Do a “git export” (like “svn export”)?

I’ve been wondering whether there is a good “git export” solution that creates a copy of a tree without the .git repository directory. There are at least three methods I know of:

  1. git clone followed by removing the .git repository directory.
  2. git checkout-index alludes to this functionality but starts with “Just read the desired tree into the index…” which I’m not entirely sure how to do.
  3. git-export is a third party script that essentially does a git clone into a temporary location followed by rsync --exclude='.git' into the final destination.

None of these solutions really strike me as being satisfactory. The closest one to svn export might be option 1, because both those require the target directory to be empty first. But option 2 seems even better, assuming I can figure out what it means to read a tree into the index.

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  • 29 Solutions collect form web for “Do a “git export” (like “svn export”)?”

    Probably the simplest way to achieve this is with git archive. If you really need just the expanded tree you can do something like this.

    git archive master | tar -x -C /somewhere/else

    Most of the time that I need to ‘export’ something from git, I want a compressed archive in any case so I do something like this.

    git archive master | bzip2 >source-tree.tar.bz2

    ZIP archive:

    git archive --format zip --output /full/path/to/ master 

    git help archive for more details, it’s quite flexible.

    Note: If you are interested in exporting the index, the command is

    git checkout-index -a -f --prefix=/destination/path/

    (See Greg’s answer for more details)

    I found out what option 2 means. From a repository, you can do:

    git checkout-index -a -f --prefix=/destination/path/

    The slash at the end of the path is important, otherwise it will result in the files being in /destination with a prefix of ‘path’.

    Since in a normal situation the index contains the contents of the repository, there is nothing special to do to “read the desired tree into the index”. It’s already there.

    The -a flag is required to check out all files in the index (I’m not sure what it means to omit this flag in this situation, since it doesn’t do what I want). The -f flag forces overwriting any existing files in the output, which this command doesn’t normally do.

    This appears to be the sort of “git export” I was looking for.

    git archive also works with remote repository.

    git archive --format=tar \
    --remote=ssh://remote_server/remote_repository master | tar -xf -

    To export particular path inside the repo add as many paths as you wish as last argument to git, e.g.:

    git archive --format=tar \
    --remote=ssh://remote_server/remote_repository master path1/ path2/ | tar -xv

    enter image description here

    A special case answer if the repository is hosted on GitHub.

    Just use svn export.

    As far as I know Github does not allow archive --remote. Although GitHub is svn compatible and they do have all git repos svn accessible so you could just use svn export like you normally would with a few adjustments to your GitHub url.

    For example to export an entire repository, notice how trunk in the URL replaces master (or whatever the project’s HEAD branch is set to):

    svn export

    And you can export a single file or even a certain path or folder:

    svn export

    Example with jQuery JavaScript Library

    The HEAD branch or master branch will be available using trunk:

    svn ls

    The non-HEAD branches will be accessible under /branches/:

    svn ls

    All tags under /tags/ in the same fashion:

    svn ls

    From the Git Manual:

    Using git-checkout-index to “export an entire tree”

    The prefix ability basically makes it trivial to use git-checkout-index as an “export as tree” function. Just read the desired tree into the index, and do:

    $ git checkout-index --prefix=git-export-dir/ -a

    I’ve written a simple wrapper around git-checkout-index that you can use like this:

    git export ~/the/destination/dir

    If the destination directory already exists, you’ll need to add -f or --force.

    Installation is simple; just drop the script somewhere in your PATH, and make sure it’s executable.

    The github repository for git-export

    It appears that this is less of an issue with Git than SVN. Git only puts a .git folder in the repository root, whereas SVN puts a .svn folder in every subdirectory. So “svn export” avoids recursive command-line magic, whereas with Git recursion is not necessary.

    The equivalent of

    svn export . otherpath

    inside an existing repo is

    git archive branchname | (cd otherpath; tar x)

    The equivalent of

    svn export url otherpath


    git archive --remote=url branchname | (cd otherpath; tar x)

    I use git-submodules extensively.
    This one works for me:

    rsync -a ./FROM/ ./TO --exclude='.*'

    The right answer is “git checkout”

    mkdir /path/to/checkout/
    git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/ --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout -f -q

    When checking out paths from the index, do not fail upon unmerged entries; instead, unmerged entries are ignored.

