Ione Souza Junior

Git Ignore: A Guide to Ignoring Unwanted Files

April 05, 2024 | 5 Minute Read | Translations: pt | #git

While Git ignore isn't a command, it's an essential tool for keeping your projects organized. By specifying files and directories to ignore, you can prevent clutter and ensure only relevant files are tracked in your repository. In this guide, we'll explore Git ignore and how it streamlines your workflow by excluding unwanted files.

Understanding git ignore

Git ignore is a feature in Git that allows you to specify files and directories that should be ignored by Git. These ignored files won’t be tracked or staged, making it easier to focus on the files that matter most in your project.

When you create a .gitignore file in your repository, you can list patterns for files or directories that you want Git to ignore. These patterns can include filenames, directory names, or wildcard patterns to match multiple files or directories.

For example, you might want to ignore temporary files generated by your development environment, build artifacts, or files containing sensitive information like passwords or API keys. By specifying these patterns in your .gitignore file, you can keep your repository clean and prevent unnecessary files from being included in your commits.

Understanding how to effectively use Git ignore is essential for maintaining a tidy and organized repository. It helps ensure that only relevant files are tracked by Git, reducing clutter and simplifying collaboration with other developers.

Using the git ignore file

To use this feature, simply create a new text file in your project directory and name it .gitignore. You can use any text editor to create and edit this file.

In the .gitignore file, you can add patterns for files or directories that you want Git to ignore. Each pattern should be on a separate line. You can use wildcard characters like * to match multiple files or directories, and you can use comments starting with # to add notes or explanations.

For example, to ignore all .xcuserstate files and the directory Pods, you can add the following lines to your .gitignore file:


These patterns will tell Git to ignore any file with the .xcuserstate extension and the entire Pods directory. On iOS development, this files are unecessary to add to the version control because it store the user’s state information for Xcode and the dependencies managed by CocoaPods.

Once you’ve created or updated your .gitignore file, Git will automatically start ignoring the specified files and directories when you perform operations like git status, git add, or git commit.

Creating a .gitignore file early in your project’s development can help prevent accidental commits of unwanted files and ensure that your repository remains clean and organized.

An interesting thing is you can make a negation to discard some file to be ignore. For example, you can configure your .gitignore file to ignore all the .txt discarding some specific file with the same extension.


By leveraging these pattern-matching techniques, you can create precise .gitignore rules to exclude unwanted files and directories from your Git repository, ensuring a cleaner and more manageable version control history.

In all repository that you create, you need to specify this file. But you can create a globl .gitignore file for all projects in your machine. Let’s learn about this option.

Using git ignore globally

Using a global .gitignore file is a convenient way to ignore certain files and patterns across all your Git repositories on a specific system. This is especially useful for files that are commonly generated by development tools or operating systems and are not specific to any particular project. To set up a global .gitignore file, follow these steps:

  1. Create a global Git ignore file: Start by creating a .gitignore_global file in your home directory or any other location of your choice. The name can be different too. This file will contain the global ignore patterns.
  2. Define ignore patterns: Add the patterns for files or directories that you want to ignore globally to the .gitignore_global file. You can use the same pattern-matching techniques described earlier.
  3. Configure Git to use the global ignore file: Tell Git to use the .gitignore_global file by setting the core.excludesFile configuration option. Run the following command in your terminal:
git config --global core.excludesFile ~/.gitignore_global

Replace ~/.gitignore_global with the path to your global ignore file if it’s located in a different directory.

Once you’ve set up the .gitignore_global file and configured Git to use it, any patterns defined in the file will apply to all your Git repositories on that system. This helps ensure consistent ignore rules across projects and prevents you from accidentally committing unwanted files or directories to your repositories.


Are you anoyed to create a .gitignore file for every project? You can use a repository called gitignore maintained by GitHub. This repository contains a collection of .gitignore templates for various programming languages, frameworks, and development environments. You can browse the repository and manually download the relevant template for your project or use the command-line tool provided by GitHub to fetch the appropriate .gitignore file directly into your repository.

Are you feeling lazy? Try to use This is a useful resource for generating .gitignore files tailored to specific programming languages, frameworks, and development environments. It can save time and ensure that common files and directories are properly ignored.


Git ignore is a fundamental tool for managing your project’s files and directories within a Git repository. By specifying which files and directories to ignore, you can keep your repository clean and focused, avoiding unnecessary clutter and preventing sensitive or generated files from being inadvertently committed. Whether you’re working on a small personal project or collaborating with a large team, mastering Git ignore will streamline your workflow and help you maintain a more organized and efficient development process. So, embrace the power of Git ignore and take control of your repository’s content with confidence!