There comes a time where you are working on an existing project and want to create a GitHub repository. The problem is how do you “clone” the new GitHub repo without messing up your local workspaces?

When you clone a new repository onto your local workspace, all git is really doing is creating a remote branch under origin/master and aliases the remote as origin. We can take advantage of this fact and do this to “clone” a new GitHub repository into our existing repository.

Add a remote repository

Run the following command:

git remote add origin

Replace username with your GitHub username (or the username of the project). Replace repository-name with the name of the project.

Pull in the GitHub repository files

Now we have a remote branch under origin/master. We can pull it into our existing local master branch by doing the following:

git checkout master        <-- Switch to master branch
git fetch origin           <-- Pull down new GitHub repository files (usually just license and readme)
git merge origin/master    <-- Merge these files into our local branch

Push our existing project onto GitHub

Now that we have all it all merged in we can push our existing project onto GitHub:

git push origin master     <-- master is optional as git defaults to pushing master

Now all the files in our git repository will be available on GitHub. That’s all there is to it!