Frequently asked questions around Git and Version Control.
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How to Checkout Tags in Git

In Git, tags are used to mark specific commits, e.g. release versions. This is also the big difference between tags and branches: while a branch pointer moves when additional commits are made, a tag remains fixed on the specified revision.

In this short article, we'll now take a look at how to checkout a tag in Git.

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Using git checkout with Tags

The well-known git checkout command is mainly used for handling branches, but it can also be used for tags:

$ git checkout v2.0

By providing the tag's name as a parameter, Git will checkout that tag's revision.

However, this might not be what you actually wanted, because your local repository is now in a "Detached HEAD" state! This means that the HEAD pointer is currently NOT on a branch, but on a specific revision. If you create additional commits in this state, they will not be associated with any branch (because no branch is currently checked out)! In such a scenario, it's very easy to lose your new commits!

It's much more likely that would like to create a new branch, based on the tag's commit. You can simply add the -b flag and provide a name for the new branch:

$ git checkout -b new-branch v2.0

You will then have a brand new branch named "new-branch" that's based on the revision that the "v2.0" tag points at.


Checking Out Tags in Tower

In case you are using the Tower Git client, you can simply drag & drop the tag in Tower's sidebar to create a new branch from it and check it out:

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