git add existing local repository folder to submodule

From repository subdirectory to git submodule

The following steps are based on the repository introduced in the previous section. They will explain how to turn a subdirectory of a project into an independent git repository and how to use this new repository as submodule, a foreign repository embedded within a dedicated subdirectory of the source tree of a project.

Folder structure example

# this is parent repository
# this is another local repository

Make a backup

IMPORTANT to make a backup both of folders. compress zip them (master and other).

Copy .git folder

Copy the .git folder from the local folder repository to the parent repository. .git/modules.


# copy ~/other/.git to ~/master/.git/modules/other/.git
cp ~/other/.git ~/master/.git/modules/other/

Copy repository folder

Copy the other local repository to the parent repository.


# copy ~/other to ~/master/other
cp ~/other ~/master/

Create .git file

Create .git file instead of folder. input following codes:

gitdir: ../.git/modules/other

make sure ../.git/modules/other is located to ~/master/.git/modules/other/.git/modules/other.

Add .gitmodules

add .gitmodules to the parent repository

touch ~/master/.gitmodules

put following codes to .gitmodules

[submodule "<path subfolder>"]
  path = <path subfolder>
  url = <url github repository>
  branch = <branch name of other local repository>


[submodule "other"]
  path = other
  url =
  branch = posts

Execute command line

git submodule absorbgitdirs
git submodule update --remote

incoming terms:

  • git add subfolder repository to submodule
  • git add submodule from subfolder
    • git add other subfolder git to submodule
    • git move other repository as submodule