git-p4 - Import from and submit to Perforce repositories
git p4 clone [<sync options>] [<clone options>] <p4 depot path>...
git p4 sync [<sync options>] [<p4 depot path>...]
git p4 rebase
git p4 submit [<submit options>] [<master branch name>]
This command provides a way to interact with p4 repositories using Git.
Create a new Git repository from an existing p4 repository using
git p4 clone, giving it one or more p4 depot paths. Incorporate new
commits from p4 changes with git p4 sync. The sync command is
also used to include new branches from other p4 depot paths. Submit Git
changes back to p4 using git p4 submit. The command git p4
rebase does a sync plus rebases the current branch onto the updated p4
•Clone a repository:
$ git p4 clone //depot/path/project
•Do some work in the newly created Git repository:
$ cd project
$ vi foo.h
$ git commit -a -m "edited foo.h"
•Update the Git repository with recent changes
from p4, rebasing your work on top:
Generally, git p4 clone is used to create a new Git directory from an
existing p4 repository:
•Submit your commits back to p4:
$ git p4 clone //depot/path/project
1.Creates an empty Git repository in a subdirectory
2.Imports the full contents of the head revision from
the given p4 depot path into a single commit in the Git branch
3.Creates a local branch, master from this remote
and checks it out.
To reproduce the entire p4 history in Git, use the @all
modifier on the depot path:
As development continues in the p4 repository, those changes can be included in
the Git repository using:
$ git p4 clone //depot/path/project@all
This command finds new changes in p4 and imports them as Git
P4 repositories can be added to an existing Git repository using
git p4 sync too:
$ mkdir repo-git
$ cd repo-git
$ git init
$ git p4 sync //path/in/your/perforce/depot
This imports the specified depot into
refs/remotes/p4/master in an existing Git repository. The
--branch option can be used to specify a different branch to be used
for the p4 content.
If a Git repository includes branches
refs/remotes/origin/p4, these will be fetched and consulted first
during a git p4 sync. Since importing directly from p4 is
considerably slower than pulling changes from a Git remote, this can be
useful in a multi-developer environment.
If there are multiple branches, doing git p4 sync will
automatically use the "BRANCH DETECTION" algorithm to try to
partition new changes into the right branch. This can be overridden with the
--branch option to specify just a single branch to update.
A common working pattern is to fetch the latest changes from the p4 depot and
merge them with local uncommitted changes. Often, the p4 repository is the
ultimate location for all code, thus a rebase workflow makes sense. This
command does git p4 sync followed by git rebase to move local
commits on top of updated p4 changes.
Submitting changes from a Git repository back to the p4 repository requires a
separate p4 client workspace. This should be specified using the
P4CLIENT environment variable or the Git configuration variable
git-p4.client. The p4 client must exist, but the client root will be
created and populated if it does not already exist.
To submit all changes that are in the current Git branch but not
in the p4/master branch, use:
To specify a branch other than the current one, use:
$ git p4 submit topicbranch
To specify a single commit or a range of commits, use:
$ git p4 submit --commit <sha1>
$ git p4 submit --commit <sha1..sha1>
The upstream reference is generally refs/remotes/p4/master,
but can be overridden using the --origin= command-line option.
The p4 changes will be created as the user invoking git p4
submit. The --preserve-user option will cause ownership to be
modified according to the author of the Git commit. This option requires
admin privileges in p4, which can be granted using p4 protect.
To shelve changes instead of submitting, use --shelve and
Unshelving will take a shelved P4 changelist, and produce the equivalent git
commit in the branch refs/remotes/p4-unshelved/<changelist>.
$ git p4 submit --shelve
$ git p4 submit --update-shelve 1234 --update-shelve 2345
The git commit is created relative to the current origin revision
(HEAD by default). A parent commit is created based on the origin, and then
the unshelve commit is created based on that.
The origin revision can be changed with the "--origin"
If the target branch in refs/remotes/p4-unshelved already exists,
the old one will be renamed.
All commands except clone accept these options.
$ git p4 sync
$ git p4 unshelve 12345
$ git show p4-unshelved/12345
<submit more changes via p4 to the same files>
$ git p4 unshelve 12345
<refuses to unshelve until git is in sync with p4 again>
Set the GIT_DIR
environment variable. See
Provide more progress information.
