Git command to show which specific files are ignored by .gitignore


I am getting my feet wet with Git and have the following issue:

My project source tree:


I have code (currently MEF) in my vendor branch that I will compile there and then move the references into /src/refs which is where the project picks them up from.

My issue is that I have my .gitignore set to ignore *.dll and *.pdb. I can do a git add -f bar.dll to force the addition of the ignored file which is ok, the problem is I can not figure out to list what files exist that are ignored.

I want to list the ignored files to make sure that I don't forget to add them.

I have read the man page on git ls-files and can not make it work. It seems to me that git ls-files --exclude-standard -i should do what I want. What am I missing?

1/17/2020 8:00:27 PM

Accepted Answer


Also interesting (mentioned in qwertymk's answer), you can also use the git check-ignore -v command, at least on Unix (doesn't work in a CMD Windows session)

git check-ignore *
git check-ignore -v *

The second one displays the actual rule of the .gitignore which makes a file to be ignored in your git repo.
On Unix, using "What expands to all files in current directory recursively?" and a bash4+:

git check-ignore **/*

(or a find -exec command)

Note: B. suggests in the comments to avoid the (risky) globstar:

git check-ignore -v $(find . -type f -print)

Make sure to exclude the files from the .git/ subfolder though.

Original answer 42009)

git ls-files -i

should work, except its source code indicates:

if (show_ignored && !exc_given) {
                fprintf(stderr, "%s: --ignored needs some exclude pattern\n",

exc_given ?

It turns out it need one more parameter after the -i to actually list anything:


git ls-files -i --exclude-from=[Path_To_Your_Global].gitignore

(but that would only list your cached (non-ignored) object, with a filter, so that is not quite what you want)


$ cat .git/ignore
# ignore objects and archives, anywhere in the tree.
$ cat Documentation/.gitignore
# ignore generated html files,
# except foo.html which is maintained by hand
$ git ls-files --ignored \
    --exclude='Documentation/*.[0-9]' \
    --exclude-from=.git/ignore \

Actually, in my 'gitignore' file (called 'exclude'), I find a command line that could help you:

F:\prog\git\test\.git\info>type exclude
# git ls-files --others --exclude-from=.git/info/exclude
# Lines that start with '#' are comments.
# For a project mostly in C, the following would be a good set of
# exclude patterns (uncomment them if you want to use them):
# *.[oa]
# *~


git ls-files --others --ignored --exclude-from=.git/info/exclude
git ls-files -o -i --exclude-from=.git/info/exclude

git ls-files --others --ignored --exclude-standard
git ls-files -o -i --exclude-standard

should do the trick.

As mentioned in the ls-files man page, --others is the important part, in order to show you non-cached, non-committed, normally-ignored files.

--exclude_standard is not just a shortcut, but a way to include all standard "ignored patterns" settings.

Add the standard git exclusions: .git/info/exclude, .gitignore in each directory, and the user's global exclusion file.

1/6/2020 3:56:11 PM

Another option that's pretty clean (No pun intended.):

git clean -ndX


$ git help clean

git-clean - Remove untracked files from the working tree
-n, --dry-run - Don't actually remove anything, just show what would be done.
-d - Remove untracked directories in addition to untracked files.
-X - Remove only files ignored by Git.

Note: This solution will not show ignored files that have already been removed.


While generally correct your solution does not work in all circumstances. Assume a repo dir like this:

# ls **/*                                                                                                       
doc/index.html  README.txt  tmp/dir0/file0  tmp/file1  tmp/file2


dir0  file1  file2


and a .gitignore like this:

# cat .gitignore

This ignores the doc directory and all files below tmp. Git works as expected, but the given command for listing the ignored files does not. Lets have a look at what git has to say:

# git ls-files --others --ignored --exclude-standard                                                            

Notice that doc is missing from the listing. You can get it with:

# git ls-files --others --ignored --exclude-standard --directory                                                

Notice the additional --directory option.

From my knowledge there is no one command to list all ignored files at once. But I don't know why tmp/dir0 does not show up at all.


Git now has this functionality built in

git check-ignore *

Of course you can change the glob to something like **/*.dll in your case

Git Reference


It should be sufficient to use

git ls-files --others -i --exclude-standard

as that covers everything covered by

git ls-files --others -i --exclude-from=.git/info/exclude

therefore the latter is redundant.

You can make this easier by adding an alias to your ~/.gitconfig file:

git config --global alias.ignored "ls-files --others -i --exclude-standard"

Now you can just type git ignored to see the list. Much easier to remember, and faster to type.

If you prefer the more succinct display of Jason Geng's solution, you can add an alias for that like this:

git config --global alias.ignored "status --ignored -s"

However the more verbose output is more useful for troubleshooting problems with your .gitignore files, as it lists every single cotton-pickin' file that is ignored. You would normally pipe the results through grep to see if a file you expect to be ignored is in there, or if a file you don't want to be ignore is in there.

git ignored | grep some-file-that-isnt-being-ignored-properly

Then, when you just want to see a short display, it's easy enough to remember and type

git status --ignored

(The -s can normally be left off.)


Here's how to print the complete list of files in the working tree which match patterns located anywhere in Git's multiple gitignore sources (if you're using GNU find):

$ cd {your project directory}
$ find . -path ./.git -prune -o -print \
| git check-ignore --no-index --stdin --verbose

It will check all the files in the current branch of the repository (unless you've deleted them locally).

And it identifies the particular gitignore source lines, as well.

Git continues to track changes in some files which match gitignore patterns, simply because those files were added already. Usefully, the above command displays those files, too.

Negative gitignore patterns are also matched. However, these are easily distinguishable in the listing, because they begin with !.

If you're using Windows, Git Bash includes GNU find (as revealed by find --version).

If the list is long (and you have rev), you can display them by extension (somewhat), too:

$ cd {your project directory}
$ find . -path ./.git -prune -o -print \
| git check-ignore --no-index --stdin --verbose \
| rev | sort | rev

For more details, see man find, man git-check-ignore, man rev, and man sort.

The point of this whole approach is that Git (the software) is changing rapidly and is highly complex. By contrast, GNU's find is extremely stable (at least, in its features used here). So, anyone who desires to be competitive by displaying their in-depth knowledge of Git will answer the question in a different way.

What's the best answer? This answer deliberately minimizes its reliance on Git knowledge, toward achieving the goal of stability and simplicity through modularity (information isolation), and is designed to last a long time.


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