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Revealing files in a hidden folder in Mac OS X

Do you need to get to preferences or data files that are inside a hidden folder such as the "Library" folder of your home folder?

Here's a few ways to get to it...

Opening your home folder's Library folder

If it's your own Library folder, then the quickest way is to activate the Finder, then click into the "Go" menu and hold down the option ("alt") key. That'll make "Library" appear in the menu so that you can choose it.

A similarly quick way is to use the "Go to Folder..." menu command of the Finder, e.g. by pressing Shift-Cmd-G, then enter: "~/Library".

Opening any hidden folder

If it's some other hidden folder or if the Library folder you want to get into is inside a Time Machine backup, then it's a bit more complicated:

  • You first need to use the Finder to get to the folder that contains the hidden folder.
  • Open the program Terminal (inside Applications/Utilities) and type "open " (note the blank!).
  • Drag the