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Apple: How To Show Hidden OS X Files and Folders

Our David W. Martin has a quick tip for you. Here’s how to reveal hidden Apple OX files and folders. You need to see them the next time you have to troubleshoot.

Here’s how to temporarily see your hidden files and folders — and in any OS X dialog box where you open or save files. Make the hidden files visible and invisible at will using the following simple keyboard trick.

Using the basic TextEdit that ships with Apple OS X, I hit the keyboard combo Command+O and navigated to my Dropbox folder to get the Open Dialog box you see above.

Notice it now lists four files and two folders, but no hidden items. By default Mac OS X hides such files. But you just need a keyboard combo to view them.

Hit Command+Shift+Period while the Open dialog box is visible and get:

The Command+Shift+Period exposes the hidden files and folders within my Dropbox folder. See?

They are: .dropbox.cache, .DS_Store and icon.

It’s true don’t really need to use any of these today, but if you optimize your Mac down the road and need access to hidden files, it’s good to know you can view them at will.

So whether you’re trouble shooting or just changing settings, now you know how to see your hidden files. Be careful with them, though. Don’t delete, modify, rename or do anything else besides view them unless directed by IT support.

About the author

David W. Martin

Based in Houston, David W. Martin is a veteran tech journalist and IT Ninja, especially known for his Apple coverage in CNET, Cult of Mac, BYTE and other sites. Now he's a Senior Editor, columnist and reviewer covering Apple for aNewDomain. Follow David @david_w_martin or email him tips and comments at DWMartin@aNewDomain.net

  • I dont own a OSX device, but I’ve always loved that OS UI. And it’s so smoooooooth. Ubuntu is the next best thing so that’s how I roll for now.

    -RAP, II