Topics ▾ Version ▾ gitmodules last updated in 2.13.3


gitmodules - defining submodule properties




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 git-config[1].

The file contains one subsection per submodule, and the subsection value is the name of the submodule. 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 an url from where the submodule repository can be cloned. This may be either an absolute URL ready to be passed to git-clone[1] or (if it begins with ./ or ../) a location relative to the superproject’s origin repository.


Defines what to do when the submodule is updated by the superproject. If checkout (the default), the new commit specified in the superproject will be checked out in the submodule on a detached HEAD. If rebase, the current branch of the submodule will be rebased onto the commit specified in the superproject. If merge, the commit specified in the superproject will be merged into the current branch in the submodule. This config option is overridden if git submodule update is given the --merge or --rebase options.


Consider the following .gitmodules file:

[submodule "libfoo"]
	path = include/foo
	url = git://
[submodule "libbar"]
	path = include/bar
	url = git://

This defines two submodules, libfoo and libbar. These are expected to be checked out in the paths include/foo and include/bar, and for both submodules an url is specified which can be used for cloning the submodules.


Documentation by Lars Hjemli <>


Part of the git[1] suite