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Bookmarks Extension

This extension was distributed with Mercurial versions prior to 1.8. Current version: Bookmarks.

{i} Since version 1.8 (d4ab9486e514) the bookmark command is part of core. The behaviour of the core bookmarks is different from the original Bookmarks Extension. For example the track.current option was removed and the behavior of track.current=True is now the default behavior of bookmarks. For more details please check the Bookmarks wiki page.Author: DavidSoria

Additional information, also for people coming from Git: bookmarks extension explained.


Bookmarks are references to commits that are automatically updated when new commits are made. If you do hg bookmark feature the feature bookmark refers to the current changeset. As you work and commit changes the bookmark will move forward with every commit you do. The bookmark will always point to the latest revision in your line of work. Since bookmarks are automatically updated when committing to the changeset they are pointing to, they are especially useful to keep track of different heads. They can therefore be used for trying out new features or pulling changes that have yet to be reviewed. Bookmarks can be used to access the commit whenever a usual lookup is allowed (wherever a command takes -r revision, revision can be a bookmark name), therefore you can merge and update bookmarks by their names.

If the new features don't work out, development can be re-started from an old changeset. Note however that while bookmarks can be deleted using hg book -d feature, but this merely removes the bookmark feature, not the changes it points to. The unwanted changes will remain in the repository. The bookmarked head can be stripped (using hg strip, supplied with the mq extension).

Bookmarks are stored in a file called .hg/bookmarks. They are not part of committed changes, which means that prior to Mercurial 1.6 they are local to their repository, with no builtin way to share them between repositories. You can use rsync or scp to copy the .hg/bookmarks file to a remote repository, or you can use hg id -r <bookmark> <repourl> to get the id of a bookmark and track it manually (though this is tedious). From Mercurial 1.6 and on bookmarks can be shared between repositories as described below under "working with remote repositories".


Configure your .hgrc to enable the extension by adding following lines:

bookmarks =

By default, when several bookmarks point to the same changeset, they will all move forward together. It is possible to obtain a more Git-like experience by adding the following configuration option to your .hgrc

track.current = True

This will cause Mercurial to only track and update the currently active bookmark. This is similar to Git's approach to branching.


Let’s give you a short example how bookmarks work.

Start with an existing Mercurial repository. For the example we will use the main repository for. Let’s start with a basic listing of available bookmarks:

 $ hg bookmarks
 no bookmarks set

Create a bookmark on the current tip of the repository. This isn't a bookmark we're going to work on, instead it's meant to reference where tip was on the server-side repository when we started, a baseline for our work. Notice how the current bookmark is preceded by "*".

 $ hg bookmark my-tip
 $ hg bookmarks
   * my-tip                    7348:1a5c9ca2bfd5

Create a bookmark on another revision in the history. This is a bookmark we'll actually do work on. Note that creating a new bookmark does not create a new head.

 $ hg bookmark -r 7300 hgweb-fix
 $ hg bookmarks
   * my-tip                  7348:1a5c9ca2bfd5
     hgweb-fix               7300:591767e6ea7a
 $ hg heads -q

We can then update to the bookmark we want to work on.

 $ hg update hgweb-fix
 82 files updated, 0 files merged, 31 files removed, 0 files unresolved
 $ hg bookmarks
      my-tip                  7348:1a5c9ca2bfd5
   *  hgweb-fix               7300:591767e6ea7a

If we commit at this point in the graph we'll create a new head. Note how the bookmark follows along, continuing to point to our working head.

 $ hg commit -m ’Another hgweb bugfix’
 $ hg bookmarks
      my-tip                  7348:1a5c9ca2bfd5
   *  hgweb-fix               7349:ca3fbad32554
 $ hg heads -q

If we go back to the bookmarked tip we can merge our change into it. Note that the merge doesn't get rid of either bookmark. Note also how only my-tip has moved forward with the merge changeset. hgweb-fix continues to point to the last work done while on that bookmark. This is because we've set track.current in our .hgrc.

 $ hg update -C my-tip
 $ hg merge hgweb-fix
 $ hg commit -m ’Merge hgweb-fix’
 $ hg bookmarks
   *  my-tip                  7350:4d3b1ced5c40
      hgweb-fix               7349:ca3fbad32554
 $ hg heads -q

If we decide we want to continue working on our feature from the new tip, we can move the feature bookmark directly to match the tip. Note the need to use -f to force an existing bookmark to move.

 $ hg book -f hgweb-fix
 $ hg bookmarks
      my-tip                  7350:4d3b1ced5c40
   *  hgweb-fix               7350:4d3b1ced5c40

If we're done we can just delete our working bookmark. Note that this doesn't delete the changeset. This doesn't matter much if this is a line of work that gets merged (i.e. we decide to keep it), but it doesn't do everything we want for a branch we decide to discard.

 $ hg bookmark -d hgweb-fix
 $ hg bookmarks
   * my-tip                  7350:3acda44343da

To actually delete the changeset as well requires the mq extension.

 $ hg tag -r hgweb-fix hgweb-fix-tag
 $ hg bookmark -d hgweb-fix
 $ hg strip hgweb-fix-tag

You can use bookmarks in every rev lookup. This means you can also do hg log -prf my-tip:0 or hg qimport -r my-tip. It is even possible to look them up using hg id -r.

Working With Remote Repositories

Bookmarks in remote repositories are "visible" as identifier for pull, for instance with hg pull -r web-fix.

Starting with Mercurial 1.6, bookmarks can also be pushed and pulled between repositories. This naturally requires the bookmark extension to be enabled on both sides.

By default bookmarks that are already present on both the client and server are updated on the client on pull and updated on the server on push.

To start sharing a bookmark present on a server, use hg pull -B bookmark and the bookmark along with the relevant changesets will be pulled to the client.

To publish a local bookmark to a server, use hg push -B bookmark and the bookmark along with the relevant changesets will be pushed to the server. To delete a bookmark from a server, delete it locally first, then use push -B on the deleted name.

To check which bookmarks exist on the remote repository but not locally use hg incoming -B. Use hg outgoing -B to check which bookmarks exists locally but not yet on the remote repository.

/!\ Be aware that there is only one namespace for bookmarks - it is advised to prefix your local-only bookmarks to avoid conflicts with other users.


BookmarksExtension (last edited 2015-09-10 15:50:19 by mpm)