GitKraken Desktop Documentation

Contact support  
GitKraken Status  

Interface Basics

GitKraken Desktop’s UI helps make sense of Git. Below we cover the layout and what the icons represent.

From left to right, GitKraken Desktop displays a left reference panel, center graph, and the Commit Panel when working with a repository.


In addition to Undo and Redo, the main toolbar houses common repo actions.


Many actions performed in GitKraken Desktop can be undone. If an action is undoable, the Undo button will be a solid color ready for action.


What if you undid something, only to realize that you didn’t want to undo it? GitKraken Desktop also has a Redo button so you can undo your undos.


Pull changes from your remote repos with this button. See the button next to the icon? Click that to customize the type of pull you want to perform:

  • Fetch All
  • Pull (fast-forward if possible)
  • Pull (fast-forward only): equivalent of git fetch git merge --ff-only in the CLI
  • Pull (rebase): equivalent of git fetch git rebase in the CLI

Tip: If you find yourself repeatedly performing the same pull actions, set the default pull type by clicking the icon to the pull type’s left. The default selection will appear as a icon.


Push changes to the remote repo as set in your upstream.


Create a branch on your current local repo.


Stash your work-in-process (// WIP) changes.

Pop Stash

Ready to restore your // WIP? Pop that stash and carry on as you were.


Have large files in your repo? This button will appear when you have LFS enabled on the repository.

Note: Toggle the toolbar labels by navigating to Preferences > UI Preferences and toggling the Show toolbar icon labels checkbox.

Left reference panel

Referred to as the left “ref” panel, GitKraken Desktop shows the properties below specific to your repository.

  • The panel and each section can be collapsed or expanded as needed.
  • The panel and each section can be resized by clicking and dragging.
  • Sections can be toggled by right-clicking a section and selecting the desired section from the context menu.
  • Sections can be maximized by double-clicking a section header.


References to local branches — pointers to specific commits allowing work to be separated.

If you need help with branches, visit our Branching and Merging page.


References to remote branches.

Set sail into pushing and pulling remotes for more.

Pull Requests

This shows active requests for merging one branch into another. With the GitHub or Bitbucket integration, new PRs can be created directly from GitKraken Desktop.

Create your Pull Request to get your contribution merged.


Lets you see and work with your issues in GitKraken Desktop

Hook up to your remote issue tracker of choice – such as Jira, GitHub, GitLab, or Trello.


Easily see what your Team members are working on.


These represent active pointers to commits but never move. Tag, you’re it!


Stored file changes in the working copy.

For saving your loot to play with later, here’s more on stashes.


A Git repository in a subdirectory of the current repository.

Git-inception with submodules anyone?

Commit Panel

The Commit Panel is where files and changes from your working directory are staged and committed.

The three parts in order of operations on the staging panel are:

  1. Unstaged Files — Watched files in your working directory that have changed since the last commit.
    • Renamed, deleted, new, or modified files appear here.
  2. Staged Files — Files manually added to the index that are ready to commit.
    • Individual lines, hunks, or all of the changes can be added
  3. Commit Message — recording staged changes to the repository

    • Summary: The brief but meaningful message supporting your commit. This text will appear in the graph.
    • Description: The extended message to provide more details behind the changes.

    Also, here is a quick color guide for the file symbols:

This panel can also be fixed on the bottom of the client. Just click the icon in the upper right corner of the Commit Panel.

For deeper waters on staging, dive into committing work.

The Graph

Oooo colors!

The graph in GitKraken Desktop is the core of your repo and a representation of the Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG). Your commits are displayed here, along with commits from other contributors.

Each row of the graph represents one commit, and the top is always for the latest changes. An interactive //WIP (Work-In-Progress) node will show if the working directory has changed since the last commit.

Branches and tag labels on the left side of the graph are pointers to specific commits, and each vertical column represents a branch currently available on the repository.

Columns can intersect through merge commits as shown in the graph legend. As also shown, multiple branches can be at the same place of a single commit and can be both local and remote.

For a given vertical track, you can read from bottom to top, and right to left to see how changes are introduced into a focused branch.


Quickly switch between multiple repositories.

You can add new tabs, drag & drop to rearrange, and remove tabs from the top bar. You can also use the corresponding shortcut keys cmd+1-9 on Windows/Linux and cmd+1-9 on mac to quickly switch between repositories.

Tip: You can open a new tab with the + icon (shortcut: cmd/ctrl+T) and you can close a tab with middle-click (shortcut: cmd/ctrl+W)

Tabs are saved for each profile, so you can have multiple sets of tabs that will open when you switch profiles!

Access a list of all open repositories from the arrow drop-down.

Hover over an open tab to quickly see the end portion of the file path.

Tab alias and name

An alias can be set for repository tabs. To give an alias to a repository tab, right-click the tab and select Alias reposiotry. After filling out the name, select save.

A name can be set for terminal tabs. To give a name to a terminal tab, right-click the tab and select Rename Tab. After filling out the name, select save.


GitKraken Desktop will show 3 columns in the header by default: Branch/Tag, Graph, and Commit Message. These 3 columns are static and cannot be rearranged or removed.

Optionally users may right-click to add Commit Author, Commit Date/Time, or Sha.

Users may also left-click the icon to enable or disable Commit Author, Commit Date/Time, or Sha (commit ID).

In addition to using cmd/ctrl+F to search commits, users may also filter by commit author. Click the icon in the AUTHOR column and you can:

  • Select one or more users from the drop-down
  • Select one or more teams which will filter by all users in that team
  • Search for teams or users in the search field

Columns may also be toggled from Preferences > UI Customization, GitKraken Desktop will remember which columns you have selected, column size, and orientation for each repo.

For more details on the interface, like soloing remotes, visit Hiding and Soloing.

Have feedback about this article? Did we miss something? Let us know!
On this page