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How to copy a folder from a different git branch


Imagine you are working with a git workflow where you want to map each branch that should eventually be merged into the main branch, but you map each branch to a given Jira Issue or others, but you have a process for merging that is convoluted and slow.

You want to keep your work repeating yourself and reuse the work you have done but its still stuck in a to-be approved branch, just to tweak for instance some variables or others to switch environments, regions etc in a Infrastructure as Code world this is very common.

How to copy a folder from a different git branch on the same repo

Using git restore

git restore

This is how you can do it

git restore --source my-stale-branch the-folder-i-need/

The you can use mv as git restore doesn’t have an option to specify the folder to where you would paste it.

You could then create a small script to just paste it to the correct folder

git restore --source my-stale-branch the-folder-i-need/some-nested-folder/ && mkdir -p the-folder-i-need/

This option doesn’t automatically stages the changes. It just copies the content over, so its a better option than using alternative option such as git checkout, which automatically stages changes.

If you need to have changes staged, you can also make use of

-S, --staged          restore the index

And in case you need the worktree

-W, --worktree        restore the working tree (default)


This is a simple solution to restoring a folder from a given branch to your current working branch to allow parallelizing similar work when you have a git workflow that stays longer in the merge into main branch phase due to either long CI pipelines, waiting on peer feedback with several approver etc..

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.