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How to exclude (or ignore) files from syncing (different thing than Selective Sync)

Level 2

It will be so useful if I could exclude certain files from syncing based on a file mask. Examples:
.tmp
*.xml~
mailbox.psd
aa
.t??

103 Comments

Hi there,

Thanks very much for your feedback. At present, there are only a few file types that don't sync to your Dropbox account. See this Help Centre article for more information:

https://www.dropbox.com/help/145

If there are other files you don't want to sync to your Dropbox, I'd just recommend storing them outside your Dropbox folder.

Hope this helps!

I have my iTunes folder in my Dropbox. It makes no sense to sync iTunes Library.xml since that isn't used by iTunes (it only uses iTunes Library.itl). But I am unable to configure Dropbox to simply ignore iTunes Library.xml.

You can "hack" file ignore by tricking Dropbox by first setting up a folder with the same name as the file you want to ignore. Check out the instructions here: http://superuser.com/a/757498

It'd still be nice to have this natively built in though.

Louis M.
Level 1

Yes, this would be a step closer to making Dropbox a genuine version control alternative.

Not synching certain filetypes isnt the same - omission of feature X doesnt mean feature Y included.

I'm no expert, but this feature is included in either the frontend, or as a loose text file in the same folder which just list the file types to ignore.

Does this feature exist already in the business version?

I work in games, and engines produce a lot of guff which is either useless or harmful to other users of the same folder. 'Fix the engine' is one option, but needless traffic produced by, for example the OS (for example, .tmp files as mentioned in the header) is prohibitive to users on limited bandwidth as well.

I like Dropbox. Being able to exclude the garbage would make me like it more slightly smiling face

Jake s.8
Level 1

There should be a way to regex match certain files and just ignore them in update. I though it is a great idea to sync my main work folder, but now various massive files that are trivial to regenerate gets synched and dropbox is constantly updating and chumming moving hundreds of megabytes around. There are hacks around that, but I'm just not very excited. It is a very basic functionality to have!

Hi Jake,

The Dropbox desktop client is designed to sync everything in your Dropbox folder. If you don't want it to sync something, just move it out of your Dropbox folder. Please bear in mind as well that we only actually upload unique files once, so if you move a large file elsewhere in your Dropbox, or move it out then back in again, all that will happen is that it will need to reindex in its new location, not be uploaded to our servers.

Hope this helps!

Jake s.8
Level 1

Come on guys, stop thinking small. Why shouldn't I be able to sync my entire home directory and be done with backups forever and have access to any one small pdf hidden somewhere in the attick on my disk from my phone without having to a a conscious effort to think what I might need? You can make this work on linux with a single soft link but then it also wants to sync huge temporary data files. I want file opt-out, not opt-in.

pep a.
Level 1

I need this feature too, AutoCAD for example creates .bak files (backup files) in the same directory of the source file, so Dropbox is uploading these .bak files all the time...

Terje D. Level 2
Level 2

I would love an advanced feature similar to that of .hgignore and .gitingore: A simple (hidden) file placable in (at least) the root directory for dropbox where I can specify grep-patterns for folders and files to ignore.
By making it a hidden file with regex-patterns, it automatically becomes an "advanced" feature, only available for those who understand what it is and how to use it.

I am loving Dropbox more and more. My use-case/need:
I do cross-platform development (Win/Mac) using an IDE (Intellij), and I have simply put my projects in dropbox, so I can do development and testing across machines/plattforms. This works very well for me, actually. But since IDE layouts and SDK-settings are specified in project-files, I have to close the IDE on one machine Before opening it on another. Otherwise the IDEs start battling over the settings-files. Also, I have to change the SDK-links every time I go from one to the other.
But if I could simply put a line in a ".dropboxignore"-file saying to ignore certain files, that would be wonderful!

Matt D.24
Level 1

+1