5.4. Workbench

The Workbench is the primary TortoiseHg application. It allows you to browse your local repositories, make commits, perform searches, synchronize with other repositories, and perform various maintenance tasks. Nearly every Mercurial feature is accessible from the Workbench.


Workbench dialog.

Workbench Main Widgets are:

Revision History View
A tabbed widget to view multiple repositories at once. The different columns show general information about each changeset in the graphlog. You can configure the columns to show from the menu via View ‣ Choose Log Columns..., and there you can reorder the columns too. This is the main or central widget of the Workbench application.
Repository Registry
This widget, by default shown on the left, allows to manage multiple repositories from the Workbench. You can show/hide it via View ‣ Show Repo Registry or with the corresponding button in the Dock Toolbar. It’s also a dockable widget. The View ‣ Show Paths menu option allows to not only view the names of the repositories but also their path in a second column.
Output Log
This dockable widget, which can be shown/hidden with View ‣ Show Output Log, gives the user information about the Mercurial commands that were executed during the current session. You can also use it as a commandline by typing Mercurial commands at its prompt directly. It shows any error messages when appropriate. Content is wiped when the Workbench is closed.
Task Tabs
The lower right part of the Workbench is occupied by a stack of widget where you can perform various frequent tasks. It is a tabbed widget. See further for more detail about each one.

5.4.1. Workbench Menus

The Workbench has a menu bar for accessing tool functions and for launching other tools.


Handle repositories and settings.

File menu

File Menu


Manage the visibility of various parts of the Workbench.

View menu

View menu


Perform special actions on the active repository.

Repository menu

Repository menu

About shows TortoiseHg version info.

5.4.2. Edit Toolbar

Edit Toolbar

Edit toolbar

Moving around in the revision history. All the buttons work on the current repository.

Reload the revision history of the current repository.
Go back to the previously selected revision.
Go forward to the next revision in your selection history or most recent revision set query.
Filter toolbar
Show and activate the Filter Toolbar at the top of the revision graph.

5.4.3. Dock Toolbar

Dock Toolbar

Dock toolbar

Show or hide some main widgets in the Workbench.

Show Repository Registry
Show/hide the Repository Registry widget.
Show Output Log
Show/hide the Output Log widget.

5.4.4. Sync Toolbar

Sync Toolbar

Sync toolbar

Synchronize your repository with other repositories.

Download incoming changesets from the remote repository, store then in a temporary bundle file, then enter bundle preview mode with the incoming changes applied. Incoming changesets will be shown as normal, while others will be shown grayed in the revision graph. The buttons Accept and Reject are then shown at the top of the revision graph.
Pull incoming changesets from the remote repository, then apply after-pull effect (update, fetch, or rebase).
Determine outgoing changesets that would be pushed to the remote repository. Outgoing changesets will be shown as normal, while others will be shown grayed in the revision graph.
Push outgoing changesets to the remote repository.

5.4.5. Task Toolbar

Task Toolbar

Task toolbar

Work with the various task tabs.

Revision Details
Shows information about the current revision : files added, removed, renamed, or modified, file contents, changeset info. See Revision Details for more detail.
Here you can add new files, and do your commits. See Commit for more detail.
For performing text searches through file content.
Gives you full control about how you let your repositories communicate with any other repository. See Synchronize for more detail.

There is some relation between the revision or patch selected in the graph pane, and the task tabs.

  • Clicking on the Working Directory automatically switches to the Commit task tab.
  • Clicking on any revision other than the Working Directory switches to the Revision Details task tab.

You can overrule this standard behaviour by doing an ALT-Click for making your selection. This preserves the current task tab, no matter what revision or patch you select. Cursor selection movements also do not switch task tabs.

5.4.6. Filter Toolbar

Filter Toolbar

Filter features for the Workbench.

The filter bar allows one to quickly filter the changesets panel. It is based on the Revision Sets feature of Mercurial. See hg.1.html#revsets for details on how to specify revision sets. The toolbar can be toggled with Ctrl-S. Parts from left to right:

Clears the search lineedit. Essentially disables all filters.
Filter entry
Here you can type a filtering condition. The widget is a combobox, holding a history of previous filtering conditions.
Applies the condition set by the filter.
Opens the RevSet dialog. There you can select and/or enter your condition in a combined way via point-and-click and by typing.
Deletes the selected query.
Toggle filter
Applies the filter condition by sowing changesets that don’t conform to it in a color suggesting insensitiveness, so the selected ones stand out more.
Branch options
A few options for showing branches. See Repo Settings ‣ Workbench ‣ Dead Branches for a method to prune names from this combo box.
Branches combo
A combo box with the list of named branches in your repository.
Custom Filter Combo
Finally there is a combo box that selects among the various filter types that can be manually specified.

