How to edit the GitHub file

The GitHub repositories usually contain a file to describe how to use the project. The GitHub web site has a simple editor, but it has a few limitations

  • If you accidentally refresh the page, you lose your changes,
  • The preview pane is wider than the page that will display your file, so the formatting can be different,
  • You have to switch between the editor and the the preview every time you want to see the result.

One of the simplest ways to edit the is to use the Atom editor.

  • Open the file with Atom,
  • In the Packages menu select Markdown Preview, or press Ctrl-Shitft-M to open the preview pane.

As you type in the editor window the preview pane will show the live review of the file.

For the Markdown syntax visit

Permission denied message when you try to upload your new repository to GitHub from a Windows computer

If you work on a Windows computer and create a new GitHub repository, you can copy the code from the GitHub page to set the remote address and push the existing code to the GitHub server. You may get the following error message:

$ git push -u origin master
Permission denied (publickey).
fatal: Could not read from remote repository.

Please make sure you have the correct access rights
and the repository exists.

Make sure you have selected the HTTPS button to see the correct lines for Windows.

To change to address of the remote server execute the following
git remote set-url origin

Git configuration

If you use 2-factor authentication in GitHub,  generate a 40 character Personal Access Token that you can use as a password to access GitHub repositories.

Create a Personal Access Token to use it as password in the Git client

  1. Log into GitHub and in the pull down at the upper right select Settings,

  2. On the left select Developer Settings,
  3. On the left select Personal access tokens,
  4. Click the Generate new token button,
  5. Enter a description for your token (so you can keep track and revoke them individually later, should you have a security breach),
  6. Select the repo checkbox,
  7. Click the Generate token button,
  8. Copy the token (40 characters long) to the clipboard and use that as your password on the command line.

Store or update your username and password in the Git credential helper

In macOS and Linux

Set the credential helper to store your username and password

To store the Git credentials on your hard disk in unencrypted form, use the Git Credential Store

git config credential.helper store


When you have already stored your password in the credential helper of Git and switching to 2-factor authentication, or just want to update your GitHub username or password

In Windows

  • In the command line execute the following to instruct the Git client to use the Wincred Windows credential helper to store your username and password
    git config --global credential.helper wincred
  • The next time you will access the GitHub repository to fetch, clone or push changes the Git CLI will pup up a dialog box to ask your username and password.

To update an already stored username or password in the Windows Credential Manager

When you access GitHub from your Windows workstation, Windows stores your credentials in the Credential Manager. If you want to enter an updated password, enter your personal access token when you switch to 2-factor authentication or switch between GitHub accounts, delete the GitHub entry from the Credential Manager.

  1. Open the Windows Credential Manager
    1. Open a command window
    2. Execute
      control /name Microsoft.CredentialManager
  2. On the Windows Credentials tab click the down arrow next to
  3. Click the Remove link
  4. Click Yes to delete the link.


Branching and merging in Git

Branching and Merging are very powerful features in Git.

There are may branching strategies, my favorite is well explained at

Pick any model you like and stick to it for a while to better understand and evaluate it. If you do not like that try another one.

In this model when we start to work on a new feature we

  • Create a new branch (let’s call it feature) based on the develop branch and switch to it.
    • git checkout develop
      git branch feature
      git checkout feature
  • Develop the new feature in the feature branch and add the changes to the repository.
    • git add .
      git commit -m "Feature is done in feature branch"
  • Before merging the changes of the feature branch back into the develop branch get the latest changes from the develop branch, apply your changes on top of them and test the application
    • git rebase develop
  • If there are merge conflicts, launch the Merge Tool. See Merging in Git with four panels in Windows  to set up and use a great merge tool.
    • git mergetool
  • It is possible that you will encounter merge conflicts in the same file multiple times. Just repeat the git mergetool command as many times as needed.
  • When you are done with merging, complete the rebase
    • git rebase --continue
  • Add and commit your changes in the feature branch
    • git add .
      git commit -m "Feature is tested in feature branch"
  • When you have tested the code of the new feature, merge it back to the develop branch.
    Switch back to the develop branch and merge the changes from the feature branch.

    • git checkout develop
      git merge feature
  • If there are any merge conflicts, Git will ask you to resolve them.

Merging in Git with four panels in Windows

Git is a great repository for small and large projects. It is easy to create and merge branches to separate code for the features you work on. To make merging easier you can use a free 4 panel merging tool, Perforce P4Merge.


  • Download the Perforce P4Merge Visual Merge Tool from
  • Select the operating system of your computer and click the Download button.

Install Perforce P4Merge

  • Double click the downloaded EXE file
  • Unselect the Administration tool
    P4Merge 01
  • Leave the server as is, we will not use it
    P4Merge 02
  • Just click OK, the address is not important for us
    P4Merge 03
  • Click Next again on the Client Configuration page
    P4Merge 04
  • On a Windows machine P4Merge will be installed at C:\Program Files\Perforce. Git cannot access P4Merge if the path contains a space character, so once the installation is done move the Perforce folder to the root of the C: drive.

Add the Perforce P4Merge settings to the Git config file

  • To use the same tool in every repository navigate to C:\Users\[YOUR USER NAME] and open the .gitconfig file.
  • If you already have [merge] and [mergetool “p4merge”] entries update them, if not, add the following lines. Even on Windows machines you have to use forward slashes (/) in the path for Git to understand it.
      tool = p4merge
    [mergetool "p4merge"]
      cmd = "C:/Perforce/p4merge" "$BASE" "$LOCAL" "$REMOTE" "$MERGED"
      keepTemporaries = false
      trustExitCode = false
      keepBackup = false

Solve merge conflicts

  • If you use the Git command line merge the branches. Git is case sensitive.
    • Change to the target branch
      • git checkout master
    • Merge the changes from the feature branch
      • git merge Feature
    • If there is a merge conflict type
      • git mergetool
    • Git will display the name of the file that caused the merge conflict
      • $ git mergetool
        Normal merge conflict for 'Test1.txt':
          {local}: modified file
          {remote}: modified file
        Hit return to start merge resolution tool (p4merge):
    • Hit Enter and the P4Merge opens with four panels
      • The left (Local) panel shows the changes in the current (target) branch,
      • The middle panel shows the original (Base) version of the file before both changes,
      • The right panel shows the coming changes (Remote) that were made in the branch you are merging from,
      • The bottom shows the result of the merge.
    • Change the file to resolve the conflict and click the Save button to save the result.

Merging is safe, because Git creates backup copies of all three version of the file in the same folder. If there are multiple files with merge conflicts Git will open the merge tool for each of them one-by-one.

  • Add the changes to the next commit
    • git add .
  • Commit the changes
    • git commit -m “Merged with P4Merge”

How to delete a folder from Git, but not from the local disk

I have accidentally included a folder in my Git repository, that I don’t want to include in source control. I wanted to remove it from the Git index, but not from the local hard drive.

The solution is the following command

git rm -r --cached myFolder

If the folder name contains spaces enclose it in quotes "my folder"

This will remove the folder from the Git repository, but leave it on the local drive.