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Configuring Git for GitHub Desktop

You can manage Git configuration settings for your local repositories with GitHub Desktop.

About Git configuration for GitHub Desktop

GitHub Desktop uses your local Git configuration settings and provides the option to configure some of these settings, such as the global author information and the default branch that is used when creating a new repository.

GitHub Desktop allows you to set the name and email address you would like associated with the commits you make in your repositories. If your name and email address have already been set in the global Git configuration for your computer, GitHub Desktop will detect and use those values. GitHub Desktop also allows you to set a different name and email address for an individual repository. This is useful when you need to use a separate work email address for a specific repository.

If the email address that has been set in your Git configuration does not match an email address associated with the GitHub account you are currently logged in to, GitHub Desktop will show a warning prior to committing.

GitHub Desktop also allows you to change the default branch name that you would like to use when creating new repositories. By default, GitHub Desktop uses main as the default branch name in any new repositories you create.

Tip: Anyone will be able to see the email address in your Git configuration if you make public commits. For more information, see "Setting your commit email address."

Configuring your global author information

Configuring your global author information in GitHub Desktop will update the name and email address in your global Git configuration. This will be the default name and email address for all new local repositories you create in GitHub Desktop.

  1. In the menu bar, use the GitHub Desktop drop-down menu, then click Preferences. The Preferences value in the GitHub Desktop drop-down menu
  2. In the Preferences window, click Git. The Git Pane in the Preferences menu
  3. In the Name field, type the name you'd like to use for your Git configuration. The name field of the Git configuration
  4. Select the Email dropdown and click the email address you would like to use for your commits. Select email address in Git configuration field
  5. Click Save. Save button in Git configuration field
  1. Use the File menu, then click Options. The Options value in the Settings drop-down menu
  2. In the Options window, click Git. The Git Pane in the Options menu
  3. In the Name field, type the name you'd like to use for your Git configuration. The name field of the Git configuration
  4. Select the Email dropdown and click the email address you would like to use for your commits. Select email address in Git configuration field
  5. Click Save. Save button in Git configuration field

Configuring different author information for an individual repository

You can change the name and email address used to author commits in a specific repository. This local Git configuration will override your global Git configuration settings for this one repository only.

  1. In the Repository menu, click Repository Settings.... Repository Settings menu option
  2. Click Git Config. Git Config option
  3. Under "For this repository I wish to", select Use a local Git config. Primary remote repository field
  4. Under Name, type the name you'd like to use for your local Git configuration. The name field of the local Git configuration
  5. Under Email, select the dropdown menu and click the email you'd like to use for your local Git configuration. The name field of the local Git configuration
  6. Click Save. The Save button
  1. In the Repository menu, click Repository settings.... Repository settings menu option
  2. Click Git Config. Git Config option
  3. Under "For this repository I wish to", select Use a local Git config. Primary remote repository field
  4. Under Name, type the name you'd like to use for your local Git configuration. The name field of the local Git configuration
  5. Under Email, select the dropdown menu and click the email you'd like to use for your local Git configuration. The name field of the local Git configuration
  6. Click Save. The Save button

Configuring your default branch for new repositories

You can configure the default branch that will be used when you create a new repository in GitHub Desktop. For more information about the default branch, see "About the default branch."

  1. In the menu bar, use the GitHub Desktop drop-down menu, then click Preferences. The Preferences value in the GitHub Desktop drop-down menu
  2. In the Preferences window, click Git. The Git Pane in the Preferences menu
  3. Under "Default branch name for new repositories", select the default branch name you would like to use, or, to enter a custom name, select "Other...". Default branch name selection options
  4. Click Save. Save button in Git configuration field
  1. Use the File menu, then click Options. The Options value in the Settings drop-down menu
  2. In the Options window, click Git. The Git Pane in the Options menu
  3. Under "Default branch name for new repositories", select the default branch name you would like to use, or select "Other..." to enter a custom name. Default branch name selection options
  4. Click Save. Save button in Git configuration field

Further reading