git-sparse-checkout(1) — Linux manual page


GIT-SPARSE-CHECKOU(1)          Git Manual          GIT-SPARSE-CHECKOU(1)

NAME         top

       git-sparse-checkout - Initialize and modify the sparse-checkout
       configuration, which reduces the checkout to a set of paths given
       by a list of patterns.

SYNOPSIS         top

       git sparse-checkout <subcommand> [options]

DESCRIPTION         top

       Initialize and modify the sparse-checkout configuration, which
       reduces the checkout to a set of paths given by a list of


COMMANDS         top

           Describe the patterns in the sparse-checkout file.

           Enable the core.sparseCheckout setting. If the
           sparse-checkout file does not exist, then populate it with
           patterns that match every file in the root directory and no
           other directories, then will remove all directories tracked
           by Git. Add patterns to the sparse-checkout file to
           repopulate the working directory.

           To avoid interfering with other worktrees, it first enables
           the extensions.worktreeConfig setting and makes sure to set
           the core.sparseCheckout setting in the worktree-specific
           config file.

           When --cone is provided, the core.sparseCheckoutCone setting
           is also set, allowing for better performance with a limited
           set of patterns (see CONE PATTERN SET below).

           Write a set of patterns to the sparse-checkout file, as given
           as a list of arguments following the set subcommand. Update
           the working directory to match the new patterns. Enable the
           core.sparseCheckout config setting if it is not already

           When the --stdin option is provided, the patterns are read
           from standard in as a newline-delimited list instead of from
           the arguments.

           When core.sparseCheckoutCone is enabled, the input list is
           considered a list of directories instead of sparse-checkout
           patterns. The command writes patterns to the sparse-checkout
           file to include all files contained in those directories
           (recursively) as well as files that are siblings of ancestor
           directories. The input format matches the output of git
           ls-tree --name-only. This includes interpreting pathnames
           that begin with a double quote (") as C-style quoted strings.

           Update the sparse-checkout file to include additional
           patterns. By default, these patterns are read from the
           command-line arguments, but they can be read from stdin using
           the --stdin option. When core.sparseCheckoutCone is enabled,
           the given patterns are interpreted as directory names as in
           the set subcommand.

           Reapply the sparsity pattern rules to paths in the working
           tree. Commands like merge or rebase can materialize paths to
           do their work (e.g. in order to show you a conflict), and
           other sparse-checkout commands might fail to sparsify an
           individual file (e.g. because it has unstaged changes or
           conflicts). In such cases, it can make sense to run git
           sparse-checkout reapply later after cleaning up affected
           paths (e.g. resolving conflicts, undoing or committing
           changes, etc.).

           Disable the core.sparseCheckout config setting, and restore
           the working directory to include all files. Leaves the
           sparse-checkout file intact so a later git sparse-checkout
           init command may return the working directory to the same


       "Sparse checkout" allows populating the working directory
       sparsely. It uses the skip-worktree bit (see git-update-index(1))
       to tell Git whether a file in the working directory is worth
       looking at. If the skip-worktree bit is set, then the file is
       ignored in the working directory. Git will not populate the
       contents of those files, which makes a sparse checkout helpful
       when working in a repository with many files, but only a few are
       important to the current user.

       The $GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout file is used to define the
       skip-worktree reference bitmap. When Git updates the working
       directory, it updates the skip-worktree bits in the index based
       on this file. The files matching the patterns in the file will
       appear in the working directory, and the rest will not.

       To enable the sparse-checkout feature, run git sparse-checkout
       init to initialize a simple sparse-checkout file and enable the
       core.sparseCheckout config setting. Then, run git sparse-checkout
       set to modify the patterns in the sparse-checkout file.

       To repopulate the working directory with all files, use the git
       sparse-checkout disable command.

FULL PATTERN SET         top

       By default, the sparse-checkout file uses the same syntax as
       .gitignore files.

       While $GIT_DIR/info/sparse-checkout is usually used to specify
       what files are included, you can also specify what files are not
       included, using negative patterns. For example, to remove the
       file unwanted:


CONE PATTERN SET         top

       The full pattern set allows for arbitrary pattern matches and
       complicated inclusion/exclusion rules. These can result in O(N*M)
       pattern matches when updating the index, where N is the number of
       patterns and M is the number of paths in the index. To combat
       this performance issue, a more restricted pattern set is allowed
       when core.sparseCheckoutCone is enabled.

       The accepted patterns in the cone pattern set are:

        1. Recursive: All paths inside a directory are included.

        2. Parent: All files immediately inside a directory are

       In addition to the above two patterns, we also expect that all
       files in the root directory are included. If a recursive pattern
       is added, then all leading directories are added as parent

       By default, when running git sparse-checkout init, the root
       directory is added as a parent pattern. At this point, the
       sparse-checkout file contains the following patterns:


       This says "include everything in root, but nothing two levels
       below root."

       When in cone mode, the git sparse-checkout set subcommand takes a
       list of directories instead of a list of sparse-checkout
       patterns. In this mode, the command git sparse-checkout set A/B/C
       sets the directory A/B/C as a recursive pattern, the directories
       A and A/B are added as parent patterns. The resulting
       sparse-checkout file is now


       Here, order matters, so the negative patterns are overridden by
       the positive patterns that appear lower in the file.

       If core.sparseCheckoutCone=true, then Git will parse the
       sparse-checkout file expecting patterns of these types. Git will
       warn if the patterns do not match. If the patterns do match the
       expected format, then Git will use faster hash- based algorithms
       to compute inclusion in the sparse-checkout.

       In the cone mode case, the git sparse-checkout list subcommand
       will list the directories that define the recursive patterns. For
       the example sparse-checkout file above, the output is as follows:

           $ git sparse-checkout list

       If core.ignoreCase=true, then the pattern-matching algorithm will
       use a case-insensitive check. This corrects for case mismatched
       filenames in the git sparse-checkout set command to reflect the
       expected cone in the working directory.

SUBMODULES         top

       If your repository contains one or more submodules, then
       submodules are populated based on interactions with the git
       submodule command. Specifically, git submodule init -- <path>
       will ensure the submodule at <path> is present, while git
       submodule deinit [-f] -- <path> will remove the files for the
       submodule at <path> (including any untracked files, uncommitted
       changes, and unpushed history). Similar to how sparse-checkout
       removes files from the working tree but still leaves entries in
       the index, deinitialized submodules are removed from the working
       directory but still have an entry in the index.

       Since submodules may have unpushed changes or untracked files,
       removing them could result in data loss. Thus, changing sparse
       inclusion/exclusion rules will not cause an already checked out
       submodule to be removed from the working copy. Said another way,
       just as checkout will not cause submodules to be automatically
       removed or initialized even when switching between branches that
       remove or add submodules, using sparse-checkout to reduce or
       expand the scope of "interesting" files will not cause submodules
       to be automatically deinitialized or initialized either.

       Further, the above facts mean that there are multiple reasons
       that "tracked" files might not be present in the working copy:
       sparsity pattern application from sparse-checkout, and submodule
       initialization state. Thus, commands like git grep that work on
       tracked files in the working copy may return results that are
       limited by either or both of these restrictions.

SEE ALSO         top

       git-read-tree(1) gitignore(5)

GIT         top

       Part of the git(1) suite

COLOPHON         top

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       ⟨⟩ on 2021-04-01.  (At that time,
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Git         04/01/2021          GIT-SPARSE-CHECKOU(1)

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