Showing hidden files in Mac OS X

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I use hidden files (such as .htaccess) extensively on my website, so I needed to be sure that they were included with my local backup copy. Mac OS X doesn’t show hidden files by default (it all gets a bit messy otherwise – although they are visible in a Terminal shell); however I found a tip which details the commands to run in order to show hidden files in the Finder (this can be run using a standard user account):

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder

To return to the default display, run:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
killall Finder

I did find an application to display hidden files too but why bother if a couple of commands will do the trick? Even better, there is a workflow to show hidden files using Automator.

5 thoughts on “Showing hidden files in Mac OS X

  1. Thank you for this tip. It does work for me and I was able to delete some unnecessary .htaccess files from my desktop.


  2. I’m using a Dashboard Widget called “hiddenfiles” (can be found on the Apple downloads page). It’s only 1 click on your dashboard to enable or disable hidden files. For me this is the simplest approach.

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