Automator Tip of the Week #4: Show & Hide Hidden Files in Finder

By Dan Hinckley

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Automator_512.jpgIn my recent efforts to get apache2 and mysql up and running on my iMac I often needed to view the hidden files in Finder. I was lucky enough to stumble across a hint that showed me exactly the commands I needed to run in terminal to view all the hidden files in Finder.

After viewing and hiding these files over and over again I realized that this would be a perfect plugin for Finder. I launched automator and found the 1 action item I needed to show and hide files in finder.

I selected “Run Shell Script” from the Utilities library and dragged it over to my workflow. I added the following text to the workflow:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder


Once the code was included in the step, I saved the workflow as a Finder plugin: ShowHidden. Now to view the hidden files in finder, I simply right click (command + click) in Finder, select More, Automator, and then ShowHidden. Finder closes and then re-opens with all the hidden files and folders viewable.

To hide the files again, I created another workflow with the same “Run Shell Script” action and entered in this text:

defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
killall Finder


I saved it as a Finder plugin, HideHidden. To hide the files and folders again, righ click (command + click) in Finder, select More, Automator, and then HideHidden. Finder will close and re-open with the files and folders hidden again.

Now there is no need to open Terminal to view OS X hidden files in Finder.

About Dan Hinckley
Dan Hinckley is an experienced Mac user who converted to Apple products when they introduced them on Intel Processors. He loves helping others get more out of their devices! Subscribe to to get the latest from Dan and the Maciverse Team!! Find out more about Dan:

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