Show hidden files in the OS X Finder


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 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 AppleShowAllFiles -bool false
# KillAll Finder

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

8 thoughts on “Show hidden files in the OS X Finder

  1. Anonymous says:

    I prefer view and edit hidden files in my FTP app (Transmit for example) as FTP applications mostly show them by default: it’s easy and quick.


  2. Lucas Arruda says:

    Also, onyx for Leopard (not yet approved, but functional) does this with a checkbox.

  3. Jauhari says:

    The Problem, on my FTP Client (Transmit) my .htaccess disappear too. how to make it visible on other application but disable on Finder?


  4. uh oh says:

    for some reason, it locked me out of my desktop. Can’t click anything on it. Says I don’t have premission. I am an admin as well. Tried disabling didn’t work. Suggestions?

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