How to create a branch via the GitHub UI without creating a Pull Request – 014

You don’t have to use the command line to create a branch. You can also create a branch directly on GitHub.com. And even though the Create a Pull Request page appears, you can cancel out of it.

Suppose you want to make changes to a readme, but you know you want to make a few iterations on the file before it is final. Or perhaps you want to preview the readme as it will appear to visitors of your repo before it goes “live” on the master (default) branch. Using branches is a great way to store your changes online (where others can still see) that’s separate from the master branch.

First, you’ll click the README.md file in the repo file list.

Clicking readme.md in the repo list

Second, you’ll click the Edit this file button on the far right of the file.

clicking Edit this file on far right side

Next, you’ll make your changes. For my example, I’ll add some content and a link back to MSDN Documentation. (Don’t forget to Preview Changes!)

Lastly, instead of using the defaults to commit directly to the master branch, you can specify to Create a new branch for this commit and then click Propose file change.

Create a new branch for this commit selected

Note in the image above I created a branch called readme-draft, but any branch name will do, including the default name generated (not shown, but it is usually username-patch-1).

The next screen to Open a pull request might feel like it is required, but it is optional. Your branch has already been created.

Open a pull request page

Simply click on Code tab or anywhere else to leave this page. You can always go back and create a pull request later, which we’ll cover.

Pull requests 0 and branches 2

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