Commit message templates

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GitLab uses commit templates to create default messages for specific types of commits. These templates encourage commit messages to follow a particular format, or contain specific information. Users can override these templates when merging a merge request.

The commit template syntax is like the syntax for review suggestions.

GitLab Duo can also help you generate merge commit messages even if you don’t configure templates.

Configure commit templates

Change the commit templates for your project if the default templates don’t contain the information you need.


  • You must have at least the Maintainer role for a project.

To do this:

  1. On the left sidebar, select Search or go to and find your project.
  2. Select Settings > Merge requests.
  3. Depending on the template type you want to create, scroll to either Merge commit message template or Squash commit message template.
  4. For your desired commit type, enter your default message. You can use both static text and variables. Each template is limited to 500 characters, though after replacing the templates with data, the final message might be longer.
  5. Select Save changes.

Default template for merge commits

The default template for merge commit messages is:

Merge branch '%{source_branch}' into '%{target_branch}'



See merge request %{reference}

Default template for squash commits

If you have configured your project to squash commits on merge, GitLab creates a squash commit message with this template:


Supported variables in commit templates

  • reviewed_by variable introduced in GitLab 15.7.
  • local_reference variable introduced in GitLab 16.1.
  • source_project_id variables introduced in GitLab 16.3.

Commit message templates support these variables:

Variable Description Output example
%{source_branch} The name of the branch to merge. my-feature-branch
%{target_branch} The name of the branch to apply the changes to. main
%{title} Title of the merge request. Fix tests and translations
%{issues} String with phrase Closes <issue numbers>. Contains all issues mentioned in the merge request description that match issue closing patterns. Empty if no issues are mentioned. Closes #465, #190 and #400
%{description} Description of the merge request. Merge request description.
Can be multiline.
%{reference} Reference to the merge request. group-name/project-name!72359
%{local_reference} Local reference to the merge request. !72359
%{source_project_id} ID of the merge request’s source project. 123
%{first_commit} Full message of the first commit in merge request diff. Update
%{first_multiline_commit} Full message of the first commit that’s not a merge commit and has more than one line in message body. Merge request title if all commits aren’t multiline. Update

Improved project description in readme file.
%{url} Full URL to the merge request.
%{reviewed_by} Line-separated list of the merge request reviewers, based on users who submit a review via batch comments, in a Reviewed-by Git commit trailer format. Reviewed-by: Sidney Jones <>
Reviewed-by: Zhang Wei <>
%{approved_by} Line-separated list of the merge request approvers in a Approved-by Git commit trailer format. Approved-by: Sidney Jones <>
Approved-by: Zhang Wei <>
%{merged_by} User who merged the merge request. Alex Garcia <>
%{co_authored_by} Names and emails of commit authors in a Co-authored-by Git commit trailer format. Limited to authors of 100 most recent commits in merge request. Co-authored-by: Zane Doe <>
Co-authored-by: Blake Smith <>
%{all_commits} Messages from all commits in the merge request. Limited to 100 most recent commits. Skips commit bodies exceeding 100 KiB and merge commit messages. * Feature introduced

This commit implements feature

* Bug fixed

* Documentation improved

This commit introduced better docs.

Any line containing only an empty variable is removed. If the removed line is both preceded and followed by an empty line, the preceding empty line is also removed.

After you edit a commit message on an open merge request, GitLab automatically updates the commit message again. To restore the commit message to the project template, reload the page.