How to know which branch color correlates with which branch

In SourceTree the log shows for each branch a random color. How do I know which color identifies which branch? The leftmost one is the master branch, or is it the current branch?

How to identify the other colours? Maybe I am too blind, but I just cannot find a caption table for it showing which branch relates to which color. Where can I find such thing in SourceTree?

Thank you for your help in advance!

7 answers

How do I know which color identifies which branch?

What do the colors mean?


The leftmost one is the master branch, or is it the current branch?

"master" is just a simple branch in git and nothing special (it just happens to be the default name for the initial branch when creating a new repository). "master" does not even have to exist in a repository - as I said: "master" is just a simple branch as every other branch and nothing special. (see:

Any other branch can be configured to be the default branch. Saying this, it does not make sense to have master branch displayed always leftmost.

The git log command never (at least I haven't seen it) shows the static topological relations of the current repository but rather a branch centric view, showing the commit history of the current branch (displaying the evolution of the current branch). At the moment a user has a branch checked out, this is the branch he is focused to - doing a "git log" at this moment, git takes the view of the user and offers a branch centric view with the current branch leftmost ... (Therfore the view is not static - but depends on which branch you are currently considering)

1 vote
Timothy Chin Community Champion Jun 26, 2014

The leftmost one is the master branch, or is it the current branch?

In SourceTree, the left most brach is always the head.

How to identify the other colours?

I guess it's easier to identify the branch's color by clicking once on the branch in the left bar.

I guess it's easier to identify the branch's color by clicking once on the branch in the left bar.

Do you mean where it says

|>File Status




It does not show all branches. In my repository it shows only master and FeatureBranch1. It does not show any remote branch. Even when I remove all remote branches, there are still many branches which are not shown there but in the log as distinct color.

Someone else mentioned this on another thread but I think it would be a great idea.


"It would be a nice option to allow the user to select "git flow" colors be used to color branches according to the "git flow" model, i.e. Master=blue, hotfix=orange, release=green, develop=yellow, feature=pink."

While one could argue that the there is nothing special about "master" I have configured GIT flow. The random color thing stinks.

Whether the colors are random or not - I'd like to know which branch this is that got merged or is left orphaned... How do I see the branch name from the color graph?

June of 2016, still no valid answer to such a simple question.

I have the same question. Seems like a basic bit of functionality; knowing the name of a branch.

Very puzzling, and a huge UX misstep.

The names of the branches are visible in little colored tags in the description column of the Log/History view. The color of the tag corresponds to the color of the branch line in the Graph column. Remote tracking branches have no line on their own, but commits to them get a tag of equal color. These colored name tags are next to the last commit on the given branch, so one must scroll down for branches with little activity (but OTOH the important information -- branches with recent activity -- is prominently displayed). The branches appear to be ordered by the time of the last commit, left to right from most recent to least recent.


Once you have a more complex source tree, the UI is basically useless (e.g, what the hell is the base branch here?) 

Screen Shot 2018-07-04 at 11.52.32.png

My guess is that this repo would be hard to manage with any tool. Try closing a branch once in a while ;-).

It seems to me that there are a couple of simple things that can be done to make the color display much more useful.

  • If a branch is listed in the navigation frame on the left, show the name in the same color as the corresponding graph.  (Or put a colored box next to it, which might make it more readable and less susceptible to color-blindness issues.)
  • If you click on a line in the log, make it possible to determine what branch (or branches) the colored dot for that line belongs to.  There might be a long list of branches, so you would need to do this as a pop-up. It could be a hover tag, or an item on the right-click context menu (say, "Branch info," or perhaps just "Info" -- allowing for a variety of useful information to be displayed.  In a future release, the information displayed could even be configurable.)

The first of these looks like it should be fairly easy to implement.  The second would be a bit more work, but it would be of more general use.  

Does this sound reasonable?

0 votes

I would love to have the branch graph organized, so the master branch (or whatever is the main one) is in its own little swim lane in the middle, colored green; development branches in a separate swim lane on the right colored purple or red, and the server deployment branches all the way over to the left in a bright, blue color. That would make merges so incredibly visual in an Edward Tuftian kind of way: When John merges his feature X over from the development branch to the master, you see how it crosses the lanes into the green master branch; and a little while later it's pushed to the production server with a bright blue line.

But I would settle for an option where I can click on a branch and select "Set branch color".

I find the current scheme where each branch is assigned a random color based on what got updated last is rather pointless. Colors are supposed to convey something, and today's layout is a missed opportunity.

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