October 17th, 2014

Ignore Files Git is Already Tracking

Sometimes you have a project with some files that don’t need to be tracked in version control. To exclude a file from being tracked in Git, you add it to the .gitignore file. But what if the file you want Git to ignore is already being tracked? Well, a file that’s already being tracked will not be ignored, even if you add it to .gitignore. So, how do we tell Git to ignore it? A few easy steps will do the trick.

Commit any pending changes you may have:

git commit -m "Some comment"

Clear the file from cache and commit again:

git rm --cached [filename]

git commit -m "Cleared [filename] from cache."

Now open .gitignore, add [filename] to it and save.

Stage your changes and commit again:

git add .

git commit -m "[filename] should be ignored now."

Test it by modifying the ignored file, then git status. You should see that the file is not being tracked anymore and you’re good to go.