git – Make .gitignore ignore everything except a few files

The Question :

1864 people think this question is useful

I understand that a .gitignore file cloaks specified files from Git’s version control. I have a project (LaTeX) that generates lots of extra files (.auth, .dvi, .pdf, logs, etc) as it runs, but I don’t want those to be tracked.

I’m aware that I could (maybe should) make it so all those files are put in an separate subfolder in the project, since I could then just ignore the folder.

However, is there any feasible way to keep the output files in the root of the project tree and use .gitignore to ignore everything except the files I’m tracking with Git? Something like

# Ignore everything
*

# But not these files...
script.pl
template.latex
# etc...

The Question Comments :

The Answer 1

2674 people think this answer is useful

An optional prefix ! which negates the pattern; any matching file excluded by a previous pattern will become included again. If a negated pattern matches, this will override lower precedence patterns sources.

# Ignore everything
*

# But not these files...
!.gitignore
!script.pl
!template.latex
# etc...

# ...even if they are in subdirectories
!*/

# if the files to be tracked are in subdirectories
!*/a/b/file1.txt
!*/a/b/c/*

The Answer 2

688 people think this answer is useful

If you want to ignore the whole content of a directory except one file inside it, you could write a pair of rules for each directory in the file path. E.g. .gitignore to ignore the pippo folder except from pippo/pluto/paperino.xml

pippo/*
!pippo/pluto
pippo/pluto/*
!pippo/pluto/paperino.xml


Note that if you simply had written above:

pippo/*
!pippo/pluto/paperino.xml

It wouldn’t work because the intermediary pluto folder would not exist to Git, so paperino.xml could not find a place in which to exist.

The Answer 3

268 people think this answer is useful

You want to use /* instead of * or */ in most cases

Using * is valid, but it works recursively. It won’t look into directories from then on out. People recommend using !*/ to whitelist directories again, but it’s actually better to blacklist the highest level folder with /*

# Blacklist files/folders in same directory as the .gitignore file
/*

# Whitelist some files
!.gitignore
!README.md

# Ignore all files named .DS_Store or ending with .log
**/.DS_Store
**.log

# Whitelist folder/a/b1/ and folder/a/b2/
# trailing "/" is optional for folders, may match file though.
# "/" is NOT optional when followed by a *
!folder/
folder/*
!folder/a/
folder/a/*
!folder/a/b1/
!folder/a/b2/
!folder/a/file.txt

# Adding to the above, this also works...
!/folder/a/deeply
/folder/a/deeply/*
!/folder/a/deeply/nested
/folder/a/deeply/nested/*
!/folder/a/deeply/nested/subfolder

The above code would ignore all files except for .gitignore, README.md, folder/a/file.txt, folder/a/b1/ and folder/a/b2/ and everything contained in those last two folders. (And .DS_Store and *.log files would be ignored in those folders.)

Obviously I could do e.g. !/folder or !/.gitignore too.

More info: http://git-scm.com/docs/gitignore

The Answer 4

79 people think this answer is useful

A little more specific:

Example: Ignore everything in webroot/cache – but keep webroot/cache/.htaccess.

Notice the slash (/) after the cache folder:

FAILS

webroot/cache*
!webroot/cache/.htaccess

WORKS

webroot/cache/*
!webroot/cache/.htaccess

The Answer 5

57 people think this answer is useful
# ignore these
*
# except foo
!foo

The Answer 6

32 people think this answer is useful

To ignore some files in a directory, you have to do this in the correct order:

For example, ignore everything in folder “application” except index.php and folder “config” pay attention to the order.

You must negate want you want first.

FAILS

application/*

!application/config/*

!application/index.php

WORKS

!application/config/*

!application/index.php

application/*

The Answer 7

21 people think this answer is useful

You can use git config status.showUntrackedFiles no and all untracked files will be hidden from you. See man git-config for details.

The Answer 8

17 people think this answer is useful

To exclude folder from .gitignore, the following can be done.

!app/

app/*
!app/bower_components/

app/bower_components/*
!app/bower_components/highcharts/

This will ignore all files/subfolders inside bower_components except for /highcharts.

The Answer 9

14 people think this answer is useful

There are a bunch of similar questions about this, so I’ll post what I wrote before:

The only way I got this to work on my machine was to do it this way:

# Ignore all directories, and all sub-directories, and it's contents:
*/*

#Now ignore all files in the current directory 
#(This fails to ignore files without a ".", for example 
#'file.txt' works, but 
#'file' doesn't):
*.*

#Only Include these specific directories and subdirectories and files if you wish:
!wordpress/somefile.jpg
!wordpress/
!wordpress/*/
!wordpress/*/wp-content/
!wordpress/*/wp-content/themes/
!wordpress/*/wp-content/themes/*
!wordpress/*/wp-content/themes/*/*
!wordpress/*/wp-content/themes/*/*/*
!wordpress/*/wp-content/themes/*/*/*/*
!wordpress/*/wp-content/themes/*/*/*/*/*

Notice how you have to explicitly allow content for each level you want to include. So if I have subdirectories 5 deep under themes, I still need to spell that out.

This is from @Yarin’s comment here: https://stackoverflow.com/a/5250314/1696153

These were useful topics:

I also tried

*
*/*
**/**

and **/wp-content/themes/**

or /wp-content/themes/**/*

None of that worked for me, either. Lots of trail and error!

The Answer 10

13 people think this answer is useful

Had the similar issue as OP but none of top 10 upvoted answer actually worked.
I finally found out the following

Wrong syntax :

*
!bin/script.sh

Correct syntax :

*
!bin
!bin/script.sh

Explanation from gitignore man page :

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.

Which means that “Wrong syntax” above is wrong because bin/script.sh cannot be reincluded as bin/ is ignored. That’s all.

Extended example :

$ tree .

.
├── .gitignore
└── bin
    ├── ignore.txt
    └── sub
        └── folder
            └── path
                ├── other.sh
                └── script.sh

$ cat .gitignore

*
!.gitignore
!bin
!bin/sub
!bin/sub/folder
!bin/sub/folder/path
!bin/sub/folder/path/script.sh

$ git status –untracked-files –ignored

On branch master

No commits yet

Untracked files:
  (use "git add <file>..." to include in what will be committed)
        .gitignore
        bin/sub/folder/path/script.sh

Ignored files:
  (use "git add -f <file>..." to include in what will be committed)
        bin/ignore.txt
        bin/sub/folder/path/other.sh

nothing added to commit but untracked files present (use "git add" to track)

The Answer 11

10 people think this answer is useful

I had a problem with subfolder.

Does not work:

/custom/*
!/custom/config/foo.yml.dist

Works:

/custom/config/*
!/custom/config/foo.yml.dist

The Answer 12

9 people think this answer is useful

I tried all answers as given here above, but none worked for me. After reading the gitignore documentation (here) i found out that if you exclude a folder first that the filenames in the subfolder are not being indexed. So if you use the exclamation mark afterwards to include a file, it is not found in the index and thus not being included in your git client.

That was the way to finding the solution. I started with adding exceptions for all subfolders in my folder tree to get it working, which is a hell of a job. Afterwards i was able to compact the detailed configuration to the configuration below, which is a bit contrary to the documentation..

Working .gitignore:

# Ignore the 'Pro' folder, except for the '3rdparty' subfolder 
/Pro/*
!Pro/3rdparty/

# Ignore the '3rdparty' folder, except for the 'domain' subfolder
/Pro/3rdparty/*
!Pro/3rdparty/domain/

# Ignore the 'domain' folder, except for the 'modulename' subfolder
Pro/3rdparty/domain/*
!Pro/3rdparty/domain/modulename/

As result i see in my git client that only the two files inside the Pro/3rdparty/domain/modulename/ folder are being staged for the next commit, and that was exactly what i was looking for.

And if you need to whitelist several subfolders of the same folder then group the exclamation mark lines below the exclude statement like this:

# Ignore the 'Pro' folder, except for the '3rdparty' subfolder 
/Pro/*
!Pro/3rdparty/

# Ignore the '3rdparty' folder, except for the 'domain' &amp; 'hosting' subfolders
/Pro/3rdparty/*
!Pro/3rdparty/domain/
!Pro/3rdparty/hosting/

# Ignore the 'domain' folder, except for the 'modulename' subfolder
Pro/3rdparty/domain/*
!Pro/3rdparty/domain/modulename/

# Ignore the 'hosting' folder, except for the 'modulename' subfolder
Pro/3rdparty/hosting/*
!Pro/3rdparty/hosting/modulename/

Else it wont work as expected.

The Answer 13

9 people think this answer is useful

I know I am late for the party,but here’s my answer.

As @Joakim said, to ignore a file, you can use something like below.

# Ignore everything
*

# But not these files...
!.gitignore
!someFile.txt

but if the file is with in nested directories, it’s little bit hard to manually write the rules.

For example, if we want to skip all files in a git project, but not a.txt which is located in aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir. Then, our .gitignore will be something like this

# Skip all files
*

# But not `aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/a.txt`
!aDir/
aDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/
aDir/anotherDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/
aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/
aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/
aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/
aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/a.txt

The above given .gitignore file will skip all dirs and files except !aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/a.txt

As you may have noted, it’s hard to define those rules.

To solve this hurdle, I’ve created a simple console application named git-do-not-ignore which will generate the rules for you. I’ve hosted the project in github with detailed instruction.

Usage Example

java -jar git-do-not-ignore.jar "aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/a.txt"

Output

!aDir/
aDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/
aDir/anotherDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/
aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/
aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/
aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/
aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/*
!aDir/anotherDir/someOtherDir/aDir/bDir/cDir/a.txt

There’s also a simple web version available here

Thank you.

The Answer 14

8 people think this answer is useful

That’s what have worked for me, I wanted to commit only one Cordova plugin to the repo:

...
plugins/*
!plugins/cordova-plugin-app-customization

The Answer 15

8 people think this answer is useful

This is how I did it:

# Ignore everything
*

# Whitelist anything that's a directory
!*/

# Whitelist some files
!.gitignore

# Whitelist this folder and everything inside of it
!wordpress/wp-content/themes/my-theme/**

# Ignore this folder inside that folder
wordpress/wp-content/themes/my-theme/node_modules

# Ignore this file recursively
**/.DS_Store

Use gig status -u to view individual files in untracked directories recursively – with git status you’d only see folders, which could fool you into thinking that everything inside them was tracked

The Answer 16

7 people think this answer is useful

I have Jquery and Angular from bower. Bower installed them in

/public_html/bower_components/jquery/dist/bunch-of-jquery-files
/public_html/bower_components/jquery/src/bunch-of-jquery-source-files
/public_html/bower_components/angular/angular-files

The minimized jquery is inside the dist directory and angular is inside angular directory. I only needed minimized files to be commited to github. Some tampering with .gitignore and this is what I managed to conjure…

/public_html/bower_components/jquery/*
!public_html/bower_components/jquery/dist
/public_html/bower_components/jquery/dist/*
!public_html/bower_components/jquery/dist/jquery.min.js
/public_html/bower_components/angular/*
!public_html/bower_components/angular/angular.min.js

Hope someone could find this useful.

The Answer 17

5 people think this answer is useful

Simple solution if you need to ignore everything except few files and few root folders:

/*
!.gitignore
!showMe.txt
!my_visible_dir

The magic is in /* (as described above) it ignores everything in the (root) folder BUT NOT recursively.

The Answer 18

4 people think this answer is useful

I also had some issues with the negation of single files. I was able to commit them, but my IDE (IntelliJ) always complained about ignored files, which are tracked.

git ls-files -i --exclude-from .gitignore

Displayed the two files, which I’ve excluded this way:

public/
!public/typo3conf/LocalConfiguration.php
!public/typo3conf/PackageStates.php

In the end, this worked for me:

public/*
!public/typo3conf/
public/typo3conf/*
!public/typo3conf/LocalConfiguration.php
!public/typo3conf/PackageStates.php

The key was the negation of the folder typo3conf/ first.

Also, it seems that the order of the statements doesn’t matter. Instead, you need to explicitly negate all subfolders, before you can negate single files in it.

The folder !public/typo3conf/ and the folder contents public/typo3conf/* are two different things for .gitignore.

Great thread! This issue bothered me for a while 😉

The Answer 19

4 people think this answer is useful

I got this working

# Vendor
/vendor/braintree/braintree_php/*
!/vendor/braintree/braintree_php/lib

The Answer 20

3 people think this answer is useful

Nothing worked for me so far because I was trying to add one jar from lib.

This did not worked:

build/*
!build/libs/*
!build/libs/
!build/libs/myjarfile.jar 

This worked:

build/*
!build/libs

The Answer 21

2 people think this answer is useful

I seem to have found something that worked for me which no one else mentioned.

# Ignore everything
*

# But not these files...
!.gitignore
!script.pl
!template.latex
# etc...

# And if you want to include a sub-directory and all sub-directory and files under it, but not all sub-directories
!subdir/
!subdir/**/*

Basically, it seems to negate a sub-directory from being ignored, you have to have two entries, one for the sub-directory itself !subdir/ and then another one which expands to all files and folders under it !subdir/**/*

The Answer 22

0 people think this answer is useful

Gist

# Ignore everything
*

# But not these files...
!script.pl
!template.latex

And probably include:

!.gitignore

Reference

From https://git-scm.com/docs/gitignore:

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, “\!important!.txt“.

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
/*
!/foo
/foo/*
!/foo/bar

The Answer 23

0 people think this answer is useful

The simplest way that I go about this is to force add a file. It will be accounted for in git even if it is buried or nested inside a git-ignored subdirectory tree.

For example:

x64 folder is excluded in .gitignore:

x64/

But you want to include the file myFile.py located in x64/Release/ directory. Then you have to:

git add -f x64/Release/myFile.py

You can do this for multiple files of files that match a pattern e.g.

git add -f x64/Release/myFile*.py

and so on.

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