Created: 2008-06-10 09:26
Updated: 2019-02-27 11:42
License: gpl-2.0

git-cola: The highly caffeinated Git GUI

git-cola is a powerful Git GUI with a slick and intuitive user interface.

Copyright (C) 2007-2018, David Aguilar and contributors

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify
it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by
the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or
(at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License
along with this program.  If not, see <>.


Screenshots are available on the git-cola screenshots page.


apt-get install git-cola

New releases are available on the git-cola download page.


git clone git://

git-cola build status

git-cola on github

git-cola google group



  • git 1.6.3 or newer.

  • Python 2.6 or newer (Python 2+3 compatible).

  • QtPy 1.1.0 or newer.

  • argparse 1.1 or newer. argparse is part of the stdlib in Python 2.7; install argparse separately if you are running on Python 2.6.

  • Sphinx for building the documentation.

git-cola uses QtPy, so you can choose between PyQt4, PyQt5, and PySide by setting the QT_API environment variable to pyqt4, pyqt5 or pyside as desired. qtpy defaults to pyqt5 and falls back to pyqt4 if pyqt5 is not installed.

Any of the following Python Qt libraries must be installed:

Set QT_API=pyqt4 in your environment if you have both versions of PyQt installed and want to ensure that PyQt4 is used.

NOTE: git-cola includes a vendored copy of its QtPy dependency.

We provide a copy of the qtpy module when installing git-cola so that you are not required to install QtPy separately. If you'd like to provide your own qtpy module, for example from the python-qtpy Debian package, then use make NO_VENDOR_LIBS=1 ... when invoking make, or export GIT_COLA_NO_VENDOR_LIBS=1 into the build environment.

Python3 users on debian will need to install python3-distutils in order to run the Makefile's installation steps. distutils is a Python build requirement, but not needed at runtime.


git-cola enables additional features when the following Python modules are installed.

send2trash enables cross-platform "Send to Trash" functionality.



You don't need to install git-cola to run it. Running git-cola from its source tree is the easiest way to try the latest version.

git clone git://
cd git-cola

Having git-cola's bin/ directory in your path allows you to run git cola like a regular built-in Git command:

# Replace "$PWD/bin" with the path to git-cola's bin/ directory
export PATH

git cola
git dag

The instructions below assume that you have git-cola present in your $PATH. Replace "git cola" with "./bin/git-cola" as needed if you'd like to just run it in-place.



Normally you can just do "make install" to install git-cola in your $HOME directory ($HOME/bin, $HOME/share, etc). If you want to do a global install you can do

make prefix=/usr install

The platform-specific installation methods below use the native package manager. You should use one of these so that all of git-cola's dependencies are installed.

Distutils is used by the Makefile via to install git-cola and its launcher scripts. distutils replaces the #!/usr/bin/env python lines in scripts with the full path to python at build time, which can be undesirable when the runtime python is not the same as the build-time python. To disable the replacement of the #!/usr/bin/env python lines, pass USE_ENV_PYTHON=1 to make.


Linux is it! Your distro has probably already packaged git-cola. If not, please file a bug against your distribution ;-)


Available in the AUR.

debian, ubuntu

apt-get install git-cola


dnf install git-cola


emerge git-cola


The default version on 18.04 is older and is missing features and enhancements. Use this PPA maintained by @pavreh to get a newer version.


Homebrew is the easiest way to install git-cola's Qt4 and PyQt4 dependencies. We will use Homebrew to install the git-cola recipe, but build our own .app bundle from source.

Sphinx is used to build the documentation.

brew install sphinx-doc
brew install git-cola

Once brew has installed git-cola you can:

  1. Clone git-cola

    git clone git:// && cd git-cola

  2. Build the application bundle

    make \
        PYTHON=$(brew --prefix python3)/bin/python3 \
        PYTHON_CONFIG=$(brew --prefix python3)/bin/python3-config \
        SPHINXBUILD=$(brew --prefix sphinx-doc)/bin/sphinx-build \
  3. Copy it to /Applications

    rm -fr /Applications/ && cp -r /Applications

Newer versions of Homebrew install their own python3 installation and provide the PyQt5 modules for python3 only. You have to use python3 ./bin/git-cola when running from the source tree.


