How do I make git use the editor of my choice for editing commit messages?

Setting the default editor for Git

Pick one:

  • Set core.editor in your Git config:

    git config --global core.editor "vim"
  • Set the GIT_EDITOR environment variable:

    export GIT_EDITOR=vim

Setting the default editor for all programs

Set the standardized VISUAL and EDITOR environment variables*:

export VISUAL=vim

NOTE: Setting both is not necessarily needed, but some programs may not use the more-correct VISUAL. See VISUAL vs. EDITOR.

Fixing compatibility issues

Some editors require a --wait flag, or they will open a blank page. For example:

  • Sublime Text (if correctly set up; or use the full path to the executable in place of subl):

    export VISUAL="subl --wait"
  • VS Code (after adding the shell command):

    export VISUAL="code --wait"

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