I need an easy way to switch files visibility on Mac. I know about Terminal commands how to show hidden files and hide files. However, I need a tool to make this task faster and easier. I was trying to find a special app in the App Store, but found nothing. Is there any way to show/hide hidden files without launching Terminal? Any tips or apps?

6 Answers 6


On MacOS Sierra you can use shift ⇧ + cmd ⌘ + . shortcut on keyboard to toggle between 2 states. No need for any plugin/app. It works out of the box.

You can see it here in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdLjJU_kAT8&feature=youtu.be

  • Doesn't work in 10.11.x (El Cap)
    – jcollum
    Commented Dec 19, 2017 at 20:59
  • 4
    Worth noting if you're in AZERTY (my case) you need to add fn
    – user310310
    Commented Nov 13, 2018 at 15:28
  • 1
    This works fine; however, it relies on the com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles key existing (as do most of these solutions). This key does not exist by default, so you must create it by running defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles -bool FALSE to create and initially set the key. Also this is nice in that the Finder does not need to restart for it work!
    – sdmeyers
    Commented Mar 28, 2019 at 15:26

Since Sierra this is no longer necessary - see the answer by Olgab

I just realised I've already posted this before - with instructions on how to persuade the use of Cmd ⌘ H , which otherwise is used for 'Hide frontmost app' https://apple.stackexchange.com/a/177138/85275
This version has a fuller explanation of precisely how to create the service, so I'll leave it in, with the link.

You could write an Applescript, place it in an Automator Service, then trigger it by Key Command...

The following will toggle the hidden state with each trigger of the hot key

  • Launch Automator [Applications/Utilities]
  • Select New Service
  • In the Actions list on the left, Select Automator, then Run Applescript from the 2nd column.
  • Copy/Paste the script [full text at the end of this answer]
    Make sure you don't get the on run/end run section twice when pasting.
  • Save [It will automatically save to the correct place for Services.

enter image description here

  • Open System Preferences > Keyboard > Shortcuts > Services. Your new service will be right at the bottom of the list.
  • Add a hot key

enter image description here

Script text...

on run {input, parameters}

    --Toggle Invisibles, El Capitan Version

    set newHiddenVisiblesState to "YES"
        set oldHiddenVisiblesState to do shell script "defaults read com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles"
        if oldHiddenVisiblesState is in {"1", "YES"} then
            set newHiddenVisiblesState to "NO"
        end if
    end try
    do shell script "defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles " & newHiddenVisiblesState
    do shell script "killall Finder"
    return input
end run

Since El Capitan you do need to explicitly relaunch the Finder. Prior OSes, you could refresh the views.


I like Tetsujin's approach. In fact, it's a shame most Mac users never familiarise themselves with AppleScript and Automator.

However, if you're after an off-the-shelf solution you can opt for Onyx. Onyx is a powerful tool that can perform a lot of functions. It is free to use and no registration is necessary.

In particular reference to your question, to hide/unhide hidden files and folders, go to the Parameters page, select the Finder tab and check/uncheck the relevant option. See screenshot below:

enter image description here

NOTE: I have no affiliation with the Onyx product.


You can easily create your own app for this using Platypus. Just replace evince with the commands for hiding/showing hidden files. The appropriate commands can be found here.


"invisible" is a free app in appstore that I am using to see the hidden files on my mac. It works actually great for me. Why not give it a try?


You can try the long way to show hidden Mac OS X files is as follows:

  1. Open Terminal found in Finder > Applications > Utilities
  2. In Terminal, paste the following: defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles YES
  3. Press return
  4. Hold the ‘Option/alt’ key, then right click on the Finder icon in the dock and click Relaunch.

This will show all hidden files. To hide them again, follow the same steps but replace the Terminal command with:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles NO

It’s not the longest set of instructions or the biggest command to commit to memory but if you’re doing this a lot, it’s worth spending a few minutes now to save yourself a lot more time in the future.

  • 2
    The question says "Is there any way to show/hide hidden files without launching Terminal?" your step 4 says "In terminal ... ". Have you read the question? Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 9:58
  • 2
    OP explicitly said "without launching Terminal"
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Oct 26, 2016 at 9:59

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