Cloning and forking repositories from GitHub Desktop

You can use GitHub Desktop to clone and fork repositories that exist on GitHub.

In this article

Cloning repositories

Repositories on GitHub exist as remote repositories. You can clone public repositories owned by other people. You can clone your own repository to create a local copy on your computer and sync between the two locations.

You can also clone a repository directly from GitHub or GitHub Enterprise. For more information, see "Cloning a repository from GitHub to GitHub Desktop".

  1. In the File menu, click Clone Repository.
    Clone menu option in the Mac app
  2. Click the tab that corresponds to the location of the repository you want to clone. You can also click URL to manually enter the repository location.
    Location tabs in the Clone a repository menu
  3. Choose the repository you want to clone from the list.
    Clone a repository list
  4. Click Choose... and, using the Finder window, navigate to a local path where you want to clone the repository.
    The choose button
  5. Click Clone.
    The clone button
  1. In the File menu, click Clone Repository.
    Clone menu option in the Windows app
  2. Click the tab that corresponds to the location of the repository you want to clone. You can also click URL to manually enter the repository location.
    Location tabs in the Clone a repository menu
  3. Choose the repository you want to clone from the list.
    Clone a repository list
  4. Click Choose... and, using Windows Explorer, navigate to a local path where you want to clone the repository.
    The choose button
  5. Click Clone.
    The clone button

Forking repositories

To contribute to a project where you don't have write access, you can use GitHub Desktop to create a fork of the repository. Changes on your fork don't affect the original repository. You can commit changes on your fork, then open a pull request to the original repository with your proposed changes. For more information, see "About forks."

  1. If you've cloned a repository where you don't have write access and try to commit changes, GitHub Desktop will warn that "You don't have write access to REPOSITORY. Click create a fork.
    Create a fork link
  2. Click Fork this repository.
    Fork this repo button
  3. To view your fork on GitHub, in the top right corner of GitHub, click your profile picture, then click Your repositories.
    Your repositories link

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