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