I know you can use Terminal to switch on/off hidden files in OS X and already use these commands.

What I want to know is if it’s possible to just do this from WITHIN the Open or Save As dialog boxes so I can navigate and access hidden files when I need to. I seem to find myself using Terminal to switch hidden files on/off a few times a day, but this is getting monotonous.

What I would like is to just be able to do this while saving or opening files but without affecting the Finder afterwards. That way I wouldn’t need to use Terminal all the time to switch it off/on again. I just don’t like seeing the hidden files normally when in the Finder, but do need to regularly see them when opening/saving files.

Is there an Apple Script or some way of doing this?

I mainly need to do this when using MS Office programs, so a Visual Basic macro would suffice too. But a native Apple solution would be preferable as I do sometimes need to be able to do this in Text Edit too.


You don’t need an Apple Script or Visual Basic macro to do this as you can do it using a simple keyboard shortcut from within the Open or Save As dialogue windows. Using MS Word as an example:

  1. In MS Word go to File > Open… or File > Save As…
  2. When the window opens press the shift . keys to toggle the display of hidden files on
  3. Now you’ll be able to see hidden items and, if supported by the application you’re using, select them as well

Not only does this approach have no effect on the Finder, it also automatically toggles hidden files off again once you've saved or opened the file. In other words, the next time you’re in one of those dialog windows you won't see hidden files unless you want to (in which case you'd just use the shortcut again).

NOTE: The above keyboard shortcut also works within the Finder to toggle hidden files on or off more generally. Of course, if you’re using it within the Finder then the setting remains until you change it again.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .