The directory listing API is used to enumerate paths in the work tree, optionally taking .git/info/exclude and .gitignore files per directory into account.

Data structure

struct dir_struct structure is used to pass directory traversal options to the library and to record the paths discovered. A single struct dir_struct is used regardless of whether or not the traversal recursively descends into subdirectories.

The notable options are:


The name of the file to be read in each directory for excluded files (typically .gitignore).


A bit-field of options (the *IGNORED* flags are mutually exclusive):


Return just ignored files in entries[], not untracked files.


Similar to DIR_SHOW_IGNORED, but return ignored files in ignored[] in addition to untracked files in entries[].


Special mode for git-add. Return ignored files in ignored[] and untracked files in entries[]. Only returns ignored files that match pathspec exactly (no wildcards). Does not recurse into ignored directories.


Include a directory that is not tracked.


Do not include a directory that is not tracked and is empty.


If set, recurse into a directory that looks like a Git directory. Otherwise it is shown as a directory.

The result of the enumeration is left in these fields:


An array of struct dir_entry, each element of which describes a path.


The number of members in entries[] array.


Internal use; keeps track of allocation of entries[] array.


An array of struct dir_entry, used for ignored paths with the DIR_SHOW_IGNORED_TOO and DIR_COLLECT_IGNORED flags.


The number of members in ignored[] array.

Calling sequence

Note: index may be looked at for .gitignore files that are CE_SKIP_WORKTREE marked. If you to exclude files, make sure you have loaded index first.

  • Prepare struct dir_struct dir and clear it with memset(&dir, 0, sizeof(dir)).

  • To add single exclude pattern, call add_exclude_list() and then add_exclude().

  • To add patterns from a file (e.g. .git/info/exclude), call add_excludes_from_file() , and/or set dir.exclude_per_dir. A short-hand function setup_standard_excludes() can be used to set up the standard set of exclude settings.

  • Set options described in the Data Structure section above.

  • Call read_directory().

  • Use dir.entries[].

  • Call clear_directory() when none of the contained elements are no longer in use.