Skip to content

How to use Git merge for two branches

how to use git merge
Lost in coding? Discover our Learning Paths!
Lost in coding? Discover our Learning Paths!

How to Use Git Merge: Combining Two Branches

So, you are wondering how to use Git Merge to combine two branches.

Merging branches in Git is a common task that helps integrate separate streams of development.

Whether you’re adding a new feature, fixing a bug, or simply updating your project, understanding how to merge branches is a key skill.

This guide offers a step-by-step tutorial, complete with examples, to show you how to seamlessly merge two branches in Git.

Before You Merge

Before you start the merge process, ensure you’re in the right branch that you want to merge into. For example, if you’re merging changes from a feature branch into the master branch, you’ll want to be in the master branch.

  1. Check your current branch with git branch. You’ll see a list of all branches in your repository, with the current branch highlighted.
  2. Switch to your target branch (if necessary) using git checkout master. Replace master with the name of the branch you want to merge into.

The Merge Process

With your target branch checked out, you’re ready to merge. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Fetch the Latest Changes

It’s good practice to ensure your branch has the latest updates from the remote repository.

Run:

git fetch origin

 

Then, update your branch with:

git pull origin master

Replace master with your current branch name if it’s different.

Step 2: Merge the Branch

Now, to merge a branch called feature into your current branch, use:

git merge feature

 

Replace feature with the name of the branch you’re merging.

Git will attempt to automatically merge the branches. If there are no conflicts, your terminal will display a success message. Often, Git will open a text editor asking you to create a merge commit message.

Step 3: Handle Merge Conflicts

If Git encounters conflicts it can’t automatically resolve, it will halt the merge and list the files with conflicts. You’ll need to manually resolve these conflicts by editing the files. Git marks the conflicted areas in the file so you can easily find and fix them.

After resolving the conflicts, add the files with git add ., and then complete the merge with git commit to create a merge commit.

Best Practices for Merging

  • Test before you merge: Always test the changes in your feature branch before merging into a main branch like master or develop.
  • Merge frequently: Regularly merging changes from the main branch into your feature branch can help minimize conflicts.
  • Communicate with your team: Let your team know before you merge significant changes, especially in collaborative projects.

Example: How to use Git Merge for Merging a Feature into the Master Branch

Let’s say you’ve finished working on a new feature in the new-feature branch and you’re ready to merge it into master.

  1. Switch to the master branch:
git checkout master

 

  1. Fetch the latest updates and ensure master is up to date:
git fetch origin
git pull origin master

 

  1. Merge new-feature into master:
git merge new-feature

 

  1. Resolve any conflicts if they arise, then test your project to ensure everything works as expected.
  2. Push your changes to the remote repository:
git push origin master

 

Conclusion: How to use Git merge for two branches

Congrats! You have finished this tutorial. You now know how to use git merge to merge some branches in your repository.

Again, merging branches in Git allows you to combine different lines of development with ease. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial and adhering to best practices, you can ensure a smooth integration process for your projects. Remember, communication and frequent integration are key to successful merges, especially in team environments. Wondering how to stash changes using git? Read our short guide on that here.

Oh, and if you feel overwhelmed with coding, check out our developer membership (seriously, it’s worth it!). We help you master coding fast and easily.

Lost in coding? Discover our Learning Paths!
Lost in coding? Discover our Learning Paths!