These options can be used in the initial clone as well as in subsequent
Import changes into <ref> instead of
refs/remotes/p4/master. If <ref> starts with refs/, it is used as is.
Otherwise, if it does not start with p4/, that prefix is added.
By default a <ref> not starting with refs/ is treated as the
name of a remote-tracking branch (under refs/remotes/). This behavior can be
modified using the --import-local option.
The default <ref> is "master".
This example imports a new remote "p4/proj2" into an
existing Git repository:
$ git init
$ git p4 sync --branch=refs/remotes/p4/proj2 //depot/proj2
Use the branch detection algorithm to find new paths in
p4. It is documented below in "BRANCH DETECTION".
Import exactly the p4 change numbers listed in
file, one per line. Normally, git p4 inspects the current p4
repository state and detects the changes it should import.
Do not print any progress information.
Query p4 for labels associated with the depot paths, and
add them as tags in Git. Limited usefulness as only imports labels associated
with new changelists. Deprecated.
Import labels from p4 into Git.
By default, p4 branches are stored in
, where they will be treated as remote-tracking
branches by git-branch(1)
and other commands. This option instead puts
p4 branches in refs/heads/p4/
. Note that future sync operations must
as well so that they can find the p4 branches in
Import at most n changes, rather than the entire
range of changes included in the given revision specifier. A typical usage
would be use @all as the revision specifier, but then to use
--max-changes 1000 to import only the last 1000 revisions rather than
the entire revision history.
The internal block size to use when converting a revision
specifier such as @all into a list of specific change numbers. Instead
of using a single call to p4 changes to find the full list of changes
for the conversion, there are a sequence of calls to p4 changes -m,
each of which requests one block of changes of the given size. The default
block size is 500, which should usually be suitable.
The mapping of file names from the p4 depot path to Git,
by default, involves removing the entire depot path. With this option, the
full p4 depot path is retained in Git. For example, path
//depot/main/foo/bar.c, when imported from //depot/main/,
becomes foo/bar.c. With --keep-path, the Git path is instead
Use a client spec to find the list of interesting files
in p4. See the "CLIENT SPEC" section below.
Exclude selected depot paths when cloning or
These options can be used in an initial clone, along with the sync
options described above.
Where to create the Git repository. If not provided, the
last component in the p4 depot path is used to create a new directory.
These options can be used to modify git p4 submit behavior.
Upstream location from which commits are identified to
submit to p4. By default, this is the most recent p4 commit reachable from
Detect renames. See git-diff(1)
. Renames will be
represented in p4 using explicit move
operations. There is no
corresponding option to detect copies, but there are variables for both moves
Re-author p4 changes before submitting to p4. This option
requires p4 admin privileges.
Export tags from Git as p4 labels. Tags found in Git are
applied to the perforce working directory.
Show just what commits would be submitted to p4; do not
change state in Git or p4.
Apply a commit to the p4 workspace, opening, adding and
deleting files in p4 as for a normal submit operation. Do not issue the final
"p4 submit", but instead print a message about how to submit
manually or revert. This option always stops after the first (oldest) commit.
Git tags are not exported to p4.
Instead of submitting create a series of shelved
changelists. After creating each shelve, the relevant files are
reverted/deleted. If you have multiple commits pending multiple shelves will
Update an existing shelved changelist with this commit.
Implies --shelve. Repeat for multiple shelved changelists.
Conflicts can occur when applying a commit to p4. When
this happens, the default behavior ("ask") is to prompt whether to
skip this commit and continue, or quit. This option can be used to bypass the
prompt, causing conflicting commits to be automatically skipped, or to quit
trying to apply commits, without prompting.
After submitting, sync this named branch instead of the
default p4/master. See the "Sync options" section above for more
Submit only the specified commit or range of commits,
instead of the full list of changes that are in the current Git branch.
Disable the automatic rebase after all commits have been
successfully submitted. Can also be set with git-p4.disableRebase.
Disable the automatic sync of p4/master from Perforce
after commits have been submitted. Implies --disable-rebase. Can also be set
with git-p4.disableP4Sync. Sync with origin/master still goes ahead if
The p4-pre-submit hook is executed if it exists and is executable. The
hook takes no parameters and nothing from standard input. Exiting with
non-zero status from this script prevents git-p4 submit from launching.
