How do I make git use the editor of my choice for commits?

I would prefer to write my commit messages in Vim, but git is opening them in Emacs.

How do I configure git to always use Vim? Note that I want to do this globally, not just for a single project.


If you want to set the editor only for Git, do either (you don’t need both):

  • Set core.editor in your Git config: git config --global core.editor "vim"


  • Set the GIT_EDITOR environment variable: export GIT_EDITOR=vim

If you want to set the editor for Git and also other 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.

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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