github-token: Get help with GitHub personal access tokens

github-tokenR Documentation

Get help with GitHub personal access tokens


A personal access token (PAT) is needed for certain tasks usethis does via the GitHub API, such as creating a repository, a fork, or a pull request. If you use HTTPS remotes, your PAT is also used when interacting with GitHub as a conventional Git remote. These functions help you get and manage your PAT:

  • gh_token_help() guides you through token troubleshooting and setup.

  • create_github_token() opens a browser window to the GitHub form to generate a PAT, with suggested scopes pre-selected. It also offers advice on storing your PAT.

  • gitcreds::gitcreds_set() helps you register your PAT with the Git credential manager used by your operating system. Later, other packages, such as usethis, gert, and gh can automatically retrieve that PAT and use it to work with GitHub on your behalf.

Usually, the first time the PAT is retrieved in an R session, it is cached in an environment variable, for easier reuse for the duration of that R session. After initial acquisition and storage, all of this should happen automatically in the background. GitHub is encouraging the use of PATs that expire after, e.g., 30 days, so prepare yourself to re-generate and re-store your PAT periodically.

Git/GitHub credential management is covered in a dedicated article: Managing Git(Hub) Credentials


  scopes = c("repo", "user", "gist", "workflow"),
  description = "DESCRIBE THE TOKEN'S USE CASE",
  host = NULL

gh_token_help(host = NULL)



Character vector of token scopes, pre-selected in the web form. Final choices are made in the GitHub form. Read more about GitHub API scopes at


Short description or nickname for the token. You might (eventually) have multiple tokens on your GitHub account and a label can help you keep track of what each token is for.


GitHub host to target, passed to the .api_url argument of gh::gh(). If unspecified, gh defaults to "", although gh's default can be customised by setting the GITHUB_API_URL environment variable.

For a hypothetical GitHub Enterprise instance, either "" or "" is acceptable.


create_github_token() has previously gone by some other names: browse_github_token() and browse_github_pat().



See Also

gh::gh_whoami() for information on an existing token and gitcreds::gitcreds_set() and gitcreds::gitcreds_get() for a secure way to store and retrieve your PAT.


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usethis documentation built on July 9, 2023, 7:23 p.m.