Nap Joseph Calub

Software Engineer and Open Source Enthusiast

Copy Issue Labels From Another GitHub Repository

Published on March 29, 2023


If you manage multiple projects across different GitHub Organizations, you may have faced a common scenario: the need to copy GitHub issue labels from one repository to another. It used to be a manual process before, but luckily we can now use GitHub's official CLI.

##Why copy issue labels?

Here are some common scenarios when you might need to copy issue labels between projects:

  • Standardization: If your Organization requires a standard list of issue labels for all projects, copying issue labels from an existing project with the required labels ensures consistency.
  • Project Migration: When a project is moved from one Organization to another, you might want to retain the issue labels to maintain the same workflow and issue categorization.
  • Team Collaboration: If multiple teams within an Organization work on similar projects, having a unified set of issue labels for better collaboration and understanding across teams is helpful.

##Using the GitHub CLI

Before we dive into the process, make sure you have the GitHub CLI installed on your system. If you haven't installed it yet, head to and follow the installation instructions for your operating system.

You can authenticate with the CLI using:

gh auth login

Once you have the GitHub CLI installed and configured, you can copy issue labels between repositories by executing the following command:

gh label clone owner-name/source-repo-name --repo owner-name/destination-repo-name --force

Here's a breakdown of the command:

  • gh: The GitHub CLI command.
  • label: The command group for working with issue labels.
  • clone: The command to copy labels from one repository to another.
  • owner-name/source-repo-name: The source repository from which you want to copy the issue labels.
  • --repo: The flag to specify the destination repository to which the issue labels will be copied.
  • owner-name/destination-repo-name: The destination repository to which the issue labels will be copied.
  • --force: Optional flag to overwrite existing labels in the destination repository.

Documentation for the command can be found at

Once the command executes successfully, all issue labels from owner-name/source-repo-name will be copied to owner-name/destination-repo-name, ensuring that the latter now follows the Organization's standard list of issue labels.

##Creating default labels for your Organization

As an Organization owner, you can also create default labels that will be automatically included in every new repository in your Organization. This is a convenient way to standardize issue labels across all projects within your Organization.

Please refer to the GitHub documentation on Managing Default Labels for Repositories in Your Organization for detailed instructions and screenshots.

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