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This version of GitHub Enterprise Server was discontinued on 2024-01-04. No patch releases will be made, even for critical security issues. For better performance, improved security, and new features, upgrade to the latest version of GitHub Enterprise Server. For help with the upgrade, contact GitHub Enterprise support.

Moving a file to a new location

You can move a file to a different directory on GitHub Enterprise Server or by using the command line.

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In addition to changing the file location, you can also update the contents of your file, or give it a new name in the same commit.

Moving a file to a new location on GitHub Enterprise Server


  • If you try to move a file in a repository that you don’t have access to, we'll fork the project to your personal account and help you send a pull request to the original repository after you commit your change.
  • Some files, such as images, require that you move them from the command line. For more information, see "Moving a file to a new location".
  • If a repository has any protected branches, you can't edit or upload files in the protected branch using GitHub. For more information, see "About protected branches."

You can use GitHub Desktop to move your changes to a new branch and commit them. For more information, see "Committing and reviewing changes to your project in GitHub Desktop."

  1. In your repository, browse to the file you want to move.

  2. In the upper right corner of the file view, click to open the file editor.

    Screenshot of a file. In the header, a button, labeled with a pencil icon, is outlined in dark orange.

  3. In the filename field, change the name of the file using these guidelines:

    • To move the file into a subfolder, type the name of the folder you want, followed by /. Your new folder name becomes a new item in the navigation breadcrumbs.
    • To move the file into a directory above the file's current location, place your cursor at the beginning of the filename field, then either type ../ to jump up one full directory level, or type the backspace key to edit the parent folder's name.
  4. In the "Commit message" field, type a short, meaningful commit message that describes the change you made to the file. You can attribute the commit to more than one author in the commit message. For more information, see "Creating a commit with multiple authors."

  5. Below the commit message fields, decide whether to add your commit to the current branch or to a new branch. If your current branch is the default branch, you should choose to create a new branch for your commit and then create a pull request. For more information, see "Creating a pull request."

    Screenshot of a GitHub pull request showing a radio button to commit directly to the main branch or to create a new branch. New branch is selected.

  6. Click Commit changes or Propose changes.

Moving a file to a new location using the command line

You can use the command line to move files within a repository by removing the file from the old location and then adding it in the new location.

Many files can be moved directly on GitHub Enterprise Server, but some files, such as images, require that you move them from the command line.

This procedure assumes you've already:

  1. On your computer, move the file to a new location within the directory that was created locally on your computer when you cloned the repository.

  2. Open TerminalTerminalGit Bash.

  3. Use git status to check the old and new file locations.

    $ git status
    > # On branch YOUR-BRANCH
    > # Changes not staged for commit:
    > #   (use "git add/rm <file>..." to update what will be committed)
    > #   (use "git checkout -- <file>..." to discard changes in working directory)
    > #
    > #     deleted:    /OLD-FOLDER/IMAGE.PNG
    > #
    > # Untracked files:
    > #   (use "git add <file>..." to include in what will be committed)
    > #
    > #
    > # no changes added to commit (use "git add" and/or "git commit -a")
  4. Stage the file for commit to your local repository. This will delete, or git rm, the file from the old location and add, or git add, the file to the new location.

    $ git add .
    # Adds the file to your local repository and stages it for commit.
    # To unstage a file, use 'git reset HEAD YOUR-FILE'.
  5. Use git status to check the changes staged for commit.

    $ git status
    > # On branch YOUR-BRANCH
    > # Changes to be committed:
    > #   (use "git reset HEAD <file>..." to unstage)
    > #
    > #    renamed:    /old-folder/image.png -> /new-folder/image.png
    # Displays the changes staged for commit
  6. Commit the file that you've staged in your local repository.

    $ git commit -m "Move file to new directory"
    # Commits the tracked changes and prepares them to be pushed to a remote repository.
    # To remove this commit and modify the file, use 'git reset --soft HEAD~1' and commit and add the file again.
  7. Push the changes in your local repository to your GitHub Enterprise Server instance.

    $ git push origin YOUR_BRANCH
    # Pushes the changes in your local repository up to the remote repository you specified as the origin