How to add a changed file to an older (not last) commit in Git

Question

I have changed several things over the last hour and committed them step by step, but I just realized I've forgot to add a changed file some commits ago.

The Log looks like this:

GIT TidyUpRequests u:1 d:0> git log 
commit fc6734b6351f6c36a587dba6dbd9d5efa30c09ce 
Author: David Klein <> 
Date:   Tue Apr 27 09:43:55 2010 +0200
The Main program now tests both Webservices at once

commit 8a2c6014c2b035e37aebd310a6393a1ecb39f463 Author: David Klein <> Date: Tue Apr 27 09:43:27 2010 +0200

ISBNDBQueryHandler now uses the XPath functions from XPath.fs too

commit 06a504e277fd98d97eed4dad22dfa5933d81451f Author: David Klein <> Date: Tue Apr 27 09:30:34 2010 +0200

AmazonQueryHandler now uses the XPath Helper functions defined in XPath.fs

commit a0865e28be35a3011d0b6091819ec32922dd2dd8 <— changed file should go here Author: David Klein <> Date: Tue Apr 27 09:29:53 2010 +0200

Factored out some common XPath Operations

Any ideas?

Answer

Use git rebase. Specifically:

  1. Use git stash to store the changes you want to add.
  2. Use git rebase -i HEAD~10 (or however many commits back you want to see).
  3. Mark the commit in question (a0865...) for edit by changing the word pick at the start of the line into edit. Don't delete the other lines as that would delete the commits.[^vimnote]
  4. Save the rebase file, and git will drop back to the shell and wait for you to fix that commit.
  5. Pop the stash by using git stash pop.
  6. Add your file with git add <file>.
  7. Amend the commit with git commit --amend --no-edit.
  8. Do a git rebase --continue which will rewrite the rest of your commits against the new one.
  9. Repeat from step 2 onwards if you have marked more than one commit for edit.
  10. If you have previously pushed the modified commits anywhere else, then you will have to push --force again to update them on the remote. However, the usual warnings about using --force apply, and you can easily lose other people's work if you are not careful and coordinate with them beforehand.

[^vimnote]: If you are using vim then you will have to hit the Insert key to edit, then Esc and type in :wq to save the file, quit the editor, and apply the changes. Alternatively, you can configure a user-friendly git commit editor with git config --global core.editor "nano".

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