartGit will restart the search from the select Branches and report matching commits bit by bit. The search will be performed directly in the repository, so eventually SmartGit will find all matching commits in the entire repository.

Commit view

The layout of the Commit view depends on the Graph selection:

If the working tree node is selected, it shows a field to compose the message for the next commit, a couple of options and finally a Commit button to actually perform the commit.

If a commit is selected, it shows details for the selected commit:

  • branches and tags shows all branch/tag-refs which are displayed in the Graph for the selected commit
  • same state tags (only File Logs) shows those tags which contain the file with exactly the same content as for the selected commit; this category will only be present if Tag-Grouping has been configured in the Repository Settings (for details refer there).
  • closest tags shows those tags for a commit:
    • from which the commit is reachable; and
    • from which there is no other tag reachable from which the commit is reachable, too.

    In addition, more relevant tags will be added if Tag-Grouping has been configured in the Repository Settings (for details refer there).

  • on branches shows all branch-refs for which the selected commit is an ancestor reachable by following only “primary” parents, i.e. is part of the branch’s “natural” history
  • merged to branches shows all branch-refs for which the selected commit is an ancestor, but only reachable by following at least one merge parent (2nd or higher parent of a commit)


Git does not remember the (current) branch as part of a commit. However, when creating merge commits, Git always uses the currently checked out (branch that points to a) commit as first parent and the merged one as second parent. This way it’s possible to find out which commits belong to the same branch (first parent) and which were merged (second parent).

Log Commands

In the Log window, virtually all commands which are known from the Working Tree window are available as well:

  • most of them are available from the main menu bar
  • the context menu on a commit provides certain commands
  • certain items in the Graph view, like local refs or the HEAD-arrow can be modified using drag-and-drop
  • there are several ways to write commits, for details refer to Interactive Rebase

Compare Commits

You can compare two commits in the Graph by selecting both commits (Ctrl-click). The difference from the newer commit compared to the older commit will be displayed in the Files view. By selecting a file you can see detailed change in the Changes view. In a similar way, you can compare the Index against a specific commit.


When comparing branches you can also invoke Reveal Commit from the context menu of the first branch in the Branches view, then invoke Compare with Selected Commit on the second branch.

Recyclable Commits

In the Branches view, you can toggle Recyclable Commits to get back obsolete heads which are not reachable anymore from any ref. Technically, SmartGit will include all commits which are found in the reflogs (.git/logs-files).

Skip merge optimization when filtering

By default, SmartGit will “optimize” the display of merge commits when filtering the Log Graph. To skip the merge optimization, in the Preferences, section Low-Level Property you may set log.graph.topoFilter.alwaysIncludeContainingMerges to true. For example, for following unfiltered Graph:

0 : 57d # [b6][*master] commit 6
     | \                                                                                
1 : b52 |  # [b5] commit 5
     |  |                                                                               
     |  |                                                                               
2 :  | 8e8 # [b4] commit 4
     | /|                                                                               
     |/ |                                                                               
3 :  | fe0 # [b3] commit 3
     |  |                                                                               
     |  |                                                                               
4 : 722 |  # [b2] commit 2         
     | /                                                                                
5 : dd2 # [b1] commit 1          

Filtering for “commit 1” and “commit 3” will by default give:

0: 57d # [6] [b6][*master] commit 6
    | \                                    
1:  | fe0 # [6] [b3][b4] commit 3
    | /                                    
2: dd2 # [6] [b1][b2][b5]<b4> commit 1

And with log.graph.topoFilter.alwaysIncludeContainingMerges=true it will give:

0 : 57d # [6] [b6][*master] commit 6
     | \                                                                      
1 :  | 8e8 # [6] [b4] commit 4
     | /|                                                                     
     |/ |                                                                     
2 :  | fe0 # [6] [b3] commit 3
     | /                                                                      
3 : dd2 # [6] [b1][b2][b5] commit 1