If the repository tab is previewing incoming changesets, a pair of buttons are prepended to the start of the filter bar:

Accept (pull) the changesets from the previewed bundle. This button is only visible when previewing a changeset bundle. The after-pull effect is respected after pulling from a bundle.
Reject the changesets from the previewed bundle and exit preview mode. This button is only visible when previewing a changeset bundle.

The Workbench will attempt to lookup the entered search phrase in the repository to see if it matches a tag, bookmark, branch name, changeset hash, or revision number. If no changeset match is found, the Workbench checks if the search phrase has any parentheses. If no parentheses are found, the Workbench assumes the search is a keyword and performs a keyword() revision set search. If parentheses are found, the Workbench assumes the search phrase is a revision set specification and attempts to resolve the set.

If you need to perform a keyword search that includes parentheses, use keyword("PHRASE(FOO)").

5.4.7. Revision Graph Details

The graph column shows the child-parent relationships between revisions in your repository history. This column auto-sizes for as many lines of ancestry that are required to visualize the revisions you have loaded. The column has an initial hard-limit width to prevent some degenerative cases from breaking the viewer, but can be resized after refreshes.

5.4.8. Performance Implications

There are some Workbench features that could have performance implications in large repositories.

View ‣ Choose Log columns...
Enabling the Changes column can be expensive to calculate on repositories with large working copies, causing both refreshes and scrolling to be slow.
View ‣ Load all
Normally, when the user scrolls through the history, chunks of changesets are read as you scroll. This menu choice allows you to have the Workbench read all the changesets from the repository, probably allowing smoother moving through the history.

5.4.9. Revision Context Menus

Right-clicking on revisions in the graph pane brings up a different context menu when one, two, or more revisions are selected. Context menus can also differ according to the type of revision(s) (working dir, regular revision, (un)applied mq patch). Here we give a list of all existing context menu entries.

Right-clicking on a selection of revisions in the (top) graph pane will bring up the revision context menu.

With only one revision selected:
Single revision context menu
Update your working directory to this revision. Opens the TortoiseHg update dialog with this revision selected.
Diff to Parent
Open this change in your visual diff tool.
Diff to Local
Display changes (visual diff) between this revision and your current working directory.
Browse at Revision
Brings up the Manifest window with the content of all files in the repo at the selected revision.
Similar Revisions...
Open the TortoiseHg dialog to search for similar revisions.
Merge with local...
Merge the selected changeset with the Working Dir. Opens the TortoiseHg merge dialog with this revision selected.
Allows to manage tags to the selected revision.
Allows to manage bookmarks for the selected revision.
Create a backout changeset for selected revision.
Copy Hash

Copies the revision hash to the clipboard. Copy current revision’s full hash to the clipboard.

Under X11, the short changeset hash is automatically copied to the primary selection when the revision is clicked, you paste it by pressing the middle mouse button.

Export Patch...
Generate a patch file containing this revision’s changes.
Email Patch...
Send this revision’s changes to email recipient. Opens the TortoiseHg email dialog with this revision selected.
Open the archive dialog for this revision, allowing user to generate a backup copy of the repository at that revision.
Bundle Rev and Descendants...
Open a dialog for exporting this revision and its descendants to a bundle file.
Copy Patch
Copies this revision’s changes to the clipboard. Only visible when MQ is enabled.
Change Phase to
Change the phase of this revision to public.
Change the phase of this revision to draft.
Change the phase of this revision to secret.
Graft to Local...
Open the graft dialog to copy the selected revision.
Modify history
Unapply Patch
Pop patches upto this one Only visible when MQ is enabled
Import to MQ
Import selected revision into the current patch queue. Only valid for qbase or checked out head revision. Only visible when MQ is enabled
Finish patch
Transforms the MQ patch into a regular changeset. Only visible when MQ is enabled
Rename Patch...
Renames the MQ patch file. Only visible when MQ is enabled
MQ Options
Open the MQ options dialog. Only visible when MQ is enabled
Move the selected revision and all of its descendants onto the current working parent revision. Only visible when rebase is enabled
Mark the selected revision as obsolete. Only visible when evolve is enabled
Remove the selected revision and all of its descendants from the repository [1] Only visible when MQ is enabled
With two revisions selected:
Visual diff...
Open this change in your visual diff tool.
Export selected
Creates a patch file for each changeset in selected range.
Email selected...
Opens email dialog with range of changesets.
Export DAG range
Creates a patch file for each changeset in selected range.
Email DAG range...
Opens email dialog with range of changesets.
Bisect - Good, Bad...
todo See bisect section below.
Bisect - Bad, Good...
todo See bisect section below.
Compress history...
Brings up a dialog where you can compress the youngest changeset into the older one.
With more than two revisions selected:
Export selected
Creates a patch file for each changeset in selected range.
Email selected...
Opens email dialog with range of changesets.
[1]The strip command will store the stripped revisions in a bundle file that can later be reapplied. See also EditingHistory.

