GitHub Tips and Tricks

GitHub Tips and Tricks
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I started using Git and GitHub for docs in 2019. It’s been a slow build, but I’ve finally started to learn some helpful ways of going about things. So there are two GitHub specific tips I want to share with you that have helped me out in my day to day.

Choose where a repo’s notifications go

For the longest time, I just let all of my notifications go to whichever default email address I had defined. This meant that all of my GitHub notifications wound up going to my work email, because work had the majority of the notifications.

Generally this was a fine setup.

Until it wasn’t.

Eventually, I started participating and contributing to repos that were not work related. I had my own repo for this very blog you’re reading. I started helping out with the Write the Docs web site. And slowly but surely a few other repos that have nothing to do with work, but I still want notifications for.

It turns out that you can have multiple email accounts attached to your GitHub profile. And, once you have those multiple emails set up, you can choose which repo sends to which email address.

Now, work repos go to my work email and all of the othe repos I watch or am involved with go to a personal email address.

Interested? Let’s get it on!

Set up email addresses for GitHub

The first step is to set up your email addresses for your GitHub account.

If you’re signed in, just go to and you’re there. If you like to know how to find it through the web site’s navigation, that’s profile picture in the top right -> settings -> emails and you’re there.

On this page, you can do a couple of things.

  1. First, add your email addresses.

  2. Once you have your email addresses added, select your Primary Email.

    This should be the one that most of the repos you are involved in should send email to.

    (Note: This is not necessarily the repo that is the most active. Your work email might be the most active, but you may have more repos of personal interest that you follow. Whichever address has the most repos is the one to mark as the primary.)

While you’re here, check out the rest of the options on the page. Maybe you only want to be notified when you’re subscribed, for instance. Or, maybe you don’t want your email address to be public on every commit.

Once you’re satisfied with your email addresses and settings, click that Save email preferences button.

Set up custom routing

Now that you’ve set up your email addresses and options, you can also tell GitHub which organizations should send emails to different addresses.

For me, my personal email is my default address. But I want notifications from my work organization to go to my work email address.

If you’re still on the email settings page, click on the Notifications tab from the left navigation panel. If you’re not, you can go to profile picture -> settings -> notifications or just click on

Set your default email address (mine is set to a personal email). (Though you already did this from the email page, right?)

Once you have that set, then click on Custom routing. It’s on this page where you can send notifications from certain organizations to a different email address than your default.

  1. Tap that Add new route button.
  2. Select an organization you belong to.
  3. Select the email address that org’s notifications should go to (I selected my work email).
  4. Click Save.

And, voilà! Emails from that organization (such as notifications) now go to a different address than your default.

If you belong to multiple organizations, you can set up a different rule for each one.

Receive email notifications for releases

If there are projects you use and enjoy, you may want to know when the project releases something new. You can do this easily for any repo that you watch.

  1. Go to the repo page in GitHub
  2. Select the Watch option in the top right
  3. Select the dropdown arrow next to the now Unwatch button
  4. Select Custom
  5. Select the checkmark for Releases (or anything else you want to follow)
  6. Select Apply

Now, any time the project has an activity that you selected (a release, in my case), you’ll get an email about it!

Do you have a favorite GitHub tip?

What about you? If you have a favorite GitHub tip, let me know about it. I’m on Mastodon at and would love to connect and hear from you!