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Known issues - updated June 21st see more

exclude files based on a file mask

86 Votes

exclude files based on a file mask

It will be so useful if I could exclude certain files from syncing based on a file mask. Examples:


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:

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!

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

Level 1

I would also like this feature. I use SVN for most of my projects; however, for some smaller projects that I want backed up and/or synchronised between computers but don't need extensive versioning for, I use Dropbox.

I haven't found this to be much of an issue for Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and Xcode projects as although they have files that don't need to be synced, they're usually quite small (although they can cause a large number of events to be logged, making it harder to find things in Events). However, Visual C++ projects can often have hundreds of megabytes of files that don’t need to be synced.

I've also had similar issues due to other applications storing temporary or other regenerable files in the same directory as files they open which are in my Dropbox. Some programs may provide an option to store these files elsewhere but not all of them.

It would also be nice if this applied to all computers (and users in the case of a shared folder) rather than having to do it for each computer like Selective Sync.

Dave C. posted a workaround for excluding a single file using Selective Sync conflicts:

Yours sincerely,
Lucas Cardellini

this would be a great thing. for example firefox and thunderbird create a file named parent.lock which is necessary for normal the operation of firefox or thunderbird. dropbox isn't able to sync while those files exist. the files normally are deleted when ff or tb are closed and all processes are stopped. but in some reason they remain till reboot. there is no need for those files to be synced. there a mask for adding exclusions would be very helpful

Level 1

An example where this is useful if not completely needed, is sharing a DropBox folder between Mac and Windows on the same machine.  I am not talking about having two instances of DropBox running--one in Windows, the other in Mac--pointing to the same folder as I have seen that completely mess up the dropbox folder with lost files and such.  I am talking about having one 'side' running the software and controlling all syncing with the service from its own Dropbox folder, then having the other side just access the folder directly as if it were any other folder shared between the Mac and Windows.  

The problem is since Mac and Windows store hidden/temp files differently, inevitably the client is syncing a bunch of things it shouldn't be.  In my case, my DropBox folder is now littered with files all starting with a period.

Specifically in my setup, I run OS X Yosemite as my primary OS so it has Dropbox set up syncing to a folder under my user's home directory.  I then run Parallels Desktop to run Windows, but thanks to shared folders, I can see my Mac user's home folders, and thus I can access the Dropbox folder from Windows.  Even when I make changes to the folder from the Windows side, the client on the Mac side, monitoring that same folder syncs all changes to the cloud.  Again, to be clear, the Windows side has no idea of anything called Dropbox. It's just accessing a shared folder from the Mac side.

The problem is because of this setup, my DropBox folder is now littered with almost double the number of files because for every actual file, there's a corresponding 'dummy' file with the same name and extension but with a leading period.   Here's an example...





The first two share the same filenames and extensions as the latter two but start with a period.

Since *I* know I'll never create a file that starts with a period, I want to exclude them from DropBox, but I can't, so instead I just have all these files littered throughout my DropBox store getting synced to *all* my machines and devices. Worse, since the file extensions are still the same, all clients think they are jpgs, pdfs, etc. and display them as bad data.

The only solution is to set up *two* dropbox stores, one on the Mac and one on Windows but that would mean I am literally doubling the storage space.

Level 1

Has there been any development on this feature? I've got a few situations that would require this (as a developer), particularly things such as cache files - Dropbox has a lot of issues synchronising 'dwsync.xml' (Adobe Dreamweaver cache file), and there's other files such as .git which need not be synchronised. Thanks!

Level 1

The ideal would be a .txt or something that a user can include in a given dropbox folder which would affect all others below it as well, excluding all the filetypes listed within it.


Super User II

Has there been any development on this feature?

Dropbox does not reveal planned features until they're released in the Beta clients.

Level 1


Level 1

Another example is editing Word documents. Word creates a temporary file ~$filename.doc which is sync'd and stays there after closing the document.

Edit: It seems that Word temporary files are now excluded in the newer Dropbox versions.