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Custom group-level project templates

DETAILS: Tier: Premium, Ultimate Offering: SaaS, self-managed

When you create a project, you can choose from a list of templates. These templates, for things like GitLab Pages or Ruby, populate the new project with a copy of the files contained in the template. This information is identical to the information used by GitLab project import/export and can help you start a new project more quickly.

You can customize the list of available templates, so that all projects in your group have the same list. To do this, you populate a subgroup with the projects you want to use as templates.

You can also configure custom templates for the instance.

Set up group-level project templates


  • You must have the Owner role for the group.

To set up custom project templates in a group, add the subgroup that contains the project templates to the group settings:

  1. In the group, create a subgroup.
  2. Add projects to the new subgroup as your templates.
  3. In the left menu for the group, select Settings > General.
  4. Expand Custom project templates and select the subgroup.

The next time a group member creates a project, they can select any of the projects in the subgroup.

Projects in nested subgroups are not included in the template list.

Which projects are available as templates

  • Public and internal projects can be selected by any authenticated user as a template for a new project, if all project features except for GitLab Pages and Security and Compliance are set to Everyone With Access.
  • Private projects can be selected only by users who are members of the projects.

Example structure

Here's a sample group and project structure for project templates, for myorganization:

# GitLab instance and group
    # Subgroups
    # Subgroup for handling project templates
            # Project templates

        # Other projects

What is copied from the templates

The entire custom instance-level project templates repository is copied, including:

  • Branches
  • Commits
  • Tags

If the user:

  • Has the Owner role on the custom instance-level project templates project or is a GitLab administrator, all project settings are copied over to the new project.
  • Doesn't have the Owner role or is not a GitLab administrator, project deploy keys and project webhooks aren't copied over because they contain sensitive data.

To learn more about what is migrated, see Items that are exported.

User assignments in templates

When you use a template created by another user, any items that were assigned to a user in the template are reassigned to you. It's important to understand this reassignment when you configure security features like protected branches and tags. For example, if the template contains a protected branch:

  • In the template, the branch allows the template owner to merge into the default branch.
  • In the project created from the template, the branch allows you to merge into the default branch.


Administrator cannot see custom group-level project templates when creating a project

Custom group-level project templates are only available to group members. If the administrator account you are using is not a member of a group, you can't access the templates.