The Vim Ctrlp plugin has a way to globally ignore certain folder names. Eg:

let g:ctrlp_custom_ignore = '\v[\/]\.(git|hg|svn)$'

However, I have an ignore rule that's specific to one project. I would like something more like a .gitignore file.

Is there a way to ignore a specific folder in a specific project without modifying my global configuration?

  • Did you try the plugin's issue tracker? – romainl Sep 24 '13 at 20:16

Use a custom listing command

Ctrlp lets you tell it what command to use to get a list of files in the folder. So if you wanted to exclude anything named beets.txt, you could do:

let g:ctrlp_user_command = 'find %s -type f | grep -v "beets.txt"'

That's global, but it starts to point toward the answer: supply your own shell command.

Even better, Ctrlp lets you supply multiple shell commands with markers, meaning "if you see this marker in the root directory, use this command."

I found this in :help ctrlp, and modified slightly based on the author's comment on an issue.

let g:ctrlp_user_command = {
  \ 'types': {
    \ 1: ['.git', 'cd %s && git ls-files --cached --exclude-standard --others'],
    \ 2: ['.hg', 'hg --cwd %s locate -I .'],
    \ },
  \ 'fallback': 'find %s -type f'
  \ }

This means: "If you see .git in the folder, use git ls-files.... Otherwise, if you see .hg, use hg --cwd..., otherwise use a regular find."

So, to ignore a specific folder in one project, devise a command that will ignore that folder, then place a unique marker in that project to let Ctrlp that you want to use your special command here.

(In my case, I actually wanted to ignore files that were in .gitignore, so the git ls-files command above works for me.)

  • git -C %s ls-files --cached --exclude-standard --others should work for git. – Arunprasad Rajkumar Nov 29 '15 at 5:15

If you are using the Silver Searcher backend for CtrlP (which is far faster), just add an .agignore file to your project directory in the same format as a .gitignore:


Alternatively, keep a global ~/.agignore file.

Add the Silver Searcher as the backend with this in your .vimrc

let g:ctrlp_user_command = 'ag %s -l --nocolor --hidden -g ""'
  • 1
    Thanks for posting this. To add another data point: I adapted this if executable("ag") let g:ctrlp_user_command = 'ag %s -l --nocolor --depth 8 -g ""' endif . The depth limit is useful for if I accidentally hit ctrl-p while editing a file in my home folder. I found that the hidden flag would include files in .git/ – Eric Hu Aug 13 '15 at 23:19

Specifies intentionally untracked files in a file

To solve this with a file like .gitignore (based in the Nathan grep solution), I created a file named .ctrlpignore and put the patterns that should be ignored, separated by lines:


And my ctrlp configuration:

let g:ctrlp_user_command = 'find %s -type f | grep -v "`cat .ctrlpignore`"'

Maybe the .gitignore itself can be used to ignore the files in ctrlp, not needing to create a new file to do almost the same thing.

  • I added this snippet but it breaks the overal ctrlp behavior, if I type orderscontroller it finds only _spec files, no actual orders_controller.rb file. – jedi Sep 21 '19 at 14:30

As Wagner Andrade said, using a seperate .ctrlpignore would be a good idea.

A more robust and convenient vim setting is like this:

let g:ctrlp_user_command = 'cd %s;
  \ commonfilter="\.(jpg|bmp|png|jar|7z|zip|tar|gz|tgz|bz)$";
  \ if [ ! -r ".ctrlpignore" ]; then
  \   find . -type f | grep -Evi "$commonfilter";
  \ else
  \   find . -type f | grep -vF "$(cat .ctrlpignore)" | grep -Evi "$commonfilter";
  \ fi'

.ctrlpignore can be put in any dir that would be recognized as a root dir by ctrlp. Here is an example, every line is starting with ./

vim ~/.ctrlpignore



  1. grep -F will interpret pattern, ex. './.tmp', as a fixed string if you don't want your './ptmp' be filtered out. There are still some trivial bugs: './.tmp' will also filter out './.tmp2'. Forget it, I don't like \.

  2. g:ctrlp_custom_ignore will be ignored if g:ctrlp_user_command is set. Those could be done in a more complex g:ctrlp_user_command

  3. white-list instead of black-list is also possible. More convenient if implemented in a seperate script


Using ag, I was able to setup a system like:

    let g:ctrlp_user_command = '
      \ filter="jpg|bmp|png|jar|7z|zip|tar|gz|tgz|bz";
      \ if [ -f "bsconfig.json" ]; then
      \   subfilter="lib"
      \   filter="$filter|$subfilter"
      \ fi;
      \ if [ -f "Cargo.toml" ]; then
      \   subfilter="target"
      \   filter="$filter|$subfilter"
      \ fi;
      \ if [ -f "elm.json" ]; then
      \   subfilter="elm-stuff"
      \   filter="$filter|$subfilter"
      \ fi;
      \ if [ -f "package.json" ]; then
      \   subfilter="node_modules|*.min.js"
      \   filter="$filter|$subfilter"
      \ fi;
      \ ag %s -l --nocolor -g "" --ignore "\.($filter)$"
      \ '

which allows you to mark certain files to ignore based on files found in the directory you launch vim from. For example, in a JS project with package.json, we want to ignore both node_modules and *.min.js, and so on. This worked well for me because I didn't want to duplicate the same .agignore in every JS project, and I want to support handling multiple patterns, like an Elm and JS project in the same directory.

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