Git attributes

GitLab supports defining custom Git attributes such as what files to treat as binary, and what language to use for syntax highlighting diffs.

To define these attributes, create a file called .gitattributes in the root directory of your repository and push it to the default branch of your project.

Encoding requirements

The .gitattributes file must be encoded in UTF-8 and must not contain a Byte Order Mark. If a different encoding is used, the file’s contents are ignored.

Support for mixed file encodings

GitLab attempts to detect the encoding of files automatically, but defaults to UTF-8 unless the detector is confident of a different type (such as ISO-8859-1). Incorrect encoding detection can result in some characters not displaying in the text, such as accented characters in a non-UTF-8 encoding.

Git has built-in support for handling this eventuality and automatically converts files between a designated encoding and UTF-8 for the repository itself. Configure support for mixed file encoding in the .gitattributes file using the working-tree-encoding attribute.


*.xhtml text working-tree-encoding=ISO-8859-1

With this example configuration, Git maintains all .xhtml files in the repository in ISO-8859-1 encoding in the local tree, but converts to and from UTF-8 when committing into the repository. GitLab renders the files accurately as it only sees correctly encoded UTF-8.

If applying this configuration to an existing repository, files may need to be touched and recommitted if the local copy has the correct encoding but the repository does not. This can be performed for the whole repository by running git add --renormalize ..

For more information, see working-tree-encoding.

Syntax highlighting

The .gitattributes file can be used to define which language to use when syntax highlighting files and diffs. For more information, see Syntax highlighting.