Setting Up Git
Last updated on 2023-09-11 | Edit this page
Estimated time 5 minutes
- How do I get set up to use Git?
gitthe first time it is used on a computer.
- Understand the meaning of the
When we use Git on a new computer for the first time, we need to configure a few things. Below are a few examples of configurations we will set as we get started with Git:
- our name and email address,
- what our preferred text editor is,
- and that we want to use these settings globally (i.e. for every project).
On a command line, Git commands are written as
git verb options, where
verb is what we
actually want to do and
options is additional optional
information which may be needed for the
verb. So here is
how Dracula sets up his new laptop:
$ git config --global user.name "Vlad Dracula" $ git config --global user.email "email@example.com"
Please use your own name and email address instead of Dracula’s. This user name and email will be associated with your subsequent Git activity, which means that any changes pushed to GitHub, BitBucket, GitLab or another Git host server after this lesson will include this information.
For this lesson, we will be interacting with GitHub and so the email address used should be the same as the one used when setting up your GitHub account. If you are concerned about privacy, please review GitHub’s instructions for keeping your email address private.
As with other keys, when you hit Enter or ↵ or on Macs, Return on your keyboard, your computer encodes this input as a character. Different operating systems use different character(s) to represent the end of a line. (You may also hear these referred to as newlines or line breaks.) Because Git uses these characters to compare files, it may cause unexpected issues when editing a file on different machines. Though it is beyond the scope of this lesson, you can read more about this issue in the Pro Git book.
You can change the way Git recognizes and encodes line endings using
core.autocrlf command to
git config. The
following settings are recommended:
On macOS and Linux:
$ git config --global core.autocrlf input
And on Windows:
$ git config --global core.autocrlf true
Dracula also has to set his favorite text editor, following this table:
|BBEdit (Mac, with command line tools)||
|Sublime Text (Mac)||
|Sublime Text (Win, 32-bit install)||
|Sublime Text (Win, 64-bit install)||
|Notepad++ (Win, 32-bit install)||
|Notepad++ (Win, 64-bit install)||
It is possible to reconfigure the text editor for Git whenever you want to change it.
Note that Vim is the default editor for many programs. If you haven’t
used Vim before and wish to exit a session without saving your changes,
press Esc then type
:q! and hit Enter
or ↵ or on Macs, Return. If you want to save your
changes and quit, press Esc then type
hit Enter or ↵ or on Macs, Return.
Git (2.28+) allows configuration of the name of the branch created
when you initialize any new repository. Dracula decides to use that
feature to set it to
main so it matches the cloud service
he will eventually use.
$ git config --global init.defaultBranch main
Source file changes are associated with a “branch.” For new learners
in this lesson, it’s enough to know that branches exist, and this lesson
uses one branch.
By default, Git will create a branch called
master when you
create a new repository with
git init (as explained in the
next Episode). This term evokes the racist practice of human slavery and
the software development
community has moved to adopt more inclusive language.
In 2020, most Git code hosting services transitioned to using
main as the default branch. As an example, any new
repository that is opened in GitHub and GitLab default to
main. However, Git has not yet made the same change. As a
result, local repositories must be manually configured have the same
main branch name as most cloud services.
For versions of Git prior to 2.28, the change can be made on an
individual repository level. The command for this is in the next
episode. Note that if this value is unset in your local Git
init.defaultBranch value defaults to
The five commands we just ran above only need to be run once: the
--global tells Git to use the settings for every
project, in your user account, on this computer.
Let’s review those settings and test our
$ git config --global --edit
Let’s close the file without making any additional changes. Remember, since typos in the config file will cause issues, it’s safer to view the configuration with:
$ git config --list
And if necessary, change your configuration using the same commands to choose another editor or update your email address. This can be done as many times as you want.
In some networks you need to use a proxy. If this is the case, you may also need to tell Git about the proxy:
$ git config --global http.proxy proxy-url $ git config --global https.proxy proxy-url
To disable the proxy, use
$ git config --global --unset http.proxy $ git config --global --unset https.proxy
Always remember that if you forget the subcommands or options of a
git command, you can access the relevant list of options
git <command> -h or access the corresponding
Git manual by typing
git <command> --help, e.g.:
$ git config -h $ git config --help
While viewing the manual, remember the
: is a prompt
waiting for commands and you can press Q to exit the
More generally, you can get the list of available
commands and further resources of the Git manual typing:
$ git help