How to Include Files outside of Docker’s Build Context?

Better Stack Team
Updated on October 5, 2023

You may have ended up in a situation where you wanted to include a file from outside of Docker's build context using the ADD command, but the ADD command requires the path to be within the build context. That would mean you need to restructure your whole project, just to accommodate Docker.

There is no need to worry as there is a simple way to include files outside of the Docker build context when building the image.

The best way to work around this is to specify the Dockerfile independently of the build context, using the -f option.

The following command gives the ADD command access to all your current working directory:

docker build -f docker-files/Dockerfile .

Note that since version 18.03.0-ce, Docker allows having the Dockerfile outside the build context, so even a command like this is possible

docker build -f ../Dockerfile .

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