    Avoid verbose

    Additionally you can get any Branch or Tag or from a specific Commit Revision like in SVN just adding the SHA1 (SHA1 in Git is the equivalent to the Revision Number in SVN)

    mkdir /path/to/checkout/
    git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/ --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout 2ef2e1f2de5f3d4f5e87df7d8 -f -q -- ./

    The /path/to/checkout/ must be empty, Git will not delete any file, but will overwrite files with the same name without any warning

    To avoid the beheaded problem or to leave intact the working repository when using checkout for export with tags, branches or SHA1, you need to add — ./ at the end

    the double dash — tell git that everything after the dashs are paths or files and also in this case tell git checkout to not change the HEAD


    This command will get just the libs directory and also the readme.txt file from that exactly commit

    git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/ --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout fef2e1f2de5f3d4f5e87df7d8 -f -q -- ./libs ./docs/readme.txt

    This will create(overwrite) my_file_2_behind_HEAD.txt two commits behind the head HEAD^2

    git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/ --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout HEAD^2 -f -q -- ./my_file_2_behind_HEAD.txt

    To get the export of another branch

    git --git-dir=/path/to/repo/ --work-tree=/path/to/checkout/ checkout myotherbranch -f -q -- ./

    Notice that ./ is relative to the root of the repository

    This will copy all contents, minus the .dot files. I use this to export git cloned projects into my web app’s git repo without the .git stuff.

    cp -R ./path-to-git-repo /path/to/destination/

    Plain old bash works just great 🙂

    I have hit this page frequently when looking for a way to export a git repository. My answer to this question considers three properties that svn export has by design compared to git, since svn follows a centralized repository approach:

    • It minimizes the traffic to a remote repository location by not exporting all revisions
    • It does not include meta information in the export directory
    • Exporting a certain branch using svn is accomplished by specifying the appropriate path

      git clone --depth 1 --branch master git://git.somewhere destination_path
      rm -rf destination_path/.git

    When building a certain release it is useful to clone a stable branch as for example --branch stable or --branch release/0.9.

    I just want to point out that in the case that you are

    1. exporting a sub folder of the repository (that’s how I used to use SVN export feature)
    2. are OK with copying everything from that folder to the deployment destination
    3. and since you already have a copy of the entire repository in place.

    Then you can just use cp foo [destination] instead of the mentioned git-archive master foo | -x -C [destination].

    As simple as clone then delete the .git folder:

    git clone url_of_your_repo path_to_export && rm -rf path_to_export/.git

    You can archive a remote repo at any commit as zip file.

    git archive --format=zip --remote=USERNAME@HOSTNAME:PROJECTNAME.git HASHOFGITCOMMIT

    For GitHub users, the git archive --remote method won’t work directly, as the export URL is ephemeral. You must ask GitHub for the URL, then download that URL. curl makes that easy:

    curl -L | tar xzf -

    This will give you the exported code in a local directory. Example:

    $ curl -L | tar xzf -
    $ ls jpic-bashworks-34f4441/
    break  conf  docs  hack  LICENSE  mlog  module  mpd  mtests  os  README.rst  remote  todo  vcs  vps  wepcrack

    If you want the code put into a specific, existing directory (rather than the random one from github):

    curl -L | \
    tar xzC /path/you/want --strip 1

    Bash-implementation of git-export.

    I have segmented the .empty file creation and removal processes on their own function, with the purpose of re-using them in the ‘git-archive’ implementation (will be posted later on).

    I have also added the ‘.gitattributes’ file to the process in order to remove un-wanted files from the target export folder.
    Included verbosity to the process while making the ‘git-export’ function more efficient.


