Merging is an essential Git operation that combines changes from two branches. Its primary purpose is to integrate changes made in one branch (the source branch) into another (the target branch) and share those changes with other developers.
This tutorial shows how to merge a Git branch into the
- Git installed (follow our tutorials to install Git on Ubuntu, macOS, Windows, CentOS 7, or CentOS 8).
- A Git repository.
Merge a Git Branch into Master
main) branch in Git is a repository's default and primary branch. It usually represents the latest stable version of the project's code. Merging another branch into
master allows multiple developers to work on different features or fixes concurrently and then bring those changes together into a single branch.
Note: Two terms describe the main branch -
main. The more neutral term
main has been more prevalent in recent years due to discussions about inclusivity. Previously, the only term for the main branch was
Follow the steps below to merge a branch into
Step 1: List All Git Branches
List all the branches in your local Git repository using the
git branch command:
The output shows we are currently on the
master branch and lists all the other branches in the repository.
Note: See how to list remote branches in Git.
Step 2: Switch to Master
Ensure you are on the branch you want to merge into. In our case, the
master branch. Use the
git switch or
git checkout command to switch to the master branch if you are not already on it:
git checkout master
The command switches to the
Step 3: Merge Branch into Master
After switching, use the
git merge command to merge another branch into
master. The merge creates a merge commit, bringing together multiple lines of development while preserving the history of the source branch.
Since merging is a type of commit, it also requires a commit message. There are two ways to specify the commit message:
- Using the
- Specifying the commit message in a text editor.
1. Specify Commit Message Right Away
To specify the
merge message right away, use the following syntax:
git merge -m "Your merge commit message" [source_branch]
-moption is used to specify a commit message.
"Your merge commit message"with the message you want to use for the merge commit. Enclose the message in double quotes.
[source_branch]is the name of the branch you want to merge into your current branch.
The command merges the
examplebranch branch into the
master branch and automatically sets the commit message to the one specified in the double quotes.
2. Specify Commit Message Separately
Alternatively, use the following syntax to specify the commit message separately:
git merge [source_branch]
git merge examplebranch
The command starts the merge process and opens the default text editor, prompting you to enter a commit message for the merge:
In Windows, the Notepad++ editor opens, or whichever is the default one on your system. Specify the merge message, save and close the file, and the merge process completes:
Step 4: Push Changes
git push [remote_name]
[remote_name] with the name of the remote repository. For example, if your remote repository is
origin, run the following command:
git push origin
The command pushes the changes to the remote repository, where they become available to everyone working on the project.
This tutorial showed how to merge a Git branch into the
master branch. Merging is an essential Git procedure that allows users to bring together multiple lines of development.