How do I make git use the editor of my choice for commits? – Dev

The best answers to the question “How do I make git use the editor of my choice for commits?” in the category Dev.
[*]QUESTION:[*]

I would prefer to write my commit messages in Vim, but git is opening them in Emacs.

How do I configure git to always use Vim? Note that I want to do this globally, not just for a single project.

[*]ANSWER:[*]

Copy paste this:

git config --global core.editor "vim"

In case you’d like to know what you’re doing. From man git-commit:

ENVIRONMENT AND CONFIGURATION VARIABLES

The editor used to edit the commit log message will be chosen from the GIT_EDITOR environment variable, the core.editor configuration variable, the VISUAL environment variable, or the EDITOR environment variable (in that order).

[*]ANSWER:[*]

If you want to set the editor only for Git, do either (you don’t need both):

  • Set core.editor in your Git config: git config --global core.editor "vim"

OR

  • Set the GIT_EDITOR environment variable: export GIT_EDITOR=vim

If you want to set the editor for Git and also other programs, set the standardized VISUAL and EDITOR environment variables*:

export VISUAL=vim
export EDITOR="$VISUAL"

NOTE: Setting both is not necessarily needed, but some programs may not use the more-correct VISUAL. See VISUAL vs. EDITOR.


Some editors require a --wait flag, or they will open a blank page. For example:

  • Sublime Text (if correctly set up; or use the full path to the executable in place of subl):

    export VISUAL="subl --wait"

  • VS Code (after adding the shell command):

    export VISUAL="code --wait"

[*]ANSWER:[*]

In windows 7, while adding the “Sublime” editor it was still giving me an error:

Aborting commit due to empty commit message.

Sublime was not able to keep the focus.

To fix this I opened the .gitconfig file in c:/users/username/ folder and added the following line with –wait option outside the single quotes.

[core]
      editor="F:/Program Files/Sublime Text 2/sublime_text.exe" --wait

Hope its helpful to somebody facing similar issue with Sublime.

[*]ANSWER:[*]

On Ubuntu and also Debian (thanks @MichielB) changing the default editor is also possible by running:

sudo update-alternatives --config editor

Which will prompt the following:

There are 4 choices for the alternative editor (providing /usr/bin/editor).

  Selection    Path                Priority   Status
------------------------------------------------------------
  0            /bin/nano            40        auto mode
  1            /bin/ed             -100       manual mode
  2            /bin/nano            40        manual mode
* 3            /usr/bin/vim.basic   30        manual mode
  4            /usr/bin/vim.tiny    10        manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: