Feature Highlight: Create files and directories from the Files page

Feb 10, 2016 · 4 min read
Drew Blessing GitLab profile

Sometimes it's easier to make quick changes directly from the GitLab interface than to clone the project and use the Git command line tool. In this feature highlight we look at how you can create a new file, directory, branch or tag from the file browser. All of these actions are available from a single dropdown menu.

Create a file

From a project's files page, click the '+' button to the right of the branch selector. Choose 'New file' from the dropdown.

New file dropdown menu

Enter a file name in the 'File name' box. Then, add file content in the editor area. Add a descriptive commit message and choose a branch. The branch field will default to the branch you were viewing in the file browser. If you enter a new branch name, a checkbox will appear allowing you to start a new merge request after you commit the changes.

When you are satisfied with your new file, click 'Commit Changes' at the bottom.

Create file editor

Upload a file

The ability to create a file is great when the content is text. However, this doesn't work well for binary data such as images, PDFs or other file types. In this case you need to upload a file.

From a project's files page, click the '+' button to the right of the branch selector. Choose 'Upload file' from the dropdown.

Upload file dropdown menu

Once the upload dialog pops up there are two ways to upload your file. Either drag and drop a file on the pop up or use the 'click to upload' link. A file preview will appear once you have selected a file to upload.

Enter a commit message, choose a branch, and click 'Upload file' when you are ready.

Upload file dialog

Create a directory

To keep files in the repository organized it is often helpful to create a new directory.

From a project's files page, click the '+' button to the right of the branch selector. Choose 'New directory' from the dropdown.

New directory dropdown

In the new directory dialog enter a directory name, a commit message and choose the target branch. Click 'Create directory' to finish.

New directory dialog


When creating or uploading a new file, or creating a new directory, you can trigger a new merge request rather than committing directly to master. Enter a new branch name in the 'Target branch' field. You will notice a checkbox appear that is labeled 'Start a new merge request with these changes'. After you commit the changes you will be taken to a new merge request form.

Start a new merge request with these changes

Create a new branch

If you want to make changes to several files before creating a new merge request, you can create a new branch up front. From a project's files page, choose 'New branch' from the dropdown.

New branch dropdown

Enter a new 'Branch name'. Optionally, change the 'Create from' field to choose which branch, tag or commit SHA this new branch will originate from. This field will autocomplete if you start typing an existing branch or tag. Click 'Create branch' and you will be returned to the file browser on this new branch.

New branch page

You can now make changes to any files, as needed. When you're ready to merge the changes back to master you can use the widget at the top of the screen. This widget only appears for a period of time after you create the branch or modify files.

New push widget

Create a new tag

Tags are useful for marking major milestones such as production releases, release candidates, and more. You can create a tag from a branch or a commit SHA. From a project's files page, choose 'New tag' from the dropdown.

New tag dropdown

Give the tag a name such as v1.0.0. Choose the branch or SHA from which you would like to create this new tag. You can optionally add a message and release notes. The release notes section supports markdown format and you can also upload an attachment. Click 'Create tag' and you will be taken to the tag list page.

New tag page

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