GitKraken Tips VII

GitKraken Tips VII

Git tips for pull requests, detached head, opening the command line from GitKraken, and more

If you’re not already using the legendary Git GUI for Windows, Mac, and Linux, start here:

Download GitKraken Free

To help you get the most out of using the GitKraken Git client,  we’re bringing back our popular #GitKrakenTip series. These quick tips and tricks will empower you to wield the mighty Kraken and code like you never have before.  

1.Enter detached HEAD state

Detached HEAD state allows you to check out any commit and view the history of a repository without having to create a local branch. 

Simply right-click on your desired commit and select the Checkout this commit option. The checked-out commit will now be tagged as HEAD, noting you have entered detached HEAD state.


From here, you can view the entire history of the commit, and you can make experimental changes without impacting other branches. 

2. Open your repo in your preferred external text editor 

Open your Git repositories inside of your preferred text editor directly from GitKraken. 

Launch the Fuzzy Finder using keyboard shortcut Ctrl + P, or use the Help menu. Next, type “Open” and select the option to open in your preferred editor.


Set your preferred text editor by going to PreferencesGeneral and choosing between one of these supported external editors: VS Code, Atom, Sublime Text, or IntelliJ IDEA. 

Copy links to pull requests with one click. Simply right-click on a PR from the left panel in GitKraken to access the option to copy the link.


This can be especially convenient when collaborating with others on a project; share the link in Slack or your integrated issue tracker.

4. Quickly switch between repos with tabs

Use tabs in GitKraken to quickly switch between different Git repositories. And use the newly implemented context menu by right-clicking any tab to access the following options: 

  • Close tab
  • Close other tabs
  • Close tabs to the right
  • Reopen closed tab   

5. Multi-select branches for quick graph cleanup

Depending on how active your repo is, your central commit graph can get noisy 🙉 and overwhelming.

By holding down Cmd/Ctrl you can select multiple local branches from the left panel in GitKraken, or use Shift + Click to select a consecutive range of branches. Then just right-click to delete. The easiest cleanup you’ll do today.


6. Open the command line from GitKraken

We get it. As amazing as GitKraken is, sometimes, you just want to use the terminal. You don’t need to resist the urge. The CLI is just a few clicks away.

To open a repo folder in the terminal, use keyboard shortcut: opt + T (Mac) or alt + T (Windows/Linux). You can also go to FileOpen Terminal.


7. Set custom branch names

Looking to move away from the term “master”? You can now easily replace it with “main” or another word of your choice.

When initializing new repositories in GitKraken, you can set a custom default branch name.


8. View your repo’s Git actions through Activity Logs 

Need to dig a bit deeper into your project? Activity Logs provide real-time feedback of all application and Git actions made to your repository in GitKraken. 

To access a repo’s activity log, click the left icon on the bottom toolbar.


9. Never forget a keyboard shortcut 

Instantly view the complete list of available GitKraken keyboard shortcuts with Cmd/Ctrl + ?.


10. View the diff of multiple commits

See all files changed in multiple commits at the same time by viewing the combined diff of those commits. Hold down Shift or Cmd/Ctrl to select multiple commits from the graph.


The list of all files that have been added, modified, renamed, or deleted between the selected commits will appear in the Commit Panel on the right.

Unleash the (Git)Kraken

When you’re using the full power of the mighty GitKraken Git GUI, your workflow will reach new levels of awesome. Take these tips along on your next journey into the land of Git and UNLEASH THE KRAKEN! 

Stay on the cutting edge of software development by getting innovative tips, trends and stories delivered to your inbox every month!

Agile project management software
Plan, develop, review, and ship fast


Legendary suite of developer tools
GitKraken Git GUI, Boards & Timelines