I initialized a Git repository outside emacs, added and committed the files.

Now if I a file in emacs that is under version control by Git and run C-x v = emacs tells me This file is not under version control.

It seems emacs missed that I added this file to Git already. How can I tell emacs that this file (and the whole directory) is already in Git, so that I can use the vc-git-* commands?

  • You're mixing your terminology up. By "open a buffer" do you mean "visit a file" (not already visited) or "switch to a buffer" (of an already-visited file)?
    – phils
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 5:10
  • @phils I edited for clarity, I mean opening a file in emacs (that was already existing and added to Git).
    – BMBM
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 6:11
  • I can't replicate the problem. Which version of Emacs are you using, on which OS? You might also check whether M-: (executable-find "git") knows where your git binary lives -- the relevant directory needs to be listed in C-h v exec-path.
    – phils
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 8:03
  • Git works without any issues for other files in different project directories, I am using Emacs on OS X in version 24.5.1
    – BMBM
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 8:15
  • 1
    Hm I feel a bit dumb now, but closing the buffer and opening it again fixed the problem, now vc- commands work as I would have expected. Sorry for the noise. :-(
    – BMBM
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 8:51

2 Answers 2


Emacs caches version control information for each buffer.

If you visit a file first, and then git add it in a terminal, Emacs doesn't know this. You can M-x revert-buffer to force it to refresh the cache, or kill the buffer and visit the file again.

In the future, you can register such files from within Emacs, using vc-next-action, by default bound to C-x v v. Though if the file is already registered this command will do something else.

  • Instead of vc-next-action (which would indeed do something else if the file is already registered), why not vc-register? ( C-x v i )
    – T. Verron
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 12:41
  • @T.Verron Thas is indeed a good alternative. I don't recall ever using it, though (it's a bit easier to remember just one key sequence).
    – Dmitry
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 13:57
  • I agree that in a standard workflow (e.g. if the file was just created), vc-next-action should be what you want. And anyway, even if it wasn't just created, I guess if the user wants to register the file, he would want to commit it anyway (which should be the result of vc-next-command in that case, iirc).
    – T. Verron
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 14:11
  • Thank you for the explanation, I was a bit confused by the observed behaviour. C-x v i sounds like a good thing to remember.
    – BMBM
    Commented Oct 29, 2016 at 1:06

After update of MacOS (10.14.6) I had the same "This file is not under version control" - turns out that I needed to accept xcode license to run git commands.

In terminal just do a sudo xcodebuild -license- that fixed my problem.

  • 2
    Git is Free Software, so you should not need to accept any license to run it. I recommend you complain to Apple about it. Also you might like to install Git separately from Xcode, which might avoid the problem.
    – Stefan
    Commented Sep 26, 2019 at 12:10

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