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📄 Modified File Filter for GitHub Actions

This GitHub Action halts a workflow unless the file(s) in the path specified in args has been modified. Only use this Action in workflows triggered by push events.

🚫February 2020 update: This Action is no longer supported, as the push payload no longer includes modified files. We could update this Action to make API calls for each individual commit in a push to check for modified files, but since checking for modified files is now supported natively, I've decided to sunset this Action.

⚠️ August 2019 update: GitHub Actions now supports this behavior natively! I recommend trying the behavior built into the new workflow syntax before using this Action.


Let’s say you have a repository with a file located at db/structure.sql and you want to receive an alert in Slack each time that file is modified. You could create a new workflow with Modified File Filter and Slack for GitHub Actions.

screen shot 2019-02-09 at 10 49 29 am

workflow "Database change alert" {
  on = "push"
  resolves = ["Alert"]

action "Check" {
  uses = "nholden/modified-file-filter-action@master"
  args = "db/structure.sql"

action "Alert" {
  uses = "Ilshidur/action-slack@6286a077a2b77159fcc4f425a9e714173d374616"
  secrets = ["SLACK_WEBHOOK"]
  args = "db/structure.sql was modified!"
  needs = ["Check"]

The next time anyone pushes to the repository, if any of the commits in the push modify db/structure.sql, the Check Action will pass, triggering the Alert Action, which will send you a message in Slack. If none of the commits in the push modify db/structure.sql, the Check Action will fail, and the Alert Action will not be triggered.


The argument is the path to one or more files. The Action will pass if any of the matched files is modified.

Glob patterns can also be used. See documentation of File.fnmatch.


  • args = "db/structure.sql"
  • args = "db/structure.sql model/*"
  • args = ["db/*" "model/*"]

A special case: pull request merges

With most pushes, Modified File Filter will look at all of the commits in the push and will pass if any of the individual commits modify the specified file. However, merging a pull request triggers a push event, and for those pushes, Modified File Filter will only look at the merge commit and will not look at any of the individual commits in the pull request.

This special case prevents Modified File Filter from passing the specified file is changed in multiple commits in a pull request but there are ultimately no net changes to the file in the base branch when the pull request is merged.


Contributions are welcome from anyone! Feel free to make a pull request or use GitHub issues for help getting started, to report bugs, or to make feature requests.

Installing dependencies

bundle install

Running tests

bundle exec rake