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


  3. 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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