Every once in a while I need to make an update to an .htaccess file on a server share or some other dot-file that is normally hidden by the Finder. Instead of editing the file in the terminal with the vi editor—a perfectly appropriate solution, of course—it’s a pretty simple tweak to make the Finder show all of those hidden files.

Just open a Terminal window and run the following:

# defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool true
# KillAll Finder

One thing you might notice after enabling the hidden file option, aside from all those insidious .DS_Store files, is that all of the file icons will take on a hazy, 50% alpha look. I’ve gotten used to it, but it’s a little annoying. To switch things back, just set the AppleShowAllFiles parameter back to false:

# defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool false
# KillAll Finder

Like I said… perfectly appropriate to edit stuff with vi from the terminal window.