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How to show, hide and create hidden files

So imagine you’re living in a time where security is the utmost (ut•most? up•most? upt•most? 🤔) important thing in a digital world and you’re just like, tryna log into Spotify with the password Test123.


Or say you’re jammin’ away on the computer that was provided by your employer and you got personal shit saved on it — not saying you should, but, let’s be real, we all have personal shit on company property. They can easily access it in a number of ways. That’s why you need a ninja like me to drop some tips and tricks on dat ass to keep you, at least, 2.75 steps ahead of the game.

In this post, I’m going to teach you how to show, hide and create hidden files and folders on a MacOS.

Let’s get started

Empty Google Drive folder Empty Google Drive folder

For the sake of example, here’s a screenshot of my Google Drive folder — empty. That’s because I moved all my files and folders into a hidden folder.

I’ll show you how to do the same.

Holler at Spotlight and fire-up Terminal

Empty Spotlight Spotlight

  • Hold down the Command ⌘ (or CMD) key and hit that space bar one time
  • Type in Terminal and either hit the Enter/Return key or double click from the Spotlight menu like a jabroni

Spotlight Terminal Typing ‘Terminal’ in Spotlight

Empty Terminal Empty Terminal

This is what I banged out in Terminal

Terminal commands Smashin’ away on that command line

  1. I typed in ls and hit the Return/Enter key and it displayed a list of folders on my drive (Applications, Bitbucket, etc.)
  2. One of them was my Google Drive folder and that’s where I wantd to slide into to create my hidden files and folders, so I typed in cd 'Google Drive' and pressed the Return/Enter key
  3. Then, I typed ls and pressed the Return/Enter key to see what files are in my Google Drive folder — turns out shit’s empty, otherwise it would’ve listed ‘em like it previously
  4. I typed mkdir .display-none to make a directory/folder called .display-none; I could’ve named it anything — as long as I had a period . before the name because all hidden files/folders need a period before the name to be invisible
  5. I typed in ls again to see if that folder I just created would show — pfft, nah dawg, it did its job and stayed hidden
  6. I wanted to slide into that new, hidden folder to create a hidden file, so I typed cd .display-none and pressed the Return/Enter key
  7. Now that I’m in that folder, I typed touch .on-em-haters-lol.md to create a hidden file
  8. Finally, I did a ls one last time to see if that hidden file would show up, but just like my obsession with One Direction, it stayed hidden

Once you create a hidden directory/folder, you can throw invisible or visible files/folders in there — that initial hidden folder is like one of those bookshelves against the wall that leads into a secret dungeon.

Terminal commands I used

  • ls lists the names of files and folders within the file system; supes basic
  • cd changes directory (AKA folder) into whatever folder is available
  • mkdir creates a folder
  • touch creates a file

How to show and hide hidden folders/files

Here’s a screenshot of my Google Drive folder after I created my hidden folder and file from above:

Empty Google Drive folder A sad and lonely Google Drive folder

In order to see any hidden folders/files, I clicked on my Google Drive Finder window, so that it’s active, and held down the following keys in order:

Command ⌘ (or CMD) + Shift + Period (.)

Hidden files shown Hidden files, rise up

To hide the files, I just smashed the same keys again:

Command ⌘ (or CMD) + Shift + Period (.)

Empty Google Drive folder Bye Felicia 👋

Opening, showing and hiding hidden files in an application

Say you’re about 5’7” (5’8” when your ego’s boosted), tan, tattooed and named Ary. You open a code editor to work on some files, but they inside a hidden folder. What do you do?

Visual Studio Code Visual Studio Code tryna holler at a file that ain’t there

No lie, I would fire-up that program or application (Sketch, Photoshop, Microsoft Office, etc.), in this case Visual Studio Code, go to File => Open... or press Command (⌘) + O on the keys, and in that little mark ass window, press and hold Command ⌘ (or CMD) + Shift + Period (.) to show or hide them hidden gems.

Visual Studio Code showing hidden files Fuck yeah, dawg 🤙