I'd like to make a .7z archive of my website using 7zip; there are a few directories that contain large files (several gigabytes) not worth backing up, as I already have backups of them. I could specify to backup only specific files or directories, but I'm planning on making a script to do this for me, and it'd be a bit annoying to keep updating the script to include new files, file types, and directories. I can't find for the life of me anything in the documentation about excluding directories; only files. What's the simplest way to go about doing this?

The command I used earlier (before I had large files to avoid) was simply

7z a backup.7z *

done in the working directory.

2 Answers 2


directory is a type of file. man 7z isn't easy to read but it mentions -x:


    Exclude filenames

Let's suppose we have a following directory tree:

$ tree
├── dir
│   └── file3
├── dir1
│   └── file4
├── file1
└── file2

2 directories, 4 files

and that we want to ignore dir and dir1:

$ 7z a -x'!dir' -x'!dir1' b.7z  *

After doing that:

$ 7z l b.7z
   Date      Time    Attr         Size   Compressed  Name
------------------- ----- ------------ ------------  ------------------------
2018-04-03 22:25:24 ....A            0            0  file1
2018-04-03 22:25:24 ....A            0            0  file2
------------------- ----- ------------ ------------  ------------------------
2018-04-03 22:25:24                  0            0  2 files
  • How do you do the same thing if you don't know the name of the directories in advance?
    – wotter
    Apr 2, 2023 at 14:04

For me the syntax is slightly different.

NOW=`date +%Y-%m-%d-%H-%M-%S`
XX=`cat ~aaaaaazzzzzz/.gnupg2/passphrase-symmetric`
7z a                                           \
  -t7z -m0=lzma2 -mx=9 -mfb=64                 \
  -md=32m -ms=on -mhe=on -p${XX}               \
    '-xr!~/Documents/temp/'                    \
    '-xr!~/Documents/Sites/'                   \
    '-xr!**/*.zip'   '-xr!**/*.bz2'         '-xr!**/*.gz'   '-xr!**/*.7z'          \
    '-xr!**/*.pyc'   '-xr!**/__pycache__/**'                 \
    '-xr!**/*.gpkg'  '-xr!**/*.gramp' '-xr!**/*.ged'         \
    '-xr!**/*.log'   '-xr!*/venv/*' '-xr!*.sqlit*'  '-xr!*.bak'  '-xr!*.html~' '-xr!*.html~*'  \
    '-xr!*.vm'  '-xr!*.vmdk'  '-xr!*.vmem'  '-xr!*.vmsd'  '-xr!*.vmss'  '-xr!*.vmx'  '-xr!*.vmxf' \
    '-xr!*.mp4' '-xr!*.msf'                           \
    '-xr!*.htm' '-xr!*.html'                          \
   ${BACKUP_DIR}/data-encrypted/BackUp-${NOW}.7z      \
                    ~/Documents            \
                    ~/.ssh                 \
                    ~/.gnupg2              \

I run on Linux / Ubuntu

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    Jan 18, 2023 at 22:13

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