Applying .gitignore to committed files


I have committed loads of files that I now want to ignore. How can I tell git to now ignore these files from future commits?

EDIT: I do want to remove them from the repository too. They are files created after ever build or for user-specific tooling support.


After editing .gitignore to match the ignored files, you can do git ls-files -ci --exclude-standard to see the files that are included in the exclude lists; you can then do

  • Linux/MacOS: git ls-files -ci --exclude-standard -z | xargs -0 git rm --cached
  • Windows (PowerShell): git ls-files -ci --exclude-standard | % { git rm --cached "$_" }
  • Windows (cmd.exe): for /F "tokens=*" %a in ('git ls-files -ci --exclude-standard') do @git rm --cached "%a"

to remove them from the repository (without deleting them from disk).

Edit: You can also add this as an alias in your .gitconfig file so you can run it anytime you like. Just add the following line under the [alias] section (modify as needed for Windows or Mac):

apply-gitignore = !git ls-files -ci --exclude-standard -z | xargs -0 git rm --cached

(The -r flag in xargs prevents git rm from running on an empty result and printing out its usage message, but may only be supported by GNU findutils. Other versions of xargs may or may not have a similar option.)

Now you can just type git apply-gitignore in your repo, and it'll do the work for you!

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