Ignoring Files




If some files should not be synchronized to (or from) other devices, a file called .stignore can be created containing file patterns to ignore. The .stignore file must be placed in the root of the synced folder (files in other locations are not applied). The .stignore file itself will never be synced to other devices, although it can #include files that are synchronized between devices. All patterns are relative to the synced folder root. The contents of the .stignore file must be UTF-8 encoded.


Note that ignored files can block removal of an otherwise empty directory. See below for the (?d) prefix to allow deletion of ignored files.


The .stignore file contains a list of file or path patterns. The first pattern that matches will decide the fate of a given file.

  • Regular file names match themselves, i.e. the pattern foo matches the files foo, subdir/foo as well as any directory named foo. Spaces are treated as regular characters, except for leading and trailing spaces, which are automatically trimmed.

  • Asterisk (*) matches zero or more characters in a filename, but does not match the directory separator. te*ne matches telephone, subdir/telephone but not tele/phone.

  • Double asterisk (**) matches as above, but also directory separators. te**ne matches telephone, subdir/telephone and tele/sub/dir/phone.

  • Question mark (?) matches a single character that is not the directory separator. te??st matches tebest but not teb/st or test.

  • Square brackets ([]) denote a character range: [a-z] matches any lower case character.

  • Curly brackets ({}) denote a set of comma separated alternatives: {banana,pineapple} matches either banana or pineapple.

  • Backslash (\) “escapes” a special character so that it loses its special meaning. For example, \{banana\} matches {banana} exactly and does not denote a set of alternatives as above.


    Escaped characters are not supported on Windows, where \ is the path separator. If you still need to match files that have square or curly brackets in their names, one possible workaround is to replace them with ?, which will then match any character. For example, you can type ?banana? to match both [banana] and {banana}, and so on.

  • A pattern beginning with / matches in the root of the synced folder only. /foo matches foo but not subdir/foo.

  • A pattern beginning with #include results in loading patterns from the named file. It is an error for a file to not exist or be included more than once. Note that while this can be used to include patterns from a file in a subdirectory, the patterns themselves are still relative to the synced folder root. Example: #include more-patterns.txt.

    Any #include directives inside a file loaded by #include require paths specified relative to the directory containing the loaded file, rather than the synchronised root directory.

  • A pattern beginning with a ! prefix negates the pattern: matching files are included (that is, not ignored). This can be used to override more general patterns that follow.


    Negated patterns that can match items below the folder root will cause Syncthing to traverse otherwise ignored directories. If the watcher is enabled, those directories will also be watched. Directories ignored before the first negated pattern can however be safely skipped, since the first matching pattern wins. For example:


    The directories foo and bar will be entirely ignored. However any other directories present must be scanned entirely to find any items named baz, despite the fact that they will be ignored due to the *. As a special case, top-level rooted patterns (e.g. !/foo) do not cause this behaviour:


    In this case, only the directory baz will be scanned, since everything else is ignored by the * pattern.

  • A pattern beginning with a (?i) prefix enables case-insensitive pattern matching. (?i)test matches test, TEST and tEsT. The (?i) prefix can be combined with other patterns, for example the pattern (?i)!picture*.png indicates that Picture1.PNG should be synchronized. On Mac OS and Windows, patterns are always case-insensitive.

  • A pattern beginning with a (?d) prefix enables removal of these files if they are preventing directory deletion. This prefix should be used by any OS generated files which you are happy to be removed.


    Prefixes can be specified in any order (e.g. (?d)(?i)), but cannot be combined in a single pair of parentheses like (?di).

  • A line beginning with // is a comment and has no effect. The same double slashes in any other place are interpreted literally, e.g. trying to do file // comment will make Syncthing look for a file called file // comment.


Given a directory layout starting at the synced folder’s root:

My Pictures/

and an .stignore file with the contents:

(?i)my pictures

all files and directories called “foo”, ending in a “2” or starting with “qu” will be ignored. The end result becomes:

.DS_Store     # ignored, will be deleted if gets in the way of parent directory removal
foo           # ignored, matches "foo"
foofoo        # synced, does not match "foo" but would match "foo*" or "*foo"
bar/          # synced
    baz       # synced
    quux      # ignored, matches "qu*"
    quuz      # synced, matches "qu*" but is excluded by the preceding "!quuz"
bar2/         # synced, despite matching "*2" due to child frobble
    baz       # ignored, due to parent being ignored
    frobble   # synced, due to "!frobble"
My Pictures/  # ignored, matched case insensitive "(?i)my pictures" pattern
    Img15.PNG # ignored, due to parent being ignored


Please note that directory patterns ending with a slash some/directory/ matches the content of the directory, but not the directory itself. If you want the pattern to match the directory and its content, make sure it does not have a / at the end of the pattern.

Added in version 1.19.0: Default patterns can be configured which will take effect when automatically accepting a folder from a remote device. The GUI suggests same the patterns when adding a folder manually. In either case, the .stignore file is created with these defaults if none is present yet.