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Easy way to exclude files during git add

Every day we use the "git add" command a lot to add our changes to the index for new commits, but have you ever wondered how we can add all the changed files with some files excluded during the execution of this command (not with .gitignore)? If the answer is yes, then this article will help you to understand how certain files can be excluded during the git add command.

TLDR; command to exclude specific file

git add -A ':!<file_path>'
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One day I was put in a situation where I need to add some files for my new commit but I also need to exclude a few files during that execution and those files will get added later on once my work is done on those.

One way to do this is to hit the below command

git add <file_path> <file_path> ... <file_path>
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Basically, If I have done changes to under 13 files and wanted to exclude only 3 files from those, that means 10 files need to be added with the git add command, then I have to copy all those 10 files path and paste it to the terminal manually and it will have become little bit tedious task. Letโ€™s look at the example.

git add Dockerfile \ \
nest-cli.json \
package-lock.json \
package.json \
src/app.controller.spec.ts \
src/app.controller.ts \
src/app.module.ts \
src/app.service.ts \

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After this command, you can now check for the staged files by hitting.

git status
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But what if this process can be done inversely๐Ÿค”? Like instead of passing 10 files paths I could just pass 3 files path, ๐Ÿ‘€ yes you heard it right this can be possible with git add with the below example.

git add -A ':!.eslintrc.js' ':!.gitignore' ':!.prettierrc'
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And now when you hit git status it will show all 10 files added to the index apart from the 3 excluded files. It's like a NOT (!) operator under the git add path option.

Hope you enjoyed this content, please share your thoughts under comment and also get in touch with me on Twitter.

Top comments (2)

kodewithchirag profile image

Right, with git stash we can perform the same thing but it includes multiple commands to remember, but if you are aware of what files need to exclude then the syntax I have shared is much more easier one, I guess. ๐Ÿ˜€

kodewithchirag profile image

Using GUI is the best thing but if GUI is not present then knowing few commands will help us to ease our work. ๐Ÿ˜‰