If you upgrade using brew then it is recommended that you re-install git-cola's dependencies when upgrading. Re-installing ensures that the Python modules provided by Homebrew will be properly setup.

This is required when upgrading to a modern (post-10.11 El Capitan) Mac OS X. Homebrew now bundles its own Python3 installation instead of using the system-provided default Python.

# update homebrew
brew update

# uninstall git-cola and its dependencies
brew uninstall git-cola
brew uninstall pyqt5
brew uninstall sip

# re-install git-cola and its dependencies
brew install git-cola


IMPORTANT If you have a 64-bit machine, install the 64-bit versions only. Do not mix 32-bit and 64-bit versions.

Download and install the following:

Once these are installed you can run git cola from the Start menu.

See "WINDOWS (continued)" below for more details.


git cola ships with an interactive rebase editor called git-xbase. git-xbase is used to reorder and choose commits when rebasing. Start an interactive rebase through the "Rebase" menu, or through the git cola rebase sub-command to start the git-xbase editor:

git cola rebase origin/master

git-xbase can be launched independently of git cola by telling git rebase to use it as its editor through the GIT_SEQUENCE_EDITOR enviironment variable:

env GIT_SEQUENCE_EDITOR="$PWD/share/git-cola/bin/git-xbase" \
git rebase -i origin/master


The git-cola command exposes various sub-commands that allow you to quickly launch tools that are available from within the git-cola interface. For example, ./bin/git-cola find launches the file finder, and ./bin/git-cola grep launches the grep tool.

See git cola --help-commands for the full list of commands.

$ git cola --help-commands
usage: git-cola [-h]


valid commands:

    cola                start git-cola
    am                  apply patches using "git am"
    archive             save an archive
    branch              create a branch
    browse              browse repository
    config              edit configuration
    dag                 start git-dag
    diff                view diffs
    fetch               fetch remotes
    find                find files
    grep                grep source
    merge               merge branches
    pull                pull remote branches
    push                push remote branches
    rebase              interactive rebase
    remote              edit remotes
    search              search commits
    stash               stash and unstash changes
    tag                 create tags
    version             print the version


The following commands should be run during development:

# Run the unit tests
$ make test

# Run tests and longer-running pylint and flake8 checks
$ make check

# Run tests against multiple python interpreters using tox
$ make tox

The test suite can be found in the test directory.

The tests are setup to run automatically when code is pushed using Travis CI. Checkout the Travis config file for more details.

Auto-format po/*.po files before committing when updating translations:

$ make po

When submitting patches, consult the contributing guidelines.

WINDOWS (continued)


In order to develop git cola on Windows you will need to install Python3 and pip. Install PyQt5 using pip install PyQt5 to make the PyQt5 bindings available to Python.

Once these are installed you can use python.exe to run directly from the source tree. For example, from a Git Bash terminal:

/c/Python36/python.exe ./bin/git-cola

Multiple Python versions

If you have multiple versions of Python installed, the contrib/win32/cola launcher script might choose the newer version instead of the python that has PyQt installed. In order to resolve this, you can set the cola.pythonlocation git configuration variable to tell cola where to find python. For example:

git config --global cola.pythonlocation /c/Python36


Windows installers are built using

To build the installer using Pynsist run:


This will generate an installer in build/nsis/.


You may need to configure your history browser if you are upgrading from an older version of git-cola.

gitk was originally the default history browser, but gitk cannot be launched as-is on Windows because gitk is a shell script.

If you are configured to use gitk, then change your configuration to go through Git's sh.exe on Windows. Similarly,we must go through python.exe if we want to use git-dag.

If you want to use gitk as your history browser open the Preferences screen and change the history browser command to:

"C:/Program Files/Git/bin/sh.exe" --login -i C:/Git/bin/gitk

git-dag became the default history browser on Windows in v2.3, so new users should not need to configure anything.

Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies Learn more