5.4.10. File Context Menus

Right-clicking on filenames in the file list pane (bottom left of the RevDetails task tab) will bring up a context menu for the selected file:

Visual Diff
Open this revision of the file in your visual diff tool.
Visual Diff to Local
Visualize differences between this revision and your checked out version.
View at Revision
Open this revision of the file in your visual editor [2].
Edit Local
Open the checked out version of the file in your visual editor [2].
Revert to Revision
Checkout this specific revision of this file [4].
File History
Show revisions that modified this file [3].
Compare file revisions
Brings up a new dialog where you can compare any revision of the file with any other revision in the history.
[2](1, 2) Global Settings ‣ TortoiseHg ‣ Visual Editor
[3]Does not show revisions where a file was deleted, as this is only a manifest change, it does not modify the file’s history.
[4]The new contents will appear as local changes and must be committed.

Right-clicking on filenames in the file list pane of the Commit task tab will bring up a different context menu for the selected file:

Open this revision of the file in your visual diff tool.
Add this file to the repository for versioning.
Detect Renames...
Brings up a dialog where you can try to detect renamed files.
Adds the selected file to the .hgignore content.
Delete unversioned
Deletes unversioned files from disk.

5.4.11. Message Parsing

The changeset display pane will detect and underline changeset hashes, HTTP(s) URLs, and bug report identifiers inside changeset messages. These underlined phrases are clickable links.

Every word-boundary delimited string of 12 or 40 characters from the range [0-9a-f] is considered a changeset link. Clicking on it in the repository explorer will jump to the given changeset if possible.

HTTP and HTTPS URLs are similarly turned into clickable links which are opened in your default web browser.

Issue tracker links are enabled when configured in the tortoisehg section of your configuration files. Since only a single issue tracker can be configured at a time, it is typically configured in the repository’s .hg/hgrc file. There are two keys: issue.regex and issue.link. The first defines the regex to match when picking up issue numbers, while the second defines the command to run when an issue number is recognized.

You may include groups in issue.regex, and corresponding {n} tokens in issue.link (where n is a non-negative integer). {0} refers to the entire string matched by issue.regex, while {1} refers to the first group and so on. If no {n} tokens are found in issue.link, the entire matched string is appended instead.


issue.regex = #(\d+)\b
issue.link = https://bitbucket.org/<your project and repo>/issue/{1}/

issue.regex = \bissue(\d+)\b
issue.link = http://bz.selenic.com/show_bug.cgi?id={1}

5.4.12. Output Log Console

The console built into the Workbench Output Log dock widget can run Mercurial (hg) commands, TortoiseHg (thg) commands, a couple special commands, and limited shell commands. Commands are always executed in the root of the current repository. The prompt is updated to keep you aware of the context.

If the command line begins with ‘hg’, the Mercurial command is run in TortoiseHg’s execution environment; meaning output is sent to the log widget and input requests are handled by dialog windows.

If the command line begins with ‘thg’, the requested command is run in a new window but in the same process. For instance ‘thg ci’ will open a new commit tool window for the current repository.

It the command is ‘clear’ (or ‘cls’), the output log contents are erased.

If the command is ‘exit’, the output log window is closed.

Otherwise, the command line is forwarded to your platform’s default command shell with a limited execution context. There is no stdin while stdout and stderr are piped to the output log.

5.4.13. Keyboard navigation

Zoom to the working directory parent revision
Display visual diffs for selected changeset or file
Toggle revision set / filter toolbar

See also KeySequences on the wiki pages.

5.4.14. Configurables

The Workbench has a few configurable options that can be set in the TortoiseHg Settings dialog on the Workbench tab.

Author coloring
If true, each author’s changeset will be given a unique color
Long Summary
Concatenate commit message lines until 80 chars are reached
Graph batch limit
Number of revisions to read in each batch load
Dead Branches
Comma separated list of branch names that should be ignored when building a list of branch names for a repository.
Branch Colors
Space separated list of branch names and colors on the form branch:#XXXXXX. Spaces and colons in the branch name must be escaped using a backslash (\). Likewise some other characters can be escaped in this way, e.g. \u0040 will be decoded to the @ character, and \n to a linefeed.
Hide Tags
Space separated list of tags that will not be shown. Useful example: Specify “qbase qparent qtip” to hide the standard tags inserted by the Mercurial Queues Extension.

The exact colors given to particular users can be configured by adding lines like these to your Mercurial.ini file:

authorcolor.USERNAME = color

The Workbench also respects the following settings on the TortoiseHg tab:

Tab Width
Number of spaces to expand tabs in diffs
Max Diff Size
Maximum size of file to be diffed

5.4.15. From command line

The Workbench can be started from command line

thg log [OPTIONS] [FILE]

aliases: history, explorer, workbench

workbench application

use "thg -v help log" to show global options