One usage scenario is to run unit tests in the hook.
These options can be used to modify git p4 rebase behavior.
Import p4 labels.
Sets the git refspec against which the shelved P4
changelist is compared. Defaults to p4/master.
The p4 depot path argument to git p4 sync and git p4 clone can be
one or more space-separated p4 depot paths, with an optional p4 revision
specifier on the end:
Import one commit with all files in the #head
change under that tree.
Import one commit for each change in the history of that
Import only changes 1 through 6.
Import all changes from both named depot paths into a
single repository. Only files below these directories are included. There is
not a subdirectory in Git for each "proj1" and "proj2".
You must use the --destination option when specifying more than one
depot path. The revision specifier must be specified identically on each depot
path. If there are files in the depot paths with the same name, the path with
the most recently updated version of the file is the one that appears in
See p4 help revisions for the full syntax of p4 revision
The p4 client specification is maintained with the p4 client command and
contains among other fields, a View that specifies how the depot is mapped
into the client repository. The clone and sync commands can
consult the client spec when given the --use-client-spec option or when
the useClientSpec variable is true. After git p4 clone, the
useClientSpec variable is automatically set in the repository configuration
file. This allows future git p4 submit commands to work properly; the
submit command looks only at the variable and does not have a command-line
The full syntax for a p4 view is documented in p4 help
views. git p4 knows only a subset of the view syntax. It
understands multi-line mappings, overlays with +, exclusions with
- and double-quotes around whitespace. Of the possible wildcards,
git p4 only handles ..., and only when it is at the end of the
path. git p4 will complain if it encounters an unhandled
Bugs in the implementation of overlap mappings exist. If multiple
depot paths map through overlays to the same location in the repository,
git p4 can choose the wrong one. This is hard to solve without
dedicating a client spec just for git p4.
The name of the client can be given to git p4 in multiple
ways. The variable git-p4.client takes precedence if it exists.
Otherwise, normal p4 mechanisms of determining the client are used:
environment variable P4CLIENT, a file referenced by P4CONFIG,
or the local host name.
P4 does not have the same concept of a branch as Git. Instead, p4 organizes its
content as a directory tree, where by convention different logical branches
are in different locations in the tree. The p4 branch command is used
to maintain mappings between different areas in the tree, and indicate related
content. git p4 can use these mappings to determine branch
If you have a repository where all the branches of interest exist
as subdirectories of a single depot path, you can use
--detect-branches when cloning or syncing to have git p4
automatically find subdirectories in p4, and to generate these as branches
For example, if the P4 repository structure is:
And "p4 branch -o branch1" shows a View line that looks
Then this git p4 clone command:
git p4 clone --detect-branches //depot@all
produces a separate branch in refs/remotes/p4/ for
//depot/main, called master, and one for //depot/branch1 called
However, it is not necessary to create branches in p4 to be able
to use them like branches. Because it is difficult to infer branch
relationships automatically, a Git configuration setting
git-p4.branchList can be used to explicitly identify branch
relationships. It is a list of "source:destination" pairs, like a
simple p4 branch specification, where the "source" and
"destination" are the path elements in the p4 repository. The
example above relied on the presence of the p4 branch. Without p4 branches,
the same result will occur with:
The fast-import mechanism used by git p4 creates one pack file for each
invocation of git p4 sync. Normally, Git garbage compression
(git-gc(1)) automatically compresses these to fewer pack files, but
explicit invocation of git repack -adf may improve performance.
The following config settings can be used to modify git p4 behavior. They
all are in the git-p4 section.
git init depot
git config git-p4.branchList main:branch1
git p4 clone --detect-branches //depot@all .
User specified as an option to all p4 commands, with
-u <user>. The environment variable P4USER can be used
Password specified as an option to all p4 commands, with
-P <password>. The environment variable P4PASS can be used
Port specified as an option to all p4 commands, with
-p <port>. The environment variable P4PORT can be used
Host specified as an option to all p4 commands, with
-h <host>. The environment variable P4HOST can be used
Client specified as an option to all p4 commands, with
-c <client>, including the client spec.
Specifies the number of times to retry a p4 command
(notably, p4 sync) if the network times out. The default value is 3.
Set the value to 0 to disable retries or if your p4 version does not support
retries (pre 2012.2).
