GPL Distributed Version Control Software

Specifying revision in Bazaar

Description of the subarguments for -r as used by commands such as bzr log and bzr merge.

You can get the online documentation with bzr help revisionspec.

Revision specs and ranges

bzr has a very expressive way to specify a revision, or a range of revisions. We'll take the example of the log command.

To specify a range of revisions, use for example:

$ bzr log -r 1..4

You can omit one bound like:

$ bzr log -r 1..
$ bzr log -r ..4
Omitting the lower bound doesn't work on currently released versions.

Other commands, like bzr cat take only one revision, not a range, like:

$ bzr cat -r 42 foo.c

Available revision specs

The revision, or the bounds of the range, can be one of

argument type description
number revision number
revno:number positive revision number
last:number negative revision number
revid:guid globally unique revision id
before:rev leftmost parent of ''rev''
date:value first entry after a given date
ancestor:path last merged revision from a branch
branch:path latest revision on another branch


Positive numbers denote revision numbers in the current branch. Revision numbers are labelled as "revno" in the output of bzr log. To display the log for the first ten revisions:

$ bzr log -r ..10

Negative numbers count from the latest revision, -1 is the last committed revision.

To display the log for the last ten revisions:

$ bzr log -r -10..

revno, last

The same as number, except that negative numbers are not allowed.
The same as -''number''. last:1 means the last commited revision.


revid allows specifying a an internal revision ID, as show by bzr testament and some other commands.

For example:

$ bzr log -r


''rev'' specifies the leftmost parent of ''rev'', that is the revision that appears before ''rev'' in the revision history, or the revision that was current when ''rev'' what comitted.

''rev'' can be any revision specifier.

For example:

$ bzr log -r before:before:4
revno: 2


''value'' matches the first history entry after a given date, either at midnight or at a specified time.

Legal values are:

  • yesterday
  • today
  • tomorrow
  • A YYYY-MM-DD format date.
  • A YYYY-MM-DD,HH:MM:SS format date/time, seconds are optional (note the comma)

The proper way of saying "give me all the log entries for today" is:

$ bzr log -r


specifies the common ancestor between the current branch,and a different branch. This is the same ancestor that would be used for merging purposes.

path may be the URL of a remote branch, or the file path to a local branch.

For example, to see what changes were made on a branch since it was forked off ../parent:

$ bzr diff -r ancestor:../parent


''path'' specifies the latest revision in another branch.

''path'' may be the URL of a remote branch, or the file path to a local branch.

For example, to get the differences between this and another branch:

$ bzr diff -r branch: