gitignore - Specifies intentionally untracked files to ignore
$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/git/ignore, $GIT_DIR/info/exclude, .gitignore
A gitignore file specifies intentionally untracked files that Git should
ignore. Files already tracked by Git are not affected; see the NOTES below for
Each line in a gitignore file specifies a pattern. When
deciding whether to ignore a path, Git normally checks gitignore
patterns from multiple sources, with the following order of precedence, from
highest to lowest (within one level of precedence, the last matching pattern
decides the outcome):
•Patterns read from the command line for those
commands that support them.
•Patterns read from a .gitignore file in
the same directory as the path, or in any parent directory, with patterns in
the higher level files (up to the toplevel of the work tree) being overridden
by those in lower level files down to the directory containing the file. These
patterns match relative to the location of the .gitignore file. A
project normally includes such .gitignore files in its repository,
containing patterns for files generated as part of the project build.
•Patterns read from
•Patterns read from the file specified by the
configuration variable core.excludesFile.
Which file to place a pattern in depends on how the pattern is
meant to be used.
•Patterns which should be version-controlled and
distributed to other repositories via clone (i.e., files that all developers
will want to ignore) should go into a .gitignore file.
•Patterns which are specific to a particular
repository but which do not need to be shared with other related repositories
(e.g., auxiliary files that live inside the repository but are specific to one
user’s workflow) should go into the $GIT_DIR/info/exclude
•Patterns which a user wants Git to ignore in all
situations (e.g., backup or temporary files generated by the user’s
editor of choice) generally go into a file specified by
core.excludesFile in the user’s ~/.gitconfig. Its default
value is $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/git/ignore. If $XDG_CONFIG_HOME is either not set or
empty, $HOME/.config/git/ignore is used instead.
The underlying Git plumbing tools, such as git ls-files and
git read-tree, read gitignore patterns specified by
command-line options, or from files specified by command-line options.
Higher-level Git tools, such as git status and git add, use
patterns from the sources specified above.
•A blank line matches no files, so it can serve as
a separator for readability.
•A line starting with # serves as a comment. Put a
backslash ("\") in front of the first hash for patterns that
begin with a hash.
•Trailing spaces are ignored unless they are
quoted with backslash ("\").
•An optional prefix "!" which
negates the pattern; any matching file excluded by a previous pattern will
become included again. It is not possible to re-include a file if a parent
directory of that file is excluded. Git doesn’t list excluded
directories for performance reasons, so any patterns on contained files have
no effect, no matter where they are defined. Put a backslash
("\") in front of the first "!" for patterns
that begin with a literal "!", for example,
•The slash / is used as the directory
separator. Separators may occur at the beginning, middle or end of the
.gitignore search pattern.
•If there is a separator at the beginning or
middle (or both) of the pattern, then the pattern is relative to the directory
level of the particular .gitignore file itself. Otherwise the pattern
may also match at any level below the .gitignore level.
•If there is a separator at the end of the pattern
then the pattern will only match directories, otherwise the pattern can match
both files and directories.
•For example, a pattern doc/frotz/ matches
doc/frotz directory, but not a/doc/frotz directory; however
frotz/ matches frotz and a/frotz that is a directory (all
paths are relative from the .gitignore file).
•An asterisk "*" matches anything
except a slash. The character "?" matches any one character
except "/". The range notation, e.g. [a-zA-Z], can be
used to match one of the characters in a range. See fnmatch(3) and the
FNM_PATHNAME flag for a more detailed description.
Two consecutive asterisks ("**") in patterns
matched against full pathname may have special meaning:
•A leading "**" followed by a
slash means match in all directories. For example, "**/foo"
matches file or directory "foo" anywhere, the same as pattern
"foo". "**/foo/bar" matches file or
directory "bar" anywhere that is directly under directory
•A trailing "/**" matches
everything inside. For example, "abc/**" matches all files
inside directory "abc", relative to the location of the
.gitignore file, with infinite depth.
•A slash followed by two consecutive asterisks
then a slash matches zero or more directories. For example,
"a/**/b" matches "a/b",
"a/x/b", "a/x/y/b" and so on.
•Other consecutive asterisks are considered
regular asterisks and will match according to the previous rules.
The optional configuration variable core.excludesFile indicates a path to
a file containing patterns of file names to exclude, similar to
$GIT_DIR/info/exclude. Patterns in the exclude file are used in
addition to those in $GIT_DIR/info/exclude.
The purpose of gitignore files is to ensure that certain files not tracked by
Git remain untracked.
To stop tracking a file that is currently tracked, use git rm
Git does not follow symbolic links when accessing a
.gitignore file in the working tree. This keeps behavior consistent
when the file is accessed from the index or a tree versus from the
•The pattern hello.* matches any file or
folder whose name begins with hello.. If one wants to restrict this
only to the directory and not in its subdirectories, one can prepend the
pattern with a slash, i.e. /hello.*; the pattern now matches
hello.txt, hello.c but not a/hello.java.
•The pattern foo/ will match a directory
foo and paths underneath it, but will not match a regular file or a
symbolic link foo (this is consistent with the way how pathspec works
in general in Git)
•The pattern doc/frotz and
/doc/frotz have the same effect in any .gitignore file. In other
words, a leading slash is not relevant if there is already a middle slash in
•The pattern "foo/*", matches
"foo/test.json" (a regular file), "foo/bar" (a directory),
but it does not match "foo/bar/hello.c" (a regular file), as the
asterisk in the pattern does not match "bar/hello.c" which has a
slash in it.
$ git status
# Untracked files:
$ cat .git/info/exclude
# ignore objects and archives, anywhere in the tree.
$ cat Documentation/.gitignore
# ignore generated html files,
# except foo.html which is maintained by hand
$ git status
# Untracked files:
$ cat .gitignore
$ ls arch/foo/kernel/vm*
$ echo '!/vmlinux*' >arch/foo/kernel/.gitignore
The second .gitignore prevents Git from ignoring
Example to exclude everything except a specific directory
foo/bar (note the /* - without the slash, the wildcard would
also exclude everything within foo/bar):
$ cat .gitignore
# exclude everything except directory foo/bar