Created: 2013-01-22 14:04
Updated: 2019-02-04 07:04
License: wtfpl


You often use Git in different contexts, like at work and for open-source projects. You may then want to use different user names/email pairs to identify yourself.

This is not an important part of your work, and setting this up should be really fast. That's where git-identity comes in: setting up your identity information only takes one command with it.

Note: Identities are stored in the global git config. Using an identity copies the setting in the local repo git configuration. If you are changing the global config for one identity does NOT propagate the changes to the local repos. You will have use git identity --update in the repo folder to update the identity.


Simply link or copy the git-identity in a directory that's in your PATH, Git will pick it up and make it available as git identity.

$ ln -s git-identity ~/bin/git-identity

Under Windows, go to System > Advanced System Parameters > Environment Variable. Find the "Path" entry under system variables and add the path to where you downloaded git-identity.

Then you may setup a default identity with the following command (see Usage for more information):

$ git identity --define default Me

To get bash completion, just source the git-identity.bash-completion file in your initialization scripts, such as .bashrc.

To get zsh completion, move the git-identity.zsh-completion file to a location present in your $FPATH, renaming the file to _git-identity.

You can also use basher to install git-identity:

$ basher install madx/git-identity


Add an identity:

$ git identity --define <identity name> <user name> <user email> [<ssh-file>] [<gpgkeyid>]

Add a GPG key to the identity (see GPG specific information below)

$ git identity --define-gpg <identity name> <gpgkeyid>
Added GPG key DA221397A6FF5EZZ to [default] user <> (GPG key: DA221397A6FF5EZZ)

Add a SSH key to the identity

$ git identity --define-ssh <identity name> <ssh-file>
Added SSH key id_rsa_anotheraccount to [default] user <> (SSH key: id_rsa_anotheraccount)

Print the current identity:

$ git identity
Current identity: [default] user <>

Change identity:

$ git identity user2
Using identity: [default2] user2 <>

Update identity:

$ git identity --update
Using identity: [user] First Last <> (SSH key: id_rsa_user_new_key)
These are the changes:
<   core.sshcommand ssh  -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa_user
>   core.sshcommand ssh  -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa_user_new_key

List all identities:

$ git identity --list
Available identities:
[default] user <>
[default2] user2 <>

Listing raw identities:

$ git identity --list-raw

Deleting an identity:

$ git identity --remove <identity name>

Printing the raw identity (for use in scripts)

$ git identity --print
$ git identity --print <identity name>

Priniting the local settings

$ git identity --get-settings
core.sshcommand ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa_user
user.identity user First Last

Retriving GIT_SSH_COMMAND or running command with that in the environment:

$ git identity -c my_other_identity
GIT_SSH_COMMAND="ssh -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa_myotheridentity"

$ git identity -c my_other_identity git clone
Cloning into 'myrepo'...

Setting up GPG

More information about how to use GPG with git-identity may be found in

Setting up SSH

If you have a valid SSH key associate to the agent you do not have to do anything beside git identity --define-ssh <identity name> <ssh-file>.

This sets core.sshCommand="ssh -i ~/ssh/ssh-file" in the local git config when using that identity

Creating a new identity

    ssh-keygen -t rsa -b 4096 -C "yourname@yourdomain" -f ~/.ssh/id_rsa_anotheraccount
ssh-add id_rsa_anotheraccount

Debugging a ssh connection problem

git identity --define-ssh <identity name> <ssh-file> <verbosity>

With verbosity=1 it will use ssh -v. With verbosity=2 it will use ssh -vvv.

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