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Changelog generation has never been so easy

Fully automated changelog generation - This gem generates a changelog file based on tags, issues and merged pull requests (and splits them into separate lists according to labels) from :octocat: GitHub.

Since you don't have to fill your manually now: just run the script, relax and take a cup of :coffee: before your next release! :tada:

What’s the point of a changelog?

To make it easier for users and contributors to see precisely what notable changes have been made between each release (or version) of the project.

Why should I care?

Because software tools are for people. "Changelogs make it easier for users and contributors to see precisely what notable changes have been made between each release (or version) of the project."



GitHub Changelog Generator is a Ruby program, distributed as a RubyGem. The Ruby language homepage has an Installation page.

Install the gem like:

$ gem install github_changelog_generator

Depending on your system, you may need to run the shell as an Administrator (Windows), or use sudo gem install github_changelog_generator (Linux).


Running with CLI:

   github_changelog_generator -u github_project_namespace -p github_project

(where the project namespace is likely your username if it's a project you own, but it could also be the namespace of the project)

Running with Docker

Using Docker is an alternative to installing Ruby and the gem.

Example invocation:

$ docker run -it --rm -v "$(pwd)":/usr/local/src/your-app githubchangeloggenerator/github-changelog-generator

This generates a, with pretty Markdown formatting.

Output example

1.2.5 (2015-01-15)

Full Changelog

Implemented enhancements:

  • Use milestone to specify in which version bug was fixed #22

Fixed bugs:

  • Error when trying to generate log for repo without tags #32

Merged pull requests:

  • PrettyPrint class is included using lowercase 'pp' #43 (schwing)

  • support enterprise github via command line options #42 (glenlovett)


Print help for all command-line options to learn more details:

$ github_changelog_generator --help

For more details about params, read the Wiki page: Advanced changelog generation examples

Params File

In your project root, you can put a params file named .github_changelog_generator to override default params:



GitHub token

GitHub only allows 50 unauthenticated requests per hour.

Therefore, it's recommended to run this script with authentication by using a token.

Here's how:

  • Generate a token here - you only need "repo" scope for private repositories
  • Either:
    • Run the script with --token <your-40-digit-token>; OR
    • Set the CHANGELOG_GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable to your 40 digit token

You can set an environment variable by running the following command at the prompt, or by adding it to your shell profile (e.g., .env, ~/.bash_profile, ~/.zshrc, etc):

export CHANGELOG_GITHUB_TOKEN="«your-40-digit-github-token»"

So, if you get a message like this:

API rate limit exceeded for github_username.

It's time to create this token! (Or, wait an hour for GitHub to reset your unauthenticated request limit.)

Migrating from a manual changelog

Knowing how dedicated you are to your project, you probably haven't been waiting for github-changelog-generator to keep a changelog. But you probably don't want your project's open issues and PRs for all past features listed in your historic changelog, either.

That's where --base <> comes in handy! This option lets append your old manual changelog to the end of the generated entries.

If you have a file in your project, it will automatically be picked as the static historical changelog and appended.

Rake task

You love rake? We do, too! So, we've made it even easier for you: we've provided a rake task library for your changelog generation.

Configure the task in your Rakefile:

require 'github_changelog_generator/task' :changelog do |config|
  config.user = 'username'
  config.project = 'project-name'
  config.since_tag = '0.1.14'
  config.future_release = '0.2.0'

All command-line options can be passed to the rake task as config parameters. And since you're naming the rake task yourself, you can create as many as you want.

You can look for params names from the parser source code (#setup_parser). For example, to translate the bugs label to Portuguese, instead of setting config.bugs_label, you have to set config.bug_prefix, and so on.

Features and advantages of this project

  • Generate canonical, neat changelog file, with default sections that follow basic changelog guidelines :gem:
  • Optionally generate Unreleased changes (closed issues that have not released yet) :dizzy:
  • GitHub Enterprise support via command line options! :factory:
  • Flexible format customization:
    • Customize issues that should be added to changelog :eight_spoked_asterisk:
    • Custom date formats supported (but keep ISO 8601 in mind!) :date:
    • Manually specify the version that fixed an issue (for cases when the issue's Closed date doesn't match) by giving the issue's milestone the same name as the tag of version :pushpin:
    • Automatically exclude specific issues that are irrelevant to your changelog (by default, any issue labeled question, duplicate, invalid, or wontfix) :scissors:
  • Distinguish issues by labels. :mag_right:

    • Merged pull requests (all merged pull-requests) :twisted_rightwards_arrows:
    • Bug fixes (issues labeled bug) :beetle:
    • Enhancements (issues labeled enhancement) :star2:
    • Issues (closed issues with no labels) :non-potable_water:
  • Manually include or exclude issues by labels :wrench:

  • Customize lots more! Tweak the changelog to fit your preferences :tophat: (See github_changelog_generator --help for details)

Using the summary section feature

For each version, you can add a release summary with text, images, gif animations, etc, and show new features and notes clearly to the user. This is done using GitHub metadata.

Example: adding the release summary for v1.0.0:

  1. Create a new GitHub Issue
  2. In the Issue's Description field, add your release summary content ``` image

Hello, World! :tada:

3. Set the Issue Label `release-summary` and add it to the GitHub Milestone `v1.0.0`
4. Close the Issue and execute `github-changelog-generator`
5. The result looks like this:
> ## [v1.0.0]( (2014-11-07)
> [Full Changelog](
> ![image](
> Hello, World! :tada:
> **Implemented enhancements:**
> - Add some features

### Alternatives

Here is a [wikipage list of alternatives]( that I found. But none satisfied my requirements.

*If you know other projects, feel free to edit this Wiki page!*

### Projects using this library

Here's a [wikipage list of projects](

If you've used this project in a live app, please let me know! Nothing makes me happier than seeing someone else take my work and go wild with it.

*If you are using `github_changelog_generator` to generate your project's changelog, or know of other projects using it, please [add it to this list](*

## Am I missing some essential feature?

- **Nothing is impossible!**

- Open an [issue]( and let's make the generator better together!

- *Bug reports, feature requests, patches, and well-wishes are always welcome.* :heavy_exclamation_mark:

## FAQ

- ***I already use GitHub Releases. Why do I need this?***

GitHub Releases is a very good thing. And it's very good practice to maintain it. (Not a lot of people are using it yet!) :congratulations:

*BTW: I would like to support GitHub Releases in [next releases]( ;)*

I'm not trying to compare the quality of handwritten and auto-generated logs. That said....

An auto-generated changelog really helps, even if you manually fill in the release notes!

- ***My Ruby version is very old, can I use this?***

When your Ruby is old, and you don't want to upgrade, and you want to
control which libraries you use, you can use Bundler.

In a Gemfile, perhaps in a non-deployed `:development` group, add this

group :development do
  gem 'github_changelog_generator', require: false

Then you can keep back dependencies like rack, which currently is only compatible with Ruby >= 2.2.2. So, use an older version for your app by adding a line like this to the Gemfile:

gem 'rack', '~> 1.6'

This way, you can keep on using github_changelog_generator, even if you can't get the latest version of Ruby installed.

  • Windows: 1.14.x wants to create a file on an invalid path. Why?

Windows: v1.14.0 introduced a bug where it attempts to create /tmp/github_changelog-logger.log... which isn't a valid path on Windows and thus fails

Workaround: Create a C:\tmp.


Would you like to contribute to this project? has all the details on how to do that.

Contact us

Join the chat at gitter : github-changelog-generator


GitHub Changelog Generator is released under the MIT License.