The .gitmodules file, located in the top-level directory of a Git working
tree, is a text file with a syntax matching the requirements of
The file contains one subsection per submodule, and the subsection
value is the name of the submodule. The name is set to the path where the
submodule has been added unless it was customized with the --name
option of git submodule add. Each submodule section also contains the
following required keys:
Defines the path, relative to the top-level directory of
the Git working tree, where the submodule is expected to be checked out. The
path name must not end with a /. All submodule paths must be unique
within the .gitmodules file.
Defines a URL from which the submodule repository can be
cloned. This may be either an absolute URL ready to be passed to
or (if it begins with ./
) a location
relative to the superproject’s origin repository.
In addition, there are a number of optional keys:
Defines the default update procedure for the named
submodule, i.e. how the submodule is updated by the git submodule
command in the superproject. This is only used by git submodule
to initialize the configuration variable of the same name. Allowed
values here are checkout
See description of update
command in git-submodule(1)
meaning. For security reasons, the !command
form is not accepted
A remote branch name for tracking updates in the upstream
submodule. If the option is not specified, it defaults to the remote
. A special value of .
is used to indicate that the name of
the branch in the submodule should be the same name as the current branch in
the current repository. See the --remote
This option can be used to control recursive fetching of
this submodule. If this option is also present in the submodule’s entry
in .git/config of the superproject, the setting there will override the
one found in .gitmodules. Both settings can be overridden on the
command line by using the --[no-]recurse-submodules option to git
fetch and git pull.
Defines under what circumstances git status
the diff family show a submodule as modified. The following values are
The submodule will never be considered modified (but will
nonetheless show up in the output of status and commit when it has been
All changes to the submodule’s work tree will be
ignored, only committed differences between the HEAD of the submodule
and its recorded state in the superproject are taken into account.
Only untracked files in submodules will be ignored.
Committed differences and modifications to tracked files will show up.
No modifications to submodules are ignored, all of
committed differences, and modifications to tracked and untracked files are
shown. This is the default option.
If this option is also present in the submodule’s entry in
.git/config of the superproject, the setting there will override the
one found in .gitmodules.
Both settings can be overridden on the command line by using the
--ignore-submodules option. The git submodule commands are not
affected by this setting.
When set to true, a clone of this submodule will be
performed as a shallow clone (with a history depth of 1) unless the user
explicitly asks for a non-shallow clone.