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Version: v2.1.8

Include and Exclude rules

In the App-specific configurations section, we discussed a way to create configurations that change depending on the active application. These configurations let you tune the way Espanso interacts with specific applications by providing a series of parameters.

Among them you'll find the include and exclude rules, two sets of parameters that let you customize which matches and packages should be used for a given configuration.

A typical use-case would be to create a set of email templates and only enable them inside your email client, or defining some code-snippets and only enable them inside your IDEs and Text Editors of choice.

You might also want to disable a package inside a specific application, for example disabling emojis when using Slack, which already comes with emojis.

These use-cases are solved by the include and exclude rules.

Typical use-case for include rules

Let's start with a simple example. We want to create a set of email replies and only enable when when inside Chrome or Firefox.

We start by defining the snippets inside the match/_email.yml file:

- trigger: ":contact"
replace: |
Thank you for contacting us!
Best regards,
The Support Team
Make sure to include the underscore!

In the previous example, we prefixed the filename with an _ underscore. As explained in the Organizing matches section, Espanso automatically loads all YAML files located in the match directory, except the ones starting with an _ underscore.

Therefore, we prefix the _email.yml filename with an underscore to prevent Espanso from loading that YAML file automatically. If we hadn't done so, Espanso would enable the email.yml file for all applications. Instead, we want to enable it only on Chrome and Firefox.

At this point, we can create an app-specific configuration for Chrome:

filter_exec: "chrome"

- "../match/_email.yml"

Let's discuss it step-by-step:

  1. Firstly, we specify the filter_exec option to enable this configuration only when using Chrome. Note that this filter might not be working on your platform, check out the App-specific configurations section for more information and instructions on finding the right filter.
  2. Then, we specify the extra_includes rule, passing the relative path to the snippet file we defined earlier.

The previous configuration should be interpreted as:

Also include the snippets defined in the match/_email.yml file when using Chrome.

Then, we can do the same for Firefox:

filter_exec: "firefox"

- "../match/_email.yml"

At this point, we'll have the :contact snippet ready to be used on Chrome and Firefox!

Be careful with those filters

In the previous examples, we used some filters to detect Chrome and Firefox. These have only been tested on Windows, and might not be working on other platforms. Make sure to read the Finding the right filters section to find suitable ones.

Excluding a package

Another common use-case is to disable a package when using a specific application. For example, let's say we want to disable the all-emojis package when using Telegram.

You can create an app-specific configuration config/telegram.yml as follows:

filter_exec: Telegram

- "../match/packages/all-emojis/*"

In this example, we defined the extra_excludes rule, specifying a glob pattern for the all-emojis package. With this rule, Espanso will exclude all files defined inside the all-emojis package when using Telegram.

Keep in mind that you are not limited to packages, you can use the excludes rules with all match files:

filter_exec: Telegram

- "../match/code_snippets.yml"

Difference between includes and extra_includes

In the previous examples, we used the so-called extra rules, which are used to extend the built-in include and exclude definitions. For example, specifying the following extra_includes rule:

- "../match/_custom.yml"

will cause this configuration to extend the default include rules, resulting in the following includes:


In other words, by specifying extra_includes you extend the default includes (../match/**/[!_]*.yml).

For many use-cases, this behavior is desirable, but there are times when you might want to redefine includes without extending them. To do that, you'll need to use the includes rule instead of extra_includes.

For example, the following app-specific configuration will only load the match/jokes.yml snippets when using Telegram, ignoring the default definitions.

filter_exec: Telegram

- "../match/jokes.yml"

The same considerations apply to the excludes and extra_excludes rules as well.


Hi! I'm Federico, the creator of espanso. I develop espanso in my (little) spare time and I decided to make it open source because I thought it could be useful to many people.

If you liked the project, please consider making a small donation, it really helps :)

A special thanks goes to all the wonderful people who supported espanso along the way

Together, we will make espanso the first universal text expander, open to everyone.


Espanso is open source and hosted on GitHub.


If you find a bug or have an idea for a new feature, please open an issue on GitHub.