How does atom decide what is a project?


Hi all,

I have been using atom for a few weeks now and have become my primary editor, I love it.

I am having some issues, or at least don’t understand projects. For both of the scenarios below I have gone file > Add Project folder… to open them.

At least 50% of the time the editor recognises a folder as a project, the other times it sees it as a normal folder. This doesn’t bother me too much until I try to search an entire project. Full project searches seem to only work if the folder is recognised as a project. Here are some screenshots:

How does Atom decide which folders are projects?

Any help is much appreciated.




I am not 100% sure, but I think projects are recognized as such when they are git repositories.


@frabert is correct. It is only a project if it is a Git repository, in other words it has a .git directory immediately inside it.


That seems unnecessarily restrictive(?) As that seems like general features and functionality of the editor are being lost for no real (relevant) reason.

Should the user not be the one to tell the editor which folders contain projects and which don’t. That is, in addition to nice automation like .git recognition, the user should still be able to say “yes, but this is still a project” to atom?


I should have said, “It only uses that icon if it is a Git repository”. Atom’s concept of a project is really just whatever collection of paths you have open in Atom. Ref:

If find-in-project doesn’t behave how you expect, please file an Issue on the find-and-replace package.


Thanks for all of your replies. Yes that explains it. It does act the same. They both act the same other than the icon change. The search for a project also acts the same. I think it was having issues but a reboot fixed everything.

Keep up the great work everyone!