How to Connect Visual Studio IDE to GitLab Repositories

Visual Studio is a popular integrated development environment (IDE) used by developers to build applications on the .NET platform. GitLab is a web-based DevOps platform that provides a Git repository manager with additional tools to enhance the software development lifecycle.

Connecting Visual Studio to GitLab repositories allows you to seamlessly manage your source code from within the IDE. This brings key benefits like:

  • Commit, push and pull code changes to GitLab
  • Create and switch between branches
  • View diffs and merge requests
  • Track issues and link them to code


Before connecting Visual Studio to your GitLab repositories, ensure that:

  • You have access to a GitLab instance where your repositories are hosted. This could be for public repos or a self-managed GitLab server for private repos.
  • You have installed the latest version of Visual Studio IDE on your machine.
  • The GitLab repositories you want to connect have been created.

Install the GitLab Extension

Visual Studio does not have native support for connecting to GitLab. So you need to install the open source GitLab Extension for Visual Studio from the Visual Studio Marketplace.

To install it:

  1. In Visual Studio, go to Extensions > Manage Extensions
  2. Search for “GitLab” and install the GitLab Extension for Visual Studio

Configure the Extension

Once installed, you need to configure the extension by providing access to your GitLab account:

  1. Go to Tools > Options > GitLab in Visual Studio
  2. Click on Connect beside the GitLab server URL
  3. Enter your GitLab username and personal access token
  4. Ensure API Version is set to API v4
  5. Click Verify and Save to connect

You can connect to multiple GitLab server instances from the options page.

Clone a GitLab Repository

With the extension set up, you can now clone GitLab repositories into Visual Studio:

  1. Go to Team Explorer > Manage Connections > Connect to a Project
  2. Select the GitLab server instance
  3. Choose the repository to clone and local path
  4. Click Clone button

This will clone the repository and open it in Visual Studio.

Work with GitLab Repositories

Once connected to a GitLab repository, you can seamlessly work with source code while taking advantage of GitLab’s features:

  • Make code changes and commit them to GitLab by going to Changes section in Team Explorer
  • Push changes to remote repository on GitLab through Sync section
  • Pull latest changes from GitLab repo with the Pull button
  • Switch between branches by going to Branches section
  • Create new branches to work on features
  • View diffs for files changed
  • Create and view merge requests within Team Explorer
  • Attach issues to code by adding #issueid
  • And more…

The extension also adds useful menus like GitLab and Open on GitLab that help navigate to the online GitLab repository with just a click.


Here are solutions for common problems faced when connecting Visual Studio to GitLab:

  • Invalid URL error: Ensure the Git remote URL is in format
  • Authentication failed: Double check username and access token provided in options.
  • Certificate errors: Install root SSL certificate for self-signed certs on GitLab server.

You can also report issues and contribute fixes to the GitLab Visual Studio Extension project.


The GitLab Extension for Visual Studio makes it easy to use GitLab repositories from within the IDE. After installing and configuring it once, you can seamlessly manage source code on GitLab projects.

Key highlights include cloning repositories, handling commits and branches, creating merge requests and issues, and navigating to the online GitLab repository.

This boosts productivity by reducing context switching between tools. We encourage you to try it out and incorporate it into your developer workflow.