How can I set duplicity to exclude all hidden files and folders from backing them up, without specifying each and every one of them?

3 Answers 3


The decision by the developer is to keep the options very simple. This has been requested several times, here and here are some bug reports/feature requests on the issue.

An easier way to achieve what you want is to add just the directories (/Documents, /Music, /Pictures, etc...) individually, instead of selecting the entire /Home directory. You likely have 10 or less folders in your /Home directory, so this is easier then manually excluding all the hidden folders and files.

It's a good question, but the answer is to use a workaround.

  • When excluding certain folders like --include Documents --include Music, do not forget to append --exclude '*' on the end or files will be included anyway.
    – Lekensteyn
    Feb 10, 2012 at 21:02
  • @Lekensteyn Good point. My answer is more geared for people like me who use duplicity via the 'Backup' GUI-based app. I actually upvoted your answer as it's the better one, but I see others have now upvoted mine. Bottom line is if people are setting this up via terminal they need to make sure the exclude command is used, right? Feb 11, 2012 at 8:07
  • I upvoted yours as well since it actually contains valuable information. It took me a minute to figure out that the --exclude '*' command is necessary, so hopefully I save others time now.
    – Lekensteyn
    Feb 11, 2012 at 8:22

In duplicity's GUI ("Backup" / deja-dup), if you want to list dot-file in your excluded files, you may be having difficulty selecting them via the GUI.

  1. Click on the plus ("+") icon under "Folders" tab and whichever category you wish (e.g. "Folders to ignore" category). This brings up a file browser.
  2. If you want to select dot files (ie, "hidden files"), just right-click in some empty space in this file browser and choose "show hidden files".
  3. Now you can make use of ctrl-click or shift-click to select some or many or all of your dot files explicitly.

This does NOT answer the question, but the other answers referred to command line non-solutions. This is a GUI non-solution.


A hidden file or directory starts with a dot (e.g. .bash_history, .cache/). The pattern for that is .*, so you can use the --exclude '.*' option to exclude hidden files and directories. This option must come before other --include patterns because:

A given file is excluded by the file selection system exactly when the first matching file selection condition specifies that the file be excluded; otherwise the file is included.

(from man duplicity)

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