A gitignore file specifies intentionally untracked files that
git should ignore.
Note that all the gitignore files really concern only files
that are not already tracked by git;
in order to ignore uncommitted changes in already tracked files,
please refer to the git update-index --assume-unchanged
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
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 $GIT_DIR/info/exclude.
Patterns read from the file specified by the configuration
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 file. 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.
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.
Patterns have the following format:
A blank line matches no files, so it can serve as a separator
A line starting with # serves as a comment.
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.
If the pattern ends with a slash, it is removed for the
purpose of the following description, but it would only find
a match with a directory. In other words, 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).
If the pattern does not contain a slash /, git treats it as
a shell glob pattern and checks for a match against the
pathname relative to the location of the .gitignore file
(relative to the toplevel of the work tree if not from a
Otherwise, git treats the pattern as a shell glob suitable
for consumption by fnmatch(3) with the FNM_PATHNAME flag:
wildcards in the pattern will not match a / in the pathname.
For example, "Documentation/\*.html" matches
"Documentation/git.html" but not "Documentation/ppc/ppc.html"
A leading slash matches the beginning of the pathname.
For example, "/*.c" matches "cat-file.c" but not
$ 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
Documentation by David Greaves, Junio C Hamano, Josh Triplett,
Frank Lichtenheld, and the git-list <firstname.lastname@example.org>.