Personal notes for preparing for the GitHub Actions Certification

Using Workflows: Workflow Commands

Configuration Variables

You can create configuration variables for use across multiple workflows, and can define them at either the organization, repository, or environment level.

Grouping log lines

Makes a collapsible section in the log. Use the ::group:: command with a title to make a group. Anything you print to the log from the group to the ::endgroup:: commands is inside a collapsible entry in the log.

    runs-on: ubuntu-latest
      - name: Group of log lines
        run: |
            echo "::group::My title"
            echo "Inside group"
            echo "::endgroup::"

Creating starter workflows for your organization

Starter workflows help anyone in your organization who can create workflows to do it faster and simpler. When you make a new workflow, you can pick a starter workflow and some or all of the workflow will be written for you. You can use starter workflows as a base to create your own workflow or use them without changes. This saves time, and also encourages consistency and best practice across your organization.

Create a metadata file inside the workflow-templates directory. The metadata file must have the same name as the workflow file, but instead of the .yml extension, it must be appended with .properties.json. For example, this file named contains the metadata for a workflow file named octo-organization-ci.yml.

    "name": "Octo Organization Workflow",
    "description": "Octo Organization CI starter workflow.",
    "iconName": "example-icon",
    "categories": [
    "filePatterns": [
Context name Type Description
name object Information about the workflow run. For more information, see github context.
description object Contains variables set in a workflow, job, or step. For more information, see env context.
iconname object Contains variables set at the repository, organization, or environment levels. For more information, see vars context.
categories object Information about the currently running job. For more information, see job context.
filePatterns object For reusable workflows only, contains outputs of jobs from the reusable workflow. For more information, see jobs context.

Adding a job summary

echo "{markdown content}" >> $GITHUB_STEP_SUMMARY

You can customize the Markdown for each job so that it appears on the summary page of a workflow run. Job summaries let you display and organize different content, such as test result summaries, so that someone who is looking at the result of a workflow run can see important information related to the run, such as failures, without having to look at the logs.

Job summaries support GitHub flavored Markdown, and you can add your Markdown content for a step to the GITHUB_STEP_SUMMARY environment file. GITHUB_STEP_SUMMARY is specific to each step in a job. For more information about the per-step file that GITHUB_STEP_SUMMARY refers to, see “Environment files.”

When a job is done, the summaries for all steps in a job are combined into a single job summary and are shown on the workflow run summary page. If more than one job generates summaries, the job summaries are sorted by job completion time.

Trigger workflow that requires manual approval by a user

To run a particular job in a workflow on demand, you can set up an environment that needs approval from a specific team or user. First, create an environment with required reviewers. Then, use the “environment:” key to mention the environment name in a job in your workflow. Any job that refers to the environment will wait until at least one reviewer approves the job.

To specify a certain person or team that must approve workflow jobs that use the environment, use required reviewers. You can name up to six users or teams as reviewers. The reviewers need to have read access to the repository at least. The job can continue if one of the required reviewers approves it.

Manage workflow runs

Re-run workflows and jobs

Up to 30 days after a workflow run first runs, you can run it again, only run the jobs that failed in it, or run certain jobs in it. Used needs write permissions to re-run workflows in the repository.

Re-running a workflow or jobs in a workflow uses the same GITHUB_SHA (commit SHA) and GITHUB_REF (Git ref) of the original event that triggered the workflow run. The workflow will use the privileges of the actor who initially triggered the workflow, not the privileges of the actor who initiated the re-run. You can re-run a workflow or jobs in a workflow for up to 30 days after the initial run. You cannot re-run jobs in a workflow once its logs have passed their retention limits.

Reuse workflows


  • You can connect up to four levels of workflows.
  • You can call a maximum of 20 unique reusable workflows from a single workflow file. This limit includes any trees of nested reusable workflows that may be called starting from your top-level caller workflow file.
    • For example, top-level-caller-workflow.yml → called-workflow-1.yml → called-workflow-2.yml counts as 2 reusable workflows.
  • Any environment variables set in an env context defined at the workflow level in the caller workflow are not propagated to the called workflow.
  • Similarly, environment variables set in the env context, defined in the called workflow, are not accessible in the env context of the caller workflow. Instead, you must use outputs of the reusable workflow.
  • To reuse variables in multiple workflows, set them at the organization, repository, or environment levels and reference them using the vars context.
  • Reusable workflows are called directly within a job, and not from within a job step. You cannot, therefore, use GITHUB_ENV to pass values to job steps in the caller workflow.