Setting up a global .gitignore file

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Reviewing pull requests, I often see contributors sneakily adding editor configuration to the repository’s .gitignore file.

  composer.lock
  package.lock
+ .vscode

If everyone would commit their environment-specific .gitignore rules, we’d have a long list to maintain! My repository doesn’t care about your editor configuration.

There’s a better solution to this: a personal, global .gitignore file for all your repositories. Here’s how you can set one up.

Global .gitignore 101

First, create a .gitignore file for your global rules. Most people keep this in their home directory.

touch ~/.gitignore

Next, open it with your text editor of choice and add whatever files and folders you always want to ignore. Here’s what my global configuration looks like:

.DS_Store
.vscode

You’ll probably have at least two entries in your global .gitignore: one for operating system-specific files, and one for editor-specific files.

I’m a Mac user, so I need to ignore .DS_Store files created by macOS. I use Visual Studio Code, so I need to ignore .vscode folders.

If I were a Windows user with PHPStorm as my primary editor, my .gitignore file would probably look like this:

Thumbs.db
.idea

Finally, configure git to use our newly created ~/.gitignore file.

git config --global core.excludesfile ~/.gitignore

If you’re a Windows user, you’ll need to format the path differently.

git config --global core.excludesfile %USERPROFILE%\.gitignore

That’s it, no more pesky editor configuration in your commits!


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