Ignoring Files

Synopsis

.stignore

Description

If some files should not be synchronized to 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 folder. 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 folder root.

Note

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

Patterns

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.
  • Asterisk matches zero or more characters in a filename, but does not match the directory separator. te*st matches test, subdir/telerest but not tele/rest.
  • Double asterisk matches as above, but also directory separators. te**st matches test, subdir/telerest and tele/sub/dir/rest.
  • Question mark matches a single character that is not the directory separator. te??st matches tebest but not teb/st or test.
  • Characters enclosed in square brackets [] are interpreted as a character range [a-z]. Before using this syntax you should have a basic understanding of regular expression character classes.
  • A pattern beginning with / matches in the current directory 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 folder root. Example: #include more-patterns.txt.
  • 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. Note that files in ignored directories can not be re-included this way. This is due to the fact that Syncthing stops scanning when it reaches an ignored directory, so doesn’t know what files it might contain.
  • 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.
  • A line beginning with // is a comment and has no effect.
  • Windows does not support escaping \[foo - bar\].

Note

Prefixes can be specified in any order.

Example

Given a directory layout:

.DS_Store
foo
foofoo
bar/
    baz
    quux
    quuz
bar2/
    baz
    frobble
My Pictures/
    Img15.PNG

and an .stignore file with the contents:

(?d).DS_Store
!frobble
!quuz
foo
*2
qu*
(?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/         # ignored, matched "*2"
    baz       # ignored, due to parent being ignored
    frobble   # ignored, due to parent being ignored; "!frobble" doesn't help
My Pictures/  # ignored, matched case insensitive "(?i)my pictures" pattern
    Img15.PNG # ignored, due to parent being ignored

Note

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.

Effects on “In Sync” Status

Currently the effects on who is in sync with what can be a bit confusing when using ignore patterns. This should be cleared up in a future version...

Assume two devices, Alice and Bob, where Alice has 100 files to share, but Bob ignores 25 of these. From Alice’s point of view Bob will become about 75% in sync (the actual number depends on the sizes of the individual files) and remain in “Syncing” state even though it is in fact not syncing anything (issue #623). From Bob’s point of view, it’s 100% up to date but will show fewer files in both the local and global view.

If Bob adds files that have already been synced to the ignore list, they will remain in the “global” view but disappear from the “local” view. The end result is more files in the global folder than in the local, but still 100% in sync (issue #624). From Alice’s point of view, Bob will remain 100% in sync until the next reconnect, because Bob has already announced that he has the files that are now suddenly ignored.