Mastering Git File Renames: How to Ensure They Show Up in Your Project’s History

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If you have renamed a file in your project and it’s not showing up as a change in Git, it’s likely because Git recognizes file renames based on the file’s content rather than its name. Git uses a heuristic algorithm to identify file renames, and it compares the similarity between the old file and the new file to determine if it’s a rename.

In some cases, Git might not detect a file rename correctly, especially if the changes in the file are substantial or the files have been significantly modified. If this happens, you can explicitly tell Git that a file has been renamed using the git mv command.

Here’s an example of how you can use git mv to inform Git about the file rename:

git mv old_filename new_filename

By using git mv, Git will stage the rename operation, and the next commit will reflect the file rename as a change. You can then proceed with committing the changes as you normally would:

git commit -m "Rename file"

After committing, the file rename will be recorded in Git’s history, and the change will be visible when inspecting the commit or viewing the repository’s history.

Keep in mind that if you have already renamed the file without using git mv, Git will treat it as a deletion of the old file and the addition of a new file. In this case, you may lose some of the file’s history. To maintain the file’s history during a rename, it’s best to use git mv as described above.

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