    function create_empty () {
    ## Processing path (target-dir):
    ## Component(s):
    echo -en "\nAdding '${EMPTY_FILE}' files to empty folder(s): ...";
        find ${TRG_PATH} -not -path "*/${EXCLUDE_DIR}/*" -type d -empty -exec touch {}/${EMPTY_FILE} \;
    #echo "done.";
    ## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
        return 0;
    declare -a GIT_EXCLUDE;
    function load_exclude () {
        ITEMS=0; while read LINE; do
    #      echo -e "Line [${ITEMS}]: '${LINE%%\ *}'";
          GIT_EXCLUDE[((ITEMS++))]=${LINE%%\ *};
        done < ${SRC_PATH}/.gitattributes;
    ## Purging variable(s):
        unset SRC_PATH ITEMS;
        return 0;
    function purge_empty () {
    ## Processing path (Source/Target-dir):
    echo -e "\nPurging Git-Specific component(s): ... ";
        find ${SRC_PATH} -type f -name ${EMPTY_FILE} -exec /bin/rm '{}' \;
        for xRULE in ${GIT_EXCLUDE[@]}; do
    echo -en "    '${TRG_PATH}/{${xRULE}}' files ... ";
          find ${TRG_PATH} -type f -name "${xRULE}" -exec /bin/rm -rf '{}' \;
    echo "done.'";
    echo -e "done.\n"
    ## Purging SRC/TRG_PATHs variable(s):
        unset SRC_PATH; unset TRG_PATH;
        return 0;
    function git-export () {
        TRG_DIR="${1}"; SRC_DIR="${2}";
        if [ -z "${SRC_DIR}" ]; then SRC_DIR="${PWD}"; fi
        load_exclude "${SRC_DIR}";
    ## Dynamically added '.empty' files to the Git-Structure:
        create_empty "${SRC_DIR}";
        GIT_COMMIT="Including '${EMPTY_FILE}' files into Git-Index container."; #echo -e "\n${GIT_COMMIT}";
        git add .; git commit --quiet --all --verbose --message "${GIT_COMMIT}";
        if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then echo " done."; fi
        /bin/rm -rf ${TRG_DIR} && mkdir -p "${TRG_DIR}";
    echo -en "\nChecking-Out Index component(s): ... ";
        git checkout-index --prefix=${TRG_DIR}/ -q -f -a
    ## Reset: --mixed = reset HEAD and index:
        if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then
    echo "done."; echo -en "Resetting HEAD and Index: ... ";
            git reset --soft HEAD^;
            if [ "${?}" -eq 0 ]; then
    echo "done.";
    ## Purging Git-specific components and '.empty' files from Target-Dir:
                purge_empty "${SRC_DIR}" "${TRG_DIR}"
              else echo "failed.";
    ## Archiving exported-content:
    echo -en "Archiving Checked-Out component(s): ... ";
            if [ -f "${TRG_DIR}.tgz" ]; then /bin/rm ${TRG_DIR}.tgz; fi
            cd ${TRG_DIR} && tar -czf ${TRG_DIR}.tgz ./; cd ${SRC_DIR}
    echo "done.";
    ## Listing *.tgz file attributes:
    ## Warning: Un-TAR this file to a specific directory:
            ls -al ${TRG_DIR}.tgz
          else echo "failed.";
    ## Purgin all references to Un-Staged File(s):
       git reset HEAD;
    ## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
        unset SRC_DIR; unset TRG_DIR;
        echo "";
        return 0;


    $ git-export /tmp/rel-1.0.0

    Adding ‘.empty’ files to empty folder(s): … done.

    Checking-Out Index component(s): … done.

    Resetting HEAD and Index: … done.

    Purging Git-Specific component(s): …

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.buildpath}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.project}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.gitignore}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.git}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.gitattributes}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.mno}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*~}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.*~}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.swp}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{*.swo}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.DS_Store}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.settings}’ files … done.’

    ‘/tmp/rel-1.0.0/{.empty}’ files … done.’


    Archiving Checked-Out component(s): … done.

    -rw-r–r– 1 admin wheel 25445901 3 Nov 12:57 /tmp/rel-1.0.0.tgz

    I have now incorporated the ‘git archive’ functionality into a single process that makes use of ‘create_empty’ function and other features.

    function git-archive () {
        PREFIX="${1}"; ## sudo mkdir -p ${PREFIX}
        REPO_PATH="`echo "${2}"|awk -F: '{print $1}'`";
        RELEASE="`echo "${2}"|awk -F: '{print $2}'`";
    ## Dynamically added '.empty' files to the Git-Structure:
        cd "${REPO_PATH}"; populate_empty .; echo -en "\n";
    #    git archive --prefix=git-1.4.0/ -o git-1.4.0.tar.gz v1.4.0
    # e.g.: git-archive /var/www/htdocs /repos/ --explode
        git archive --verbose --prefix=${PREFIX}/ -o ${OUTPUT_FILE} ${RELEASE}
        cd "${USER_PATH}";
        if [[ "${3}" =~ [--explode] ]]; then
          if [ -d "./${RELEASE}" ]; then /bin/rm -rf "./${RELEASE}"; fi
          mkdir -p ./${RELEASE}; tar -xzf "${OUTPUT_FILE}" -C ./${RELEASE}
    ## Purging SRC/TRG_DIRs variable(s):
        return 0;

    If you want something that works with submodules this might be worth a go.


