Creating a local Subversion repository with TortoiseSVN

Posted on Thursday 12 April 2007

Did you know that you don’t need a server and an IT department to use TortoiseSVN (Subversion) for version control? Simply create a local repository on your hard drive. Here’s how…

Step 1: Create your repository

  • Browse to the location where you want to create your local Subversion repository and create a new folder for your repository, called “C:\svn_repository” (or similar).
  • Now, right-click on this folder and select TSVN Glyph.png TortoiseSVN>> Create Repository Here Glyph.png Create Repository Here…
  • You will be presented with a dialog asking what type of repository you want to create. Choose the default settings, “Native filesystem (FSFS)”.

Create FSF Repository.png

Step 2: Check out a working copy (sandbox)

  • Browse to your projects folder, for example “C:\Projects“.
  • Create a new project folder, for example “C:\Projects\My Project“.
  • Right-click on this folder and select SVN Checkout Glyph.png SVN Checkout…
  • Enter “file:///C:/svn_repository” as the URL of the repository and “C:\Projects\My Project” as the checkout directory (see screenshot, below).

Checkout Dialog.png

Tip: you can browse to your repository folder by entering “file:///C:” as the URL of the repository and then pressing the Browse File.png button, as shown below:

Browse URL.png

This will open a File Explorer dialog asking you to file your repository folder.

  • Once you have specified the URL of repository and the checkout directory, press the “OK” button.

Congratulations, you now have a project under source code control!

Step 3: Adding files to your working copy

Let’s see how TortoiseSVN works..

  • Add a new text file to to the “C:\Projects\My Project” folder.
  • Right-click on it and choose TSVN Glyph.png TortoiseSVN>> SVN Add Glyph.png Add..
  • Right-click on it, again, and choose SVN Commit Glyph.png SVN Commit.
  • Now modify the file and choose SVN Commit Glyph.png SVN Commit.

Fun, isn’t it? :)

Final Tips

  • Tip #1: You’ll want to make backups of your repository folder (C:\svn_repository). You don’t need to worry about making backups of your project folders, since every version of your project files are stored in the repository.
  • Tip #2: It is common to store multiple projects inside the same repository. We’ll talk more about the best way to organize your repository structure in a future article. Until then, have fun.

Using Subversion in LabVIEW? The JKI TortoiseSVN Tool for LabVIEW makes it easy by letting you use TortoiseSVN from inside your LabVIEW Projects and VIs.

Subversion and LabVIEW in the Enterprise : If your organization uses LabVIEW and you would like help deploying Subversion in your organization, consider hiring JKI to help get you started. You can contact us via our website.

    April 12, 2007 | 9:49 am

    Hi Jim,

    Cool. I really like your Subversion articles. Keep them coming :)

    February 24, 2008 | 6:16 pm

    Thank you so much! Makes sense after you explained how to get started.

    February 25, 2008 | 2:18 pm

    Danny: You’re welcome. I’m glad the article helped.

    June 17, 2008 | 4:46 am

    Hi, First of all thanks for this great ariticle, i want to know one thing how to use svnserve as i want to create url of repository as svn + ssh and want to access it via network from another computer.
    Thanks in Advance.

    June 17, 2008 | 4:47 am

    i am using windows XP.

    June 17, 2008 | 5:25 am

    irfan: I think that you will need to install cygwin to have an ssh server on windows. Check out this link: Setting up a Subversion server on Windows Server 2003. Good luck. Is there any reason why you want ssh instead of using apache to serve up svn over HTTPS/SSL?

    June 5, 2009 | 12:30 am

    hello jim,
    Cool job .Great ;)

    September 25, 2010 | 3:34 pm

    Can you tell us more about Tip #2 (multiple projects in the same repository)?

    September 27, 2010 | 8:19 am


    You can organize your repository with multiple projects. Just create a structure like:



    October 7, 2011 | 6:19 am

    nice one. the hint for local paths helped a lot!

    October 22, 2011 | 11:39 am

    your article is basically the same as “Getting Started” in TortoiseSVN….now what about an exisiting folder with ONLY SELECTED files that I want to version-control ? can you show that ?

    Nikunj Undhad
    January 24, 2013 | 1:01 am

    We five friends are working on same project and our PC are connected with LAN.
    so can u please explain me how can we used SVN ?
    how to setup SVN fol LAN and also how to take project from Subversion Repository.

    January 24, 2013 | 11:07 am

    Hi Nikunj,

    You might want to check out Visual SVN as a server for your team:


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