GIT commit as different user without email / or only email


I’m trying to commit some changes as a different user, but i do not have a valid email address, following command is not working for me:

git commit --author="john doe" -m "some fix"
fatal: No existing author found with 'john doe'

I have the same problem when trying to commit with only an email address

git commit --author="[email protected]" -m "some fix"
fatal: No existing author found with '[email protected]'

On the GIT man pages for the commit command it says i can use the

standard A U Thor <[email protected]> format

For the –author option.

Where is this format defined ?
what does A and U stand for ? how do i commit for a different user with only a username or only an email?



standard A U Thor <[email protected]> format

Seems to be defined as followed:
( as far as i know, with absolutely no warranty )

A U Thor = required username

  • The separation of the characters probably indicates that spaces are allowed, it could also be resembling initials.
  • The username has to be followed by 1 space, extra spaces will be truncated

<[email protected]> = optional email address

  • Must always be between < > signs.
  • The email address format isn’t validated, you can pretty much enter whatever you want
  • Optional, you can omit this explicitly by using <>

If you don’t use this exact syntax, git will search through the existing commits and use the first commit that contains your provided string.


  1. Only user name

    Omit the email address explicitly:

    git commit --author="John Doe <>" -m "Impersonation is evil."
  2. Only email

    Technically this isn’t possible. You can however enter the email address as the username and explicitly omit the email address. This doesn’t seem like it’s very useful.
    I think it would make even more sense to extract the user name from the email address and then use that as the username. But if you have to:

    git commit --author="[email protected] <>" -m "Impersonation is evil." 

I ran in to this when trying to convert a repository from mercurial to git.
I tested the commands on msysgit 1.7.10.

Answered By – Willem D'Haeseleer

This Answer collected from stackoverflow, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5 , cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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