Skip to main content

Automatically generated release notes

You can automatically generate release notes for your GitHub releases

Who can use this feature

Repository collaborators and people with write access to a repository can generate and customize automated release notes for a release.

About automatically generated release notes

Automatically generated release notes provide an automated alternative to manually writing release notes for your GitHub releases. With automatically generated release notes, you can quickly generate an overview of the contents of a release. Automatically generated release notes include a list of merged pull requests, a list of contributors to the release, and a link to a full changelog.

You can also customize your automated release notes, using labels to create custom categories to organize pull requests you want to include, and exclude certain labels and users from appearing in the output.

Creating automatically generated release notes for a new release

  1. On, navigate to the main page of the repository.

  2. To the right of the list of files, click Releases. Releases section in right-hand sidebar

  3. Click Draft a new release. Releases draft button

  4. Click Choose a tag and type a version number for your release. Alternatively, select an existing tag.

    Enter a tag

  5. If you are creating a new tag, click Create new tag. Confirm you want to create a new tag

  6. If you have created a new tag, use the drop-down menu to select the branch that contains the project you want to release. Choose a branch

  7. Optionally, to the top right of the description text box, select the Previous tag drop-down menu and click the tag that identifies the previous release. Screenshot showing how to select a tag to identify the previous release

  8. To the top right of the description text box, click Generate release notes. Generate release notes

  9. Check the generated notes to ensure they include all (and only) the information you want to include.

  10. Optionally, to include binary files such as compiled programs in your release, drag and drop or manually select files in the binaries box. Providing a DMG with the Release

  11. To notify users that the release is not ready for production and may be unstable, select This is a pre-release. Checkbox to mark a release as prerelease

  12. Optionally, select Create a discussion for this release, then select the Category drop-down menu and click a category for the release discussion. Checkbox to create a release discussion and drop-down menu to choose a category

  13. If you're ready to publicize your release, click Publish release. To work on the release later, click Save draft. Publish release and Draft release buttons

Configuring automatically generated release notes

  1. On, navigate to the main page of the repository.
  2. Above the list of files, using the Add file drop-down, click Create new file. "Create new file" in the "Add file" dropdown
  3. In the file name field, type .github/release.yml to create the release.yml file in the .github directory. Create new file
  4. In the file, using the configuration options below, specify in YAML the pull request labels and authors you want to exclude from this release. You can also create new categories and list the pull request labels to be included in each of them.

Configuration options

changelog.exclude.labelsA list of labels that exclude a pull request from appearing in release notes.
changelog.exclude.authorsA list of user or bot login handles whose pull requests are to be excluded from release notes.
changelog.categories[*].titleRequired. The title of a category of changes in release notes.
changelog.categories[*].labelsRequired. Labels that qualify a pull request for this category. Use * as a catch-all for pull requests that didn't match any of the previous categories.
changelog.categories[*].exclude.labelsA list of labels that exclude a pull request from appearing in this category.
changelog.categories[*].exclude.authorsA list of user or bot login handles whose pull requests are to be excluded from this category.

Example configurations

A configuration for a repository that labels semver releases

# .github/release.yml

      - ignore-for-release
      - octocat
    - title: Breaking Changes 🛠
        - Semver-Major
        - breaking-change
    - title: Exciting New Features 🎉
        - Semver-Minor
        - enhancement
    - title: Other Changes
        - "*"

A configuration for a repository that doesn't tag pull requests but where we want to separate out Dependabot automated pull requests in release notes (labels: '*' is required to display a catchall category)

# .github/release.yml

    - title: 🏕 Features
        - '*'
          - dependencies
    - title: 👒 Dependencies
        - dependencies

Further reading