Git checkout some files despite the conflict


I frequently find myself wanting to checkout only certain files in a tree but cant because I have modified them locally and dont want the hassle of trying to figure out merge (I dont want to merge anything - I just want the git version of certain files).

So how can I force a checkout of, for example, "db-backup*" where these files are scattered over a directory structure?


  - dir1
    - db-backup1
  - dir2
    - db-backupA



There are a few possible solutions, depending on what you want to do

  • If you want to discard your changes, you can use

    git checkout -f <paths>...
  • If you want to save your changes for later, but not worry about them for now, you can stash away your changes and then do a checkout:

    git stash
    git checkout <paths>...

    To recover your changes, use git stash pop (or git stash apply).

  • If you want to simply view Git version of a file (and perhaps save it in temporary file, or under other name), you can use git show for that:

    git show <file>
  • If you want to checkout some directory or subset of files in some other place, you can either use git archive as described in "Examples" section of git-archive homepage:

    git archive --format=tar --prefix=subdir/ HEAD:subdir |
        (cd /var/tmp/ && tar xf -)

    Note that it would use version from HEAD (last commit), not from the index, though usually there would be no difference.

    Another way of achieving that is to use --temp option of git checkout-index, though this can be considered hackery.