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Checkout the previous git branch

Today I needed to checkout a branch, pull the latest, then checkout dev, pull the latest, and merge dev into my branch.

This flow is pretty typical of my work, but I wondered: is there an easier way to go back to the previous branch in git?

Turns out there is, and StackOverflow came to the rescue:

git checkout -

This command will checkout the most recent branch. For more of an explanation, read the full response on StackOverflow.

To complete the steps above, I could run the following commands:

git checkout feature/branch-with-a-long-name
git pull
git checkout dev
git pull
git checkout -
git merge dev

If I can remember that command, it will be more efficient that going back through my command history. Hope that helps you too!

Happy version controlling!



About the author

Sean McPherson is a software engineer for Khan Academy who specializes in web and mobile app development. He lives with his wife, sons, and dog in Pittsburgh, PA.