It would be nice, for 'git diff' to show symbols instead of colors


It would be really nice to have the ability to choose symbols rather than the sliver of color currently presented with ‘git diff’. I’m colorblind and the method for showing add/mods/deletes is essentially impossible to use in it’s current mode. I also have a coworker who is not colorblind, but is used to see diff symbols (+,-, etc.) to indicate changes (and find the colors very difficult to discern). Coming from SublimeText in particular, git gutter is one of our favorite plugins.


I agree. I’m not colour-blind myself, but I have poor eyesight. I have to put effort into figuring out the colour and what it means; symbols are a lot easier to discern.

For those who prefer the colour-only gutter, I imagine this could be configurable.

The git-diff package which renders in the gutter diffs is on Github. I’m tempted to have a go at implementing this and making a pull request.


Here a bit of LESS/CSS I’ve hacked together to quickly fix this. You can add to your styles.less file. It adds - + ~ symbols to the diffed lines. It could perhaps be made a little nicer, but it’s a start.

.editor {
  .gutter .line-number {
    &.git-line-removed {
      padding-left: ~"calc(1.4em - 2px)";

      &:before {
        position: absolute;
        left: 4px;

    &.git-line-modified:before {
      content: '~';

    &.git-line-added:before {
      content: '+';

    &.git-line-removed:before {
      content: '-';


FYI: Symbols/icons were added to git-diff a couple of versions back. If you’ve got git-diff 0.27.0+ there’s a setting to turn them on.