It is possible to show so-called dotfiles/directories like .git or files/directories that have the Hidden attribute in the Finder by running

defaults write com.apple.Finder AppleShowAllFiles 1

from the command line (then running killall Finder to restart it). However, this only works in Finder, not in applications' Open/Save dialogs. In those, one can use the . keyboard shortcut to show these files, but you have to use it each time you open a new dialog as the settings aren't saved.

Does anyone know of any kind of way to make this setting permanent? It could involve a Terminal command, editing a .plist or other file on an application by application basis, anything. This question was asked a while ago with no satisfactory answers, so I'd like to see if there have been any changes in Mountain Lion, or if anyone knows an answer that just missed the first question. I'm currently running 10.8.4, if it makes any difference.

  • 3
    This is NOT a duplicate. This question is about Open/Save Dialogs. The other one ( apple.stackexchange.com/questions/5870/… ) is about Finder. If you do the solution in the other one, it will fix for Finder, but not Open/Save Dialogs. You have to do the solution in this one.
    – wisbucky
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 21:21

1 Answer 1


Just adding the key to the global domain seems to work:

defaults write -g AppleShowAllFiles -bool true

You have to quit and reopen applications to apply changes as usual.

  • 3
    Hooray! Thank you very much, I knew it had to be possible somehow. And I should also add that you don't need to restart Finder for it to work, unlike the original version. Thanks again!
    – MattDMo
    Commented Aug 17, 2013 at 19:55
  • 1
    This is not work. 10.8.4
    – diimdeep
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 14:23
  • @diimdeep What applications did you test it with? It doesn't work with some applications like TextMate that customize the file dialogs.
    – Lri
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 15:41
  • TextEdit, Sublime Text at least.
    – diimdeep
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 19:04
  • 2
    It works for me with TextEdit in 10.8.4. If there is a key in TextEdit's plist (defaults read com.apple.TextEdit AppleShowAllFiles) or ~/Library/Preferences/ByHost/.GlobalPreferences.*.plist (defaults -currentHost read -g AppleShowAllFiles), they override the key in ~/Library/Preferences/.GlobalPreferences.plist.
    – Lri
    Commented Aug 18, 2013 at 19:20

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