Code ownership is defined as a strict ruleset. Files can be assigned to owners. To define rulesets for code ownership, we make use of the CODEOWNERS format.

CODEOWNERS files contain a sequence of matching rules - a glob pattern and zero or more owners. A repository has at most one CODEOWNERS file.

Specifying Owner information

Owners can be defined by a username/team name or an email address.

Using email addresses is generally recommended, as email addresses are most likely the same across different platforms, and are independent of a user having registered yet. In Sourcegraph, a user can add multiple email addresses to their profile. All of those would match to the same user.

For committed CODEOWNERS files, the usernames are usually the username on the code host, so they don't necessarily match with the Sourcegraph username. This is a known limitation, and in the future, we will provide ways to map external code host names to Sourcegraph users. For now, you can search for a user by their code host username, or switch to using emails in the CODEOWNERS files, which will work across both Sourcegraph and the code host.

File format

The following snippet shows an example of a valid CODEOWNERS file.

*.txt @text-team
# this is a comment explaining why Alice owns this
/build/logs/ [email protected] 
/cmd/**/test @qa-team @user
  • Asterisk * is a wildcard that matches N tokens in a path segment.Example: doc/*/own will match doc/ref/own and doc/tutorial/own, but not doc/a/b/own
  • Double ** asterisk matches any sub-path.Example: doc/**/own will match doc/ref/own and doc/a/b/own
  • Starting a pattern with / anchors matches at the repository root.Example: /docs/* matches /docs/ and /docs/ but not /src/docs/
  • Trailing slash / matches any file within the directory tree (so it is equivalent to trailing /**).Example: docs/ matches /testing/docs/foo and /docs/foo/bar, but does not match /docs or /testing/docs.

The rules are considered independently and in order. Rules farther down the file take precedence. Only one rule matches. So for instance for /build/logs/log-1.txt the owner will only be [email protected] and not @text-team since the /build/logs/ rule will take precedence over *.txt rule.


  • GitLab allows sections in CODEOWNERS files, these are not yet supported and section markers are ignored
  • Code Owners for Bitbucket inline defined groups are not yet supported

To configure ownership in Sourcegraph, you have two options:

Committing a CODEOWNERS file to your repositories

Use this approach if you prefer versioned ownership data.

You can simply commit a CODEOWNERS file at any of the following locations for it to be picked up automatically by code ownership:


Searches at specific commits will return any CODEOWNERS data that exists at that specific commit.

Uploading a CODEOWNERS file to Sourcegraph

Use this approach if you don't want to commit CODEOWNERS files to your repos, or if you have an existing system that tracks ownership data and want to sync that data with Sourcegraph.

Read more on how to manually ingest CODEOWNERS data into your Sourcegraph instance.

The docs detail how to use the UI or src-cli to upload CODEOWNERS files to Sourcegraph.