    • MASTER_DIR = a checkout with your submodules checked out also
    • DEST_DIR = where this export will end up
    • If you have rsync, I think you’d be able to do the same thing with even less ball ache.


    • You need to run this from the parent directory of MASTER_DIR ( i.e from MASTER_DIR cd .. )
    • DEST_DIR is assumed to have been created. This is pretty easy to modify to include the creation of a DEST_DIR if you wanted to

    cd MASTER_DIR && tar -zcvf ../DEST_DIR/export.tar.gz –exclude=’.git*’
    . && cd ../DEST_DIR/ && tar xvfz export.tar.gz && rm export.tar.gz

    This will copy the files in a range of commits (C to G) to a tar file. Note: this will only get the files commited. Not the entire repository. Slightly modified from Here

    Example Commit History

    A –> B –> C –> D –> E –> F –> G –> H –> I

    git diff-tree -r --no-commit-id --name-only --diff-filter=ACMRT C~..G | xargs tar -rf myTarFile.tar

    git-diff-tree Manual Page

    -r –> recurse into sub-trees

    –no-commit-id –> git diff-tree outputs a line with the commit ID when applicable. This flag suppressed the commit ID output.

    –name-only –> Show only names of changed files.

    –diff-filter=ACMRT –> Select only these files. See here for full list of files

    C..G –> Files in this range of commits

    C~ –> Include files from Commit C. Not just files since Commit C.

    | xargs tar -rf myTarFile –> outputs to tar

    My preference would actually be to have a dist target in your Makefile (or other build system) that exports a distributable archive of your code (.tar.bz2, .zip, .jar, or whatever is appropriate). If you happen to be using GNU autotools or Perl’s MakeMaker systems, I think this exists for you automatically. If not, I highly recommend adding it.

    ETA (2012-09-06): Wow, harsh downvotes. I still believe it is better to build your distributions with your build tools rather than your source code control tool. I believe in building artifacts with build tools. In my current job, our main product is built with an ant target. We are in the midst of switching source code control systems, and the presence of this ant target means one less hassle in migration.

    I needed this for a deploy script and I couldn’t use any of the above mentioned approaches. Instead I figured out a different solution:

    [ $# -eq 2 ] || echo "USAGE $0 REPOSITORY DESTINATION" && exit 1
    TMPNAME="/tmp/$(basename $REPOSITORY).$$"
    git clone $REPOSITORY $TMPNAME
    rm -rf $TMPNAME/.git
    mkdir -p $DESTINATION
    rm -rf $TMPNAME

    Doing it the easy way, this is a function for .bash_profile, it directly unzips the archive on current location, configure first your usual [url:path]. NOTE: With this function you avoid the clone operation, it gets directly from the remote repo.

    gitss() {
        if [ "$1" = "" ]; then
            echo -e "Use: gitss repo [tree/commit]\n"
        if [ "$2" = "" ]; then
        echo "Getting $1/$TREEISH..."
        git archive --format=zip --remote=$URL/$1 $TREEISH > $TMPFILE && unzip $TMPFILE && echo -e "\nDone\n"
        rm $TMPFILE

    Alias for .gitconfig, same configuration required (TAKE CARE executing the command inside .git projects, it ALWAYS jumps to the base dir previously as said here, until this is fixed I personally prefer the function

    ss = !env GIT_TMPFILE="`/bin/tempfile`" sh -c 'git archive --format=zip --remote=[url:path]/$1 $2 \ > $GIT_TMPFILE && unzip $GIT_TMPFILE && rm $GIT_TMPFILE' -

    Yes, this is a clean and neat command to archive your code without any git inclusion in the archive and is good to pass around without worrying about any git commit history.

    git archive --format zip --output /full/path/to/ master 

    I think @Aredridel’s post was closest, but there’s a bit more to that – so I will add this here; the thing is, in svn, if you’re in a subfolder of a repo, and you do:

    /media/disk/repo_svn/subdir$ svn export . /media/disk2/repo_svn_B/subdir

    then svn will export all files that are under revision control (they could have also freshly Added; or Modified status) – and if you have other “junk” in that directory (and I’m not counting .svn subfolders here, but visible stuff like .o files), it will not be exported; only those files registered by the SVN repo will be exported. For me, one nice thing is that this export also includes files with local changes that have not been committed yet; and another nice thing is that the timestamps of the exported files are the same as the original ones. Or, as svn help export puts it:

    1. Exports a clean directory tree from the working copy specified by
      PATH1, at revision REV if it is given, otherwise at WORKING, into
      PATH2. … If REV is not specified, all local
      changes will be preserved. Files not under version control will
      not be copied.

