How to Reveal Hidden Files and Folders in a Mac OS X File Dialog

I downloaded a development tool to give it a trial run today. It reported that git support was disabled because it wasn’t on the path. I thought this odd since it works in Terminal. It turns out that the UI uses a different PATH than Terminal. That’s a topic for a different article.

The path to git is /usr/local/git/bin/git, but this cannot be selected in a file open dialog since /usr (along with other system directories) is hidden. 99.9% of the time this is no problem. Anybody who needs to dig into those directories will drop to the command line instinctively. However, this tool offered no place to type in a path. Only the file open dialog was available.

It turns out that there is an undocumented (or poorly documented) key combination to show and hide hidden folders and files. Press Command-Shift-Period (⌘⇧.) to toggle hidden files and folders on and off.

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2 Responses to How to Reveal Hidden Files and Folders in a Mac OS X File Dialog

  1. Daniel B. Davis says:

    In 2013, using Mavericks OS X, the key combination seems not to work for finder. Since I am new to OS X (although very experienced on other hardware and software) the problem could be me.

  2. Daniel,

    I don’t currently have access to a machine running OS X Maveriks so I cannot provide any useful functionality, unfortunately.

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