How to set a Dropbox file to be ignored

This feature is currently in beta and not available to all Dropbox users. It will be rolled out to more users in the future.

You can set a file or folder to be “ignored” by Dropbox. This allows you to organize files and folders in the Dropbox folder on your computer without storing them on dropbox.com or on the Dropbox server at all. 

Once ignored, the file or folder remains where it is in your Dropbox folder and is synced to your computer’s hard drive, but it’s deleted from the Dropbox server and your other devices, can’t be accessed on dropbox.com, and won’t sync to your Dropbox account. 

Once a folder is ignored, all files and folders inside it are also ignored. If an ignored folder is moved somewhere else, it remains ignored. However, if a folder inside an ignored folder is moved to a folder that is not ignored, it stops being ignored.

How to set a file or folder to be ignored by Dropbox

To ignore a file, you’ll need to edit the commands that control your computer’s hard drive in your computer’s terminal application.

If you’re on a Mac computer:

  1. Open the Terminal application on your computer.
  2. Type
     xattr -w com.dropbox.ignored 1. 
    
  3. Type the location of the file next to that. 
    • You can also drag and drop the file or folder that you want to ignore from your file browser into the Terminal and it will populate with the location of the file.
    • It should look something like this:
      xattr -w com.dropbox.ignored 1 /Users/yourname/Dropbox\ \(Personal\)/YourFileName.pdf
      
  4. Press return on your keyboard. 

The icon beside your file will change to a gray minus sign indicating that the file is ignored.

If you’re on a Windows computer:

  1. Open the PowerShell application on your computer.
  2. Type
     Set-Content -Path.
    
  3. Type the location of the file next to that. 
    • You can also drag and drop the file or folder that you want to ignore from your file browser into the Terminal and it will populate with the location of the file.
  4. Type -Stream com.dropbox.ignored -Value 1
    • It should look something like this:
      Set-Content -Path C:\Users\yourname\Dropbox\ \(Personal\)/YourFileName.pdf  -Stream com.dropbox.ignored -Value 1
          
      
  5. Press enter on your keyboard. 

The icon beside your file will change to a gray minus sign indicating that the file is ignored.

If you’re on a Linux computer:

  1. Open the Terminal application on your computer.
  2. Type
    attr -s com.dropbox.ignored -V 1.
        
    
  3. Type the location of the file next to that. 
    • You can also drag and drop the file or folder that you want to ignore from your file browser into the Terminal and it will populate with the location of the file.
    • It should look something like this:
      attr -s com.dropbox.ignored -V 1 /Users/yourname/Dropbox\ \(Personal\)/YourFileName.pdf
      
  4. Press enter on your keyboard. 

The icon beside your file will change to a gray minus sign indicating that the file is ignored.

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