    To realize that git will not preserve the timestamps, compare the output of these commands (in a subfolder of a git repo of your choice):

    /media/disk/git_svn/subdir$ ls -la .

    … and:

    /media/disk/git_svn/subdir$ git archive --format=tar --prefix=junk/ HEAD | (tar -t -v --full-time -f -)

    … and I, in any case, notice that git archive causes all the timestamps of the archived file to be the same! git help archive says:

    git archive behaves differently when given a tree ID versus when given a commit ID or tag ID. In the first case the
    current time is used as the modification time of each file in the archive. In the latter case the commit time as recorded
    in the referenced commit object is used instead.

    … but apparently both cases set the “modification time of each file”; thereby not preserving the actual timestamps of those files!

    So, in order to also preserve the timestamps, here is a bash script, which is actually a “one-liner”, albeit somewhat complicated – so below it is posted in multiple lines:

    /media/disk/git_svn/subdir$ git archive --format=tar master | (tar tf -) | (\
      DEST="/media/diskC/tmp/subdirB"; \
      CWD="$PWD"; \
      while read line; do \
        DN=$(dirname "$line"); BN=$(basename "$line"); \
        SRD="$CWD"; TGD="$DEST"; \
        if [ "$DN" != "." ]; then \
          SRD="$SRD/$DN" ; TGD="$TGD/$DN" ; \
          if [ ! -d "$TGD" ] ; then \
            CMD="mkdir \"$TGD\"; touch -r \"$SRD\" \"$TGD\""; \
            echo "$CMD"; \
            eval "$CMD"; \
          fi; \
        fi; \
        CMD="cp -a \"$SRD/$BN\" \"$TGD/\""; \
        echo "$CMD"; \
        eval "$CMD"; \
        done \

    Note that it is assumed that you’re exporting the contents in “current” directory (above, /media/disk/git_svn/subdir) – and the destination you’re exporting into is somewhat inconveniently placed, but it is in DEST environment variable. Note that with this script; you must create the DEST directory manually yourself, before running the above script.

    After the script is ran, you should be able to compare:

    ls -la /media/disk/git_svn/subdir
    ls -la /media/diskC/tmp/subdirB   # DEST

    … and hopefully see the same timestamps (for those files that were under version control).

    Hope this helps someone,

    By far the easiest way i’ve seen to do it (and works on windows as well) is git bundle:

    git bundle create /some/bundle/path.bundle --all

    See this answer for more details: How can I copy my git repository from my windows machine to a linux machine via usb drive?

    If you need submodules as well, this should do the trick:

    i have the following utility function in my .bashrc file: it creates an archive of the current branch in a git repository.

    function garchive()
      if [[ "x$1" == "x-h" || "x$1" == "x" ]]; then
        cat <<EOF
    Usage: garchive <archive-name>
    create zip archive of the current branch into <archive-name>
        local oname=$1
        set -x
        local bname=$(git branch | grep -F "*" | sed -e 's#^*##')
        git archive --format zip --output ${oname} ${bname}
        set +x

    The option 1 sounds not too efficient. What if there is no space in the client to do a clone and then remove the .git folder?

    Today I found myself trying to do this, where the client is a Raspberry Pi with almost no space left. Furthermore, I also want to exclude some heavy folder from the repository.

    Option 2 and others answers here do not help in this scenario. Neither git archive (because require to commit a .gitattributes file, and I don’t want to save this exclusion in the repository).

    Here I share my solution, similar to option 3, but without the need of git clone:

    git ls-tree --name-only -r HEAD > $tmp
    rsync -avz --files-from=$tmp --exclude='fonts/*' . raspberry:

    Changing the rsync line for an equivalent line for compress will also work as a git archive but with a sort of exclusion option (as is asked here).

    This is my favorite solution:

    git diff <old-commit> <new-commit> --name-only | xargs tar -zcvf myTarFile.tar.gz

    This will compare two different commits and export changed files as a tar.gz file


    Git Baby is a git and github fan, let's start git clone.