Tutorial: Open a project from a repo

In this tutorial, you'll use Visual Studio to connect to a repository for the first time and then open a project from it.

If you haven't already installed Visual Studio, go to the Visual Studio downloads page to install it for free.

Open a project from a GitHub repo

How you open a project from a GitHub repo by using Visual Studio 2019 depends on which version you have. Specifically, if you've installed version version 16.8 or later, there's a new, more fully integrated Git experience in Visual Studio available to you.

But no matter which version you've installed, you can always open a project from a GitHub repo with Visual Studio.

Clone a GitHub repo and then open a project

  1. Open Visual Studio 2019.

  2. On the start window, select Clone a repository.

    Screenshot of the Clone a Repository dialog in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

  3. Enter or type the repository location, and then select Clone.

    Screenshot of the Clone a Repository dialog where you enter a Git repo URL in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

  4. You might be asked for your user sign-in information in the Git User Information dialog box. You can either add your information or edit the default information it provides.

    Screenshot of the Git User Information dialog where you enter or edit your account info in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

    Select Save to add the info to your global .gitconfig file. (Or, you can choose to do this later by selecting Cancel.)

    Tip

    For more information about signing in to Visual Studio, see the Sign in to Visual Studio page. And for specific information about how to use your GitHub account to sign in, see the Work with GitHub accounts in Visual Studio page.

    Next, Visual Studio automatically loads and opens the solution from the repository.

    Screenshot of a project in Git that's open in Solution Explorer in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

  5. If your repository contains multiple solutions, you will see them in Solution Explorer. You can view the list of solutions by selecting the Switch Views button in Solution Explorer.

    Screenshot of a project in Git that's open in Solution Explorer, with the Switch Views button highlighted in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

    Solution Explorer then gives you the option to open the root folder in Folder View or to select a solution file to open.

    Screenshot of the .sln file in Git that's open in Solution Explorer, after you've selected the Switch Views button in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

    To toggle the view, select the Switch Views button again.

    Tip

    You can also use the Git menu in the Visual Studio IDE to clone a repo and open a project.

    Screenshot of the Git menu in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

Open a project locally from a previously cloned GitHub repo

  1. Open Visual Studio 2019.

  2. On the start window, select Open a project or solution.

    Visual Studio opens an instance of File Explorer, where you can browse to your solution or project, and then select it to open it.

    Screenshot of the 'Open a project or solution' window in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

    If you've opened the project or solution recently, select it from the Open recent section to quickly open it again.

    Tip

    You can also use the Git menu in the Visual Studio IDE to open local folders and files from a repo that you've previously cloned.

    Screenshot of the Git menu in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later, with the Local Repositories option expanded

    Start coding!

Note

For information that's specific to Visual Studio 2017, see the Open a project from a repo in Visual Studio 2017 page.

Connect to an Azure DevOps server

What you see when you connect to an Azure DevOps server by using Visual Studio 2019 depends on which version you have. Specifically, if you've installed version version 16.8 or later, we've changed the UI to accommodate a new, more fully integrated Git experience in Visual Studio in Visual Studio.

But no matter which version you have installed, you can always connect to an Azure DevOps server with Visual Studio.

  1. Open Visual Studio 2019.

  2. On the start window, select Clone a repository.

    Screenshot of the Clone a Repository dialog in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later, for Azure DevOps

  3. In the Browse a repository section, select Azure DevOps.

    Screenshot of the 'Browse a repository' section of the The 'Connect to a Project' dialog box in Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and and later

  4. If you see a sign-in window, sign in to your account.

  5. In the Connect to a Project dialog box, choose the repo that you want to connect to, and then select Clone.

    Screenshot of the 'Connect to a Project' dialog box that's generated from Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

    Tip

    If you don't see a pre-populated list of repos to connect to, select Add Azure DevOps Server to enter a server URL. (Alternatively, you might see a "No servers found" prompt that includes links to add an existing Azure DevOps Server or to create an Azure DevOps account.)

    Next, Visual Studio opens Solution Explorer that shows the folders and files.

  6. Select the Team Explorer tab to view the Azure DevOps actions.

    Screenshot of the 'Team Explorer' dialog box that's generated from Visual Studio 2019 version 16.8 and later

Next steps

If you're ready to code with Visual Studio, dive into any of the following language-specific tutorials:

See also