Show Hidden Files in Mac OS X Finder

For any of you power-users moving from Windows to MacOS X behind me, another thing you’ll want to know is how to get the Finder to show hidden files (those that begin with a period). 
Open a Terminal windows and type:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder

The first line changes the setting in Finder. The second line closes all open Finder windows, so that Finder will restart with the new configuration the next time you open a new window.

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  1. Thanks for the tip. Very useful to know. I am also a recent Windows convert…. Glad I made the ‘upgrade’ ;)

    A point to raise is there will be loads of .DS_Store files displayed when you make this change. I doubt accidentally deleting .DS_Store files would cause an issue, however OSX would likely lose the relevant folder settings/ preferences. Not a big deal though I don’t suspect.

    Is there a way to script this, such as creating a .sh file for instance, thus doing the equivallent of a Windows .bat file to automate things? I want to switch this feature on and off since I share my computer with another user.

    For now I just copy and paste in this command to revert the change:

    defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE


  2. Craig,
    thanks for the info.

    Thanks for providing the information on how to put it back to normal after I changed settings without reading to see if there was a way back!

  3. Good freeware application for

  4. Sheesh, these two lines were what I needed but all these other sites out there had essays on garbage topics with no real help. Perfect example of KISS – keep it simple, stupid.

    Thanks for your help!

  5. Yes, but how do i make it show FOLDERS, not files?

  6. I have a this issue happening backwards from above. On my Windows server, the Macs are making the file hidden. So a user opens a file on a Mac or create it there, then they save to the Windows server. Then when they want to use that file or folder on the Windows side, it doesn’t show up, I look on the server and it is hidden in the Attributes, I uncheck that and they see it. Why does it do that and does anyone know how to make it stop? :) They always see it on the Mac side, doesn’t hide it there.

    Any help would be appreciated! THANKS!!

  7. Thanks much for this, something simple for a medium user, that knows the terminal.

  8. @Mr. R.

    The best way, and you might have already attempted this, but use the Automator that is built into OS X. Plugin the terminal commands and let it go. It will create an Icon to execute the file from when done.

  9. this is some SOLID wisdom. I used automator, made to apps, on the desktop, and now i am set.
    Thanks, ladies & gentlemen.

  10. Thank you. I was trying to save some OmniGraffle stencils and I couldn’t find my Library folder. Why OmniGraffle would use a hidden folder as the default place to store templates is beyond me. Nice tip.

  11. This worked great, I found the files I needed to delete, thanks!

    How do i reverse it?

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