Because importing commits from other Git repositories is
much faster than importing them from p4, a mechanism exists to find p4 changes
first in Git remotes. If branches exist under refs/remote/origin/p4,
those will be fetched and used when syncing from p4. This variable can be set
to false to disable this behavior.
One phase in branch detection involves looking at p4
branches to find new ones to import. By default, all branches are inspected.
This option limits the search to just those owned by the single user named in
List of branches to be imported when branch detection is
enabled. Each entry should be a pair of branch names separated by a colon (:).
This example declares that both branchA and branchB were created from main:
git config git-p4.branchList main:branchA
git config --add git-p4.branchList main:branchB
List of p4 labels to ignore. This is built automatically
as unimportable labels are discovered.
Import p4 labels into git, as per --import-labels.
Only p4 labels matching this regular expression will be
imported. The default value is [a-zA-Z0-9_\-.]+$.
Specify that the p4 client spec should be used to
identify p4 depot paths of interest. This is equivalent to specifying the
option --use-client-spec. See the "CLIENT SPEC" section
above. This variable is a boolean, not the name of a p4 client.
Perforce keeps the encoding of a path as given by the
originating OS. Git expects paths encoded as UTF-8. Use this config to tell
git-p4 what encoding Perforce had used for the paths. This encoding is used to
transcode the paths to UTF-8. As an example, Perforce on Windows often uses
"cp1252" to encode path names.
Specify the system that is used for large (binary) files.
Please note that large file systems do not support the git p4 submit
command. Only Git LFS is implemented right now (see
for more information). Download and install
the Git LFS command line extension to use this option and configure it like
git config git-p4.largeFileSystem GitLFS
All files matching a file extension in the list will be
processed by the large file system. Do not prefix the extensions with
All files with an uncompressed size exceeding the
threshold will be processed by the large file system. By default the threshold
is defined in bytes. Add the suffix k, m, or g to change the unit.
All files with a compressed size exceeding the threshold
will be processed by the large file system. This option might slow down your
clone/sync process. By default the threshold is defined in bytes. Add the
suffix k, m, or g to change the unit.
Boolean variable which defines if large files are
automatically pushed to a server.
A changelist that contains only excluded files will be
imported as an empty commit if this boolean option is set to true.
Map a P4 user to a name and email address in Git. Use a
string with the following format to create a mapping:
git config --add git-p4.mapUser "p4user = First Last <email@example.com>"
A mapping will override any user information from P4. Mappings for
multiple P4 user can be defined.
Detect renames. See git-diff(1)
. This can be true,
false, or a score as expected by git diff -M
Detect copies. See git-diff(1)
. This can be true,
false, or a score as expected by git diff -C
On submit, re-author changes to reflect the Git author,
regardless of who invokes git p4 submit.
When preserveUser is true, git p4 normally
dies if it cannot find an author in the p4 user map. This setting submits the
The submit process invokes the editor before each p4
change is submitted. If this setting is true, though, the editing step is
After editing the p4 change message, git p4 makes
sure that the description really was changed by looking at the file
modification time. This option disables that test.
By default, any branch can be used as the source for a
git p4 submit operation. This configuration variable, if set, permits
only the named branches to be used as submit sources. Branch names must be the
short names (no "refs/heads/"), and should be separated by commas
(","), with no spaces.
If the user running git p4 submit does not exist
in the p4 user map, git p4 exits. This option can be used to force
If enabled, git p4 submit will attempt to cleanup
RCS keywords ($Header$, etc). These would otherwise cause merge conflicts and
prevent the submit going ahead. This option should be considered experimental
Export Git tags to p4 labels, as per
Only p4 labels matching this regular expression will be
exported. The default value is [a-zA-Z0-9_\-.]+$.
Specify submit behavior when a conflict with p4 is found,
as per --conflict. The default behavior is ask.
Do not rebase the tree against p4/master following a
Do not sync p4/master with Perforce following a submit.
•Changesets from p4 are imported using Git
•Cloning or syncing does not require a p4 client;
file contents are collected using p4 print.
•Submitting requires a p4 client, which is not in
the same location as the Git repository. Patches are applied, one at a time,
to this p4 client and submitted from there.
•Each commit imported by git p4 has a line
at the end of the log message indicating the p4 depot location and change
number. This line is used by later git p4 sync operations to know which
p4 changes are new.