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 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. 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.

  • 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.

  • A pattern beginning with / matches in the root of the 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 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.

  • 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.


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


Include patterns (that begin with !) cause Syncthing to traverse and watch the entire directory tree regardless of other ignore patterns.

Top-level include patterns are treated as special cases and will not force Syncthing to scan the entire directory tree. For example: !/foo is a top-level include pattern, while !/foo/bar is not.


Given a directory layout:

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.