Add an empty directory to a Git repository

By Joel Stein on January 24, 2013

Sometimes I have repositories with folders that will only ever contain files considered to be “content”—that is, they are not files that I care about being versioned, and therefore should never be committed. With Git’s .gitignore file, you can ignore entire directories. But there are times when having the folder in the repo would be beneficial. Here’s a excellent solution for accomplishing this need.

What I’ve done in the past is put a .gitignore file at the root of my repo, and then exclude the folder, like so:


However, these folders then don’t become part of the repo. You could add something like a README file in there. But then you have to tell your application not to worry about processing any README files.

If your app depends on the folders being there (though empty), you can simply add a .gitignore file to the folder in question, and use it to accomplish two goals:

  1. Tell Git there’s a file in the folder, which makes Git add it to the repo.
  2. Tell Git to ignore the contents of this folder, minus this file itself.

Here is the .gitignore file to put inside your empty directories:


The first line (*) tells Git to ignore everything in this directory. The second line tells Git not to ignore the .gitignore file. You can stuff this file into every empty folder you want added to the repo.

This excellent solution comes from here.