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Ignore folder (without selective sync)

Ignore folder (without selective sync)

Helpful | Level 6

Please please please can you add a feature that allows folders to be excluded from the Dropbox account (on windows and mac). For sure I'm not the first person to request this, but I'm yet to find a good explanation of why it's not there. A quick google search reveals loads of people also looking for the same feature. I really like the workflow I have with dropbox, but it's getting to the point where I might switch providers in order to allow better selective sync.

I've seen hackish solutions using selective sync, but it would be great if this could be done in one of the following ways:
- global pattern matching eg "node_modules"
- a marker file in the directory like .dropboxignore
- a simple right click context menu "Ignore this folder"

Other than that, keep up the good work. Cheers.

Latest Update
Community Manager

Hi folks, 


Thanks for your feedback on this.
While ignored files delivers for some of the use cases here, I appreciate it does not for all. 
We'll be taking another review of this thread to isolate use cases for a .dropboxignore file feature in particular.

I've updated the status and we'll take this to the product team.
As a side note, it would be helpful for us if you could outline the gap between what ignored files offers, and what a .dropboxignore file feature would add to your workflows.


Thank you.

Status changed to: Investigating
Jeremy B.
New member | Level 2

My Case
While it isn't that different from many others, it should be helpful here nonetheless. I'm a developer. I run online browser games, and I build the odd website for clients too. In modern web design, the node_modules folder is a frequent creation within my Dropbox folder.

Why Dropbox?
Primarily it's awesome for being able to easily restore previous versions of a file if I screw up, and of course for backup, and the ability to access files from anywhere.

Why do I need .dropboxignore?
node_modules contains thousands upon thousands of small code files in packages created by other developers. It slows Dropbox to a crawl, and consumes an aggressive amount of CPU (Mac OS 10.10). These node_modules packages are easily replaceable at any time, so are not needed within Dropbox. I would like for node_modules to be automatically ignored by Dropbox whenever I create a new web project without having to manually fumble through Selective Sync.

Stav Yagev s.
New member | Level 2

There are so many use cases for this...

  • you could create 'temp' folders wherever you want (so no need to have all your temp files outside the main directory structure which is on dropbox).
  • any developer would gladly put on the ignore list all the temporary objects and binaries that are constantly generated during development ('node_modules' included)
  • any video / media creator would not want to save her intermediates (which are usually very heavy in size). Think of preview files when working with After Effects/Premiere/3ds Max etc.
  • in a shared folder, sometimes each contributor to the folder wants to have her own version of the files without constantly overwriting the 'master' copy (much like source control).
Mike K.30
New member | Level 1

Yeah, this is an issue and I'm surprised there isn't more uproar (or information, for that matter) about it.

I just tried setting up Dropbox as my profile for Thunderbird so I could use it across multiple computers and the file "parent.lock" which is created by Tbird when you first start it up prevents DB from syncing properly. It ALSO (much worse) prevents TBird from deleting it properly when it exits (not quite sure why this happens -- I'll try turning DB syncing off and see if that makes a difference, but even if so that's not an acceptable solution in any way shape or form).

Quite honestly I don't know how folks are even using DB with Thunderbird, unless they just don't care if DB is synced properly, but I can't find much information about this anywhere (other than the problem is noted, time and time again).

Mike K.30
New member | Level 1

Sigh. Okay, Christian, I figured out how to do this (but it isn't intuitive and it really still ought to be added to DB.

Here are the steps to take to make DB selective sync a file (it's a bit of a kludge but let's hope DB never removes it):

To exclude FILES, not folders, from Dropbox, there is a trick you can do:

Move the file somewhere else

Create a folder with the same name in place of the file

Go to Dropbox selective sync options and ignore the folder, this will also delete it

Move the file back in place

I got this from a superuser forum and it makes sense -- and in some way I understand why DB works like this. But it would be SO much easier if DB just had an option when you right clicked a file in your folder (either in the desktop app or the browser app) where you could choose not to have that particular file synced without having to go through this process.

Christian K.24
New member | Level 1

Mike, you are the champion! This was a really great advice. It works perfectly. Thank you very much!

Mike K.30
New member | Level 1

Well, I appreciate the thanks, but the superuser who figured this out deserves the credit (I unfortunately wasn't able to thank HIM since the forum he posted on doesn't even allow comments or thanks until you've been a member for quite some time, and that ain't gonna happen for me). But I'm glad I could pass it on and let's hope that others will find the solution as well.

Michael C.73
New member | Level 1

I installed Dropbox today and within ten minutes I was looking for a way to ignore files by type. This is such a glaring omission.

AutoCAD produces heaps of DWG backup files (*.bak) and sometimes error logs (*.err). Why on earth would I want them syncronised to the cloud and to other offices?

Dropbox, please implement this.

Mirco H.
New member | Level 2

Would be great to get a comment from the team to understand whether this feature is under development.

Steven P.14
New member | Level 1

Yep, +1 for .gitignore support

Steven P.14
New member | Level 1

I've found, but it's for Mac only

Any solution for Windows?

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