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Creates a new local project and Git repository from a repo on GitHub, by either cloning or fork-and-cloning. In the fork-and-clone case, create_from_github() also does additional remote and branch setup, leaving you in the perfect position to make a pull request with pr_init(), one of several functions for working with pull requests.

create_from_github() works best when your GitHub credentials are discoverable. See below for more about authentication.


  destdir = NULL,
  fork = NA,
  rstudio = NULL,
  open = rlang::is_interactive(),
  protocol = git_protocol(),
  host = NULL,
  auth_token = deprecated(),
  credentials = deprecated()



A string identifying the GitHub repo in one of these forms:

  • Plain OWNER/REPO spec

  • Browser URL, such as ""

  • HTTPS Git URL, such as ""

  • SSH Git URL, such as ""


Destination for the new folder, which will be named according to the REPO extracted from repo_spec. Defaults to the location stored in the global option usethis.destdir, if defined, or to the user's Desktop or similarly conspicuous place otherwise.


If FALSE, we clone repo_spec. If TRUE, we fork repo_spec, clone that fork, and do additional setup favorable for future pull requests:

  • The source repo, repo_spec, is configured as the upstream remote, using the indicated protocol.

  • The local DEFAULT branch is set to track upstream/DEFAULT, where DEFAULT is typically main or master. It is also immediately pulled, to cover the case of a pre-existing, out-of-date fork.

If fork = NA (the default), we check your permissions on repo_spec. If you can push, we set fork = FALSE, If you cannot, we set fork = TRUE.


Initiate an RStudio Project? Defaults to TRUE if in an RStudio session and project has no pre-existing .Rproj file. Defaults to FALSE otherwise (but note that the cloned repo may already be an RStudio Project, i.e. may already have a .Rproj file).


If TRUE, activates the new project:

  • If using RStudio desktop, the package is opened in a new session.

  • If on RStudio server, the current RStudio project is activated.

  • Otherwise, the working directory and active project is changed.


One of "https" or "ssh"


GitHub host to target, passed to the .api_url argument of gh::gh(). If repo_spec is a URL, host is extracted from that.

If unspecified, gh defaults to "", although gh's default can be customised by setting the GITHUB_API_URL environment variable.

For a hypothetical GitHub Enterprise instance, either "" or "" is acceptable.

auth_token, credentials

[Deprecated]: No longer consulted now that usethis uses the gert package for Git operations, instead of git2r; gert relies on the credentials package for auth. The API requests are now authorized with the token associated with the host, as retrieved by gh::gh_token().

Git/GitHub Authentication

Many usethis functions, including those documented here, potentially interact with GitHub in two different ways:

  • Via the GitHub REST API. Examples: create a repo, a fork, or a pull request.

  • As a conventional Git remote. Examples: clone, fetch, or push.

Therefore two types of auth can happen and your credentials must be discoverable. Which credentials do we mean?

  • A GitHub personal access token (PAT) must be discoverable by the gh package, which is used for GitHub operations via the REST API. See gh_token_help() for more about getting and configuring a PAT.

  • If you use the HTTPS protocol for Git remotes, your PAT is also used for Git operations, such as git push. Usethis uses the gert package for this, so the PAT must be discoverable by gert. Generally gert and gh will discover and use the same PAT. This ability to "kill two birds with one stone" is why HTTPS + PAT is our recommended auth strategy for those new to Git and GitHub and PRs.

  • If you use SSH remotes, your SSH keys must also be discoverable, in addition to your PAT. The public key must be added to your GitHub account.

Git/GitHub credential management is covered in a dedicated article: Managing Git(Hub) Credentials

See also

  • use_github() to go the opposite direction, i.e. create a GitHub repo from your local repo

  • git_protocol() for background on protocol (HTTPS vs SSH)

  • use_course() to download a snapshot of all files in a GitHub repo, without the need for any local or remote Git operations


if (FALSE) {

# repo_spec can be a URL

# a URL repo_spec also specifies the host (e.g. GitHub Enterprise instance)