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FreeFileSync User Manual:

Exclude Files and Directories via Filter

File exclude filter

Files and directories are only considered for synchronization if they pass all filter rules: They have to match at least one entry in the include list and none of the entries in the exclude list as presented in the filter configuration dialog.
  • Each list item must be a file or directory path relative to the selected base directories.
  • Multiple items must be separated by | or a new line.
  • Wild cards may be used:  
    * means zero or more characters
    ? represents exactly one character
  • File matching is case-insensitive

Example: Match items of a folder pair

The following filter phrases assume a folder pair C:\Source <-> D:\Target and can be used for the include as well as exclude filter.
Filter description Filter phrase
Single file C:\Source\file.txt \file.txt
Single folder C:\Source\SubFolder \SubFolder\
All files (and folders) named thumbs.db *\thumbs.db
All files (and folders) starting with the Z character *\z*
All *.tmp files located in C:\Source\SubFolder \SubFolder\*.tmp
Files and folders containing temp somewhere in their path *temp*
Multiple entries separated by vertical bar *.tmp | *.doc | *.bak
All subdirectories of the base directories *\
*.txt files located in subdirectories of base directories \*\*.txt

Example: Exclude a sub folder except for certain files

Set up two folder pairs with the same source and target paths but with distinct local filters:
Folder pair 1: local exclude filter \SubFolder\
Folder pair 2: local include filter \SubFolder\*.txt

Example: Exclude empty folders

Filter with file size zero Set up a file size filter with a lower limit of 0 bytes. Both the time span and file size filters match files only, so this will exclude all folders. During synchronization however some excluded folders will still be synchronized if they contain at least one non-excluded item, i.e. when they are not empty.

  • For simple exclusions, just right-click and exclude one item or a list of items directly via the context menu on main dialog.
  • A filter phrase is compared against both file and directory paths. If you want to consider directories only, you can give a hint by appending a path separator.
  • Both slash (/) and backslash (\) can be used as the path separator character.