Show historical log for a branch or subset of a branch.


bzr log [FILE...]

-v, --verbose

Show files changed in each revision.

-q, --quiet

Only display errors and warnings.


Show merged revisions like –levels 0 does.


Display only the revisions that are not part of both ancestries (require -rX..Y)

-p, --show-diff

Show changes made in each revision as a patch.


Show from oldest to newest.

-n N, --levels=N

Number of levels to display - 0 for all, 1 for flat.

-l N, --limit=N

Limit the output to the first N revisions.


What names to list as authors - first, all or committer.


Show usage message and options.


Display timezone as local, original, or utc.


Show internal object ids.

-r ARG, --revision=ARG

See “help revisionspec” for details.

-m ARG, --message=ARG

Show revisions whose message matches this regular expression.

-c ARG, --change=ARG

Show just the specified revision. See also “help revisionspec”.

-h, --help

Show help message.

Log format:

Use specified log format.


Format used by GNU ChangeLog files


Log format with one line per revision


Detailed log format


Moderately short log format


log is bzr’s default tool for exploring the history of a branch. The branch to use is taken from the first parameter. If no parameters are given, the branch containing the working directory is logged. Here are some simple examples:

bzr log                       log the current branch
bzr log foo.py                log a file in its branch
bzr log http://server/branch  log a branch on a server

The filtering, ordering and information shown for each revision can be controlled as explained below. By default, all revisions are shown sorted (topologically) so that newer revisions appear before older ones and descendants always appear before ancestors. If displayed, merged revisions are shown indented under the revision in which they were merged.

Output control:

The log format controls how information about each revision is displayed. The standard log formats are called long, short and line. The default is long. See bzr help log-formats for more details on log formats.

The following options can be used to control what information is displayed:

-l N        display a maximum of N revisions
-n N        display N levels of revisions (0 for all, 1 for collapsed)
-v          display a status summary (delta) for each revision
-p          display a diff (patch) for each revision
--show-ids  display revision-ids (and file-ids), not just revnos

Note that the default number of levels to display is a function of the log format. If the -n option is not used, the standard log formats show just the top level (mainline).

Status summaries are shown using status flags like A, M, etc. To see the changes explained using words like added and modified instead, use the -vv option.

Ordering control:

To display revisions from oldest to newest, use the –forward option. In most cases, using this option will have little impact on the total time taken to produce a log, though –forward does not incrementally display revisions like –reverse does when it can.

Revision filtering:

The -r option can be used to specify what revision or range of revisions to filter against. The various forms are shown below:

-rX      display revision X
-rX..    display revision X and later
-r..Y    display up to and including revision Y
-rX..Y   display from X to Y inclusive

See bzr help revisionspec for details on how to specify X and Y. Some common examples are given below:

-r-1                show just the tip
-r-10..             show the last 10 mainline revisions
-rsubmit:..         show what's new on this branch
-rancestor:path..   show changes since the common ancestor of this
                    branch and the one at location path
-rdate:yesterday..  show changes since yesterday

When logging a range of revisions using -rX..Y, log starts at revision Y and searches back in history through the primary (“left-hand”) parents until it finds X. When logging just the top level (using -n1), an error is reported if X is not found along the way. If multi-level logging is used (-n0), X may be a nested merge revision and the log will be truncated accordingly.

Path filtering:

If parameters are given and the first one is not a branch, the log will be filtered to show only those revisions that changed the nominated files or directories.

Filenames are interpreted within their historical context. To log a deleted file, specify a revision range so that the file existed at the end or start of the range.

Historical context is also important when interpreting pathnames of renamed files/directories. Consider the following example:

  • revision 1: add tutorial.txt
  • revision 2: modify tutorial.txt
  • revision 3: rename tutorial.txt to guide.txt; add tutorial.txt

In this case:

  • bzr log guide.txt will log the file added in revision 1
  • bzr log tutorial.txt will log the new file added in revision 3
  • bzr log -r2 -p tutorial.txt will show the changes made to the original file in revision 2.
  • bzr log -r2 -p guide.txt will display an error message as there was no file called guide.txt in revision 2.

Renames are always followed by log. By design, there is no need to explicitly ask for this (and no way to stop logging a file back until it was last renamed).

Other filtering:

The –message option can be used for finding revisions that match a regular expression in a commit message.

Tips & tricks:

GUI tools and IDEs are often better at exploring history than command line tools: you may prefer qlog or viz from qbzr or bzr-gtk, the bzr-explorer shell, or the Loggerhead web interface. See the Plugin Guide <http://doc.bazaar.canonical.com/plugins/en/> and <http://wiki.bazaar.canonical.com/IDEIntegration>.

You may find it useful to add the aliases below to bazaar.conf:

tip = log -r-1
top = log -l10 --line
show = log -v -p

bzr tip will then show the latest revision while bzr top will show the last 10 mainline revisions. To see the details of a particular revision X, bzr show -rX.

If you are interested in looking deeper into a particular merge X, use bzr log -n0 -rX.

bzr log -v on a branch with lots of history is currently very slow. A fix for this issue is currently under development. With or without that fix, it is recommended that a revision range be given when using the -v option.

bzr has a generic full-text matching plugin, bzr-search, that can be used to find revisions matching user names, commit messages, etc. Among other features, this plugin can find all revisions containing a list of words but not others.

When exploring non-mainline history on large projects with deep history, the performance of log can be greatly improved by installing the historycache plugin. This plugin buffers historical information trading disk space for faster speed.

See also:

log-formats, revisionspec

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