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How can I do git add with patch mode but ignoring whitespace changes.

The use case is for when you've reformatted a file and also made changes to it. I want to commit the real code changes separately first (as shown by git diff -w path) and then commit the reformatting as a separate commit.

Best Answer:

Here's an adaptation from a related question.

git diff -w --no-color | git apply --cached --ignore-whitespace

It has the benefit that you don't need to use stash, temporary files, or perform a reset --hard on your working folders.


The solution above only stages changes except whitespace-only edits. This did not address patch, though using --patch to stage isn't straight forward in this situation.

Patch Option 1: Edit the diff in a text editor

There are many ways to implement this using a text editor. Vim is especially suited to this.

In the root directory of your repository, start Vim.

In normal mode, load the diff into an empty buffer with...

:r !git diff -w --no-color
:set ft=diff  # if you want syntax highlighting

Edit the diff and remove the parts you don't want to stage.

To stage the contents of the vim buffer, run the vim ex command...

:w !git apply --cached --ignore-whitespace

If you're a Vim afficionado, you could use visual mode to stage, too!

:<',>'w !git apply --cached --ignore-whitespace

You can commit the staged changes with the ex command...

:!git commit -m "message"
# or
:!git commit

Clear the buffer, read the unstaged changes, and repeat

:bd! | set ft=diff | r !git diff -w --no-color

Eventually, you'll be left with only whitespace changes to commit.

If you don't use Vim, you could also dump git diff into a file, edit the file, save, then feed the file into git apply. Commit and repeat until done. It's a bit tedious, but functional.

Patch Option 2: Patch reset

It's backwards from git add --patch, but once you've staged non-whitespace changes with...

git diff -w --no-color | git apply --cached --ignore-whitespace can unstage chunks in patch mode with...

git reset --patch .

Keep in mind you're removing the changes that you want to keep staged. Repeat and commit as necessary until you only have whitespace changes left.

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