How to Merge Branches in GitHub

Merging branches is a common practice in GitHub, especially in open-source projects. It allows developers to integrate new features, bug fixes, or improvements into the main codebase. This guide will walk you through the steps to merge branches in GitHub, from start to finish.

Understanding Pull Requests

Before diving into the merging process, it’s essential to understand what a pull request is. A pull request is a proposal from a developer to incorporate changes they’ve made in a branch into the main branch. The maintainer of the project reviews these changes before merging.

Steps to Merge Branches

  1. Navigate to Pull Requests: Go to your GitHub repository and click on the ‘Pull requests’ button.
  2. Select the Pull Request: Choose the pull request you want to merge.
  3. Review Merge Options: GitHub provides three options for merging:
    • Merge Pull Request: This will merge every commit into the main branch.
    • Squash and Merge: This combines all the commits into one large commit.
    • Rebase and Merge: This rebases each commit onto the main branch.

Confirming the Merge

  1. Choose a Merge Option: Select one of the three merge options.
  2. Leave a Comment: Optionally, you can leave a comment or accept the default message provided by GitHub.
  3. Confirm the Merge: Click on ‘Confirm merge’, ‘Confirm squash and merge’, or ‘Confirm rebase and merge’, depending on your choice.

Additional Tips

  • Deleting the Branch: After a successful merge, you can delete the branch to keep your repository clean.
  • Automating Merges: Tools like Mergify can help automate many of your pull request merges, saving you time.


Merging branches in GitHub is a straightforward process but crucial for effective collaboration and code management. By understanding the different merge options and steps involved, you can make the process more efficient and error-free.

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