Using TextEdit, when I try to save example.txt to some hidden directory, for example ~/Library, I can't because save panel doesn't show them.

The only way I found was to save file to non-hidden directory and then copy/paste them to desired hidden directory.
This is pretty common for me, for example when I want to try I/O for console programs in Xcode, executables are in ~/Library/Developer/Xcode/ which is a hidden directory.

But that doesn't apply only to TextEdit, I tried Text Wrangler, Photoshop, Grapher, only Blender, which doesn't use native window system allows me to save it anywhere. My question is, is this common behavior? Is there any workaround (except for saving it to non-hidden+copy/paste), or some hidden setting?

EDIT: adding picture

as below suggestted, typing / you can specify your directory, providing you know the exact path, but what if there are more than 1 hidden files in your path? On the left is save panel without hidden directories, on the right Finder with enabled hidden directories.

Mac default save vs. Finder

  • Please see my update to my answer, this maybe why you think it does not work for you when in fact it should. I do not use column view so did not realise it has a slightly odd behaviour. But it does work in it..
    – markhunte
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 6:39

6 Answers 6


The built in way to do this by using a key combination when in the save/open dialogs to toggle the hidden files to visible or hidden

Update: This shortcut works in all views, But in column view it does not update the view to show the change until you navigate to another directory. Not sure why this is the behaviour. But you can toggle it in column view click on another folder (in the parent column on the left) and back to see it has changed.

When you are in the Save or Open Dialogue of the app.

Press and hold the CMD + shift and then . keys at the same time.

This will toggle hidden files/folders in the Save or Open Dialogue.

[toggled to hide invisible files/folder]

enter image description here

[toggled to Show invisible files/folder]

enter image description here

Note: You do not need to have hidden files/folders set to visible in the finder This toggle works independently.

  • This works as far back as 10.6.8 Snow Leopard! Thank you! Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 21:34
  • @markhunte Are you sure this works with hidden directories? I have OS X 10.10 and this doesn't work for me anyway ( files & directories) .
    – Martin
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 1:12
  • @martinerk0 Yes it works on 10.10 which is what I am on. As you can see from the screen shots. In the Save dialog, then hold down cmd+shift+. (period or full stop key)
    – markhunte
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 1:29
  • doesn't work in column view,right?
    – nelson
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 2:04
  • @nelson see my update, it does work in column view..
    – markhunte
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 6:37

Which version of OS X are you using?
When I tested this on Yosemite, if I entered ~ or / it brought up this:

File path dialog

in which you can enter the path to the directory of your choice.

Also if you just put in the directory such as


Then it will take the file selector to that directory and allow you to drill down.

  • 1
    This also works on OSX 10.8 and !0.9. Press ~ and directly enter the path to the hidden folder :).
    – Chrisii
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 12:47
  • this works, but you have to know exact path, or have simultaneosy opened finder as I showed in edited OP
    – Martin
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 12:52
  • @martinerk0, you can use tab autocompletion. It's not necessary to precisely type in the required path, enter the first few letters of the folder, press tab --> rinse and repeat until you reach the desired folder
    – Chrisii
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 12:55
  • I could as well as use Terminal and cd there, but using Finder to find desired hidden directory, copy path and then save it is much faster. I would like to know if there is way to show hidden directories in save panel, I don't see why there can't be this functionality, when it's doable in Finder.
    – Martin
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 13:06
  • defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES killall Finder
    – nelson
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 13:34

Referring to the screenshot in your original question: Just drag the folder (_EXTERNAL_DATA...) from your Finder window on the right into the save dialog on the left. The save dialog will now be sitting at the folder you dragged into it.

If you have already opened the folder in your Finder window, just drag the little folder icon from the Finder window's title bar (the one directly to the left of the window title) instead.

I quite like the 'Go to folder' solution in another answer, but if you already have the other window open, I think this is even quicker.


Pressing ⌘⇧G (Cmd+Shift+G) in any Finder window or standard file open/save dialog will bring up a little prompt:

go to prompt

You can enter any path you want into this prompt. Using ⌘⇧G to get to this prompt will show the last path you entered, which is very handy for saving multiple files to the same hidden destination.

In Open or Save dialogs you can also get to this prompt by pressing either the ~ or / keys, which will prefill the dialog with ~ (home directory) or / (root directory) automatically. The advantage of using Cmd+Shift+G is that this key combination will remember the last path you typed in, and it works in Finder too (~ and / prefill the dialog and only work in Open or Save dialogs).

Furthermore, the prompt supports a limited form of tab-completion; pressing Tab in the window will autocomplete the path using the alphabetically-first entry that starts with whatever you typed. This can be very handy for quickly navigating your filesystem even when the files aren't hidden.


What if you add said hidden folder to the Finder sidebar? It will then show up in an open/save panel.

For example, I mess around in ~/Library from time to time, enough that I added it to the sidebar. Now, when I go to and open or save panel, I'm able to jump right to it.

  • That would be cumbersome, for example Xcode for every new project creates new directory, with path like this: /Users/Martin/Library/Developer/Xcode/DerivedData/NameOfProject-cjewcjsrxfpufocinsjsmdukukgo/Build/Products/Debug/example.txt although I can access said directory by 2 clicks from Xcode, I can't create new files inside it.( easily)
    – Martin
    Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 13:20
  • Oh, I was not aware you were talking about random directories created by XCode. I presumed you were dealing with a hidden, yet persistent directory. Commented Jan 5, 2015 at 13:30

Side note: if you use DefaultFolderX (which has lots of other handy features), you can set an 'advanced option' so that all you need to hold is the Option key when selection Open or Save to be able to access all files/folders.

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