GitHub Copilot Update: A Private Beta of a Code Referencing Feature

GitHub Copilot, the revolutionary tool that has transformed the way developers write code, is now stepping up its game. The platform has launched a private beta of a new feature that allows developers to see when the code suggestions they receive match code in a public repository.

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What is GitHub Copilot?

GitHub Copilot is an AI-powered coding assistant that helps developers write code more efficiently. It offers code suggestions that can sometimes match code already available in a public repository. This can be both a boon and a bane, depending on the situation.

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What is this GitHub Copilot Update About?

The new update is about giving developers more control over the code suggestions they receive. Previously, GitHub Copilot would automatically block suggestions that matched public code. However, this system was triggered less than 1% of the time. The new feature, called code referencing, allows developers to see these code fragments and decide what to do with them.

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Key Features of GitHub Copilot Now

  • Code Referencing: With code referencing turned on, GitHub Copilot won’t automatically block any matching code it generates.
  • Sidebar Display: Instead, it will display the matching code to developers in a sidebar.
  • Developer Control: Developers are given the freedom to decide whether to use it, reject it, or have Copilot rewrite the code so it doesn’t match the original code anymore.

What's the Benefits of this Update?

  • More Control: This update fills a gap in the original solution by giving developers more control over their code.
  • Library Discovery: It allows them to discover libraries they could use instead of synthesizing code.
  • Prevents Code Reproduction: It prevents them from reproducing code that already exists in some open source repository.

How to Use Code Referencing Feature in GitHub Copilot?

  1. Turn On Feature: To use the code referencing feature, developers need to turn it on in GitHub Copilot.
  2. View Sidebar: Once activated, the tool will display matching code in a sidebar whenever it generates a code suggestion.
  3. Make Decision: Developers can then decide what to do with the matching code.

When will Code Referencing Feature Open to Public?

The code referencing feature is currently in private beta. GitHub has not yet announced when it will be available to the public. However, the feature is expected to be rolled out to Copilot Chat in due course.


The new code referencing feature in GitHub Copilot is a significant step forward in giving developers more control over their code. By allowing them to see when their code suggestions match public code, GitHub Copilot is helping developers make more informed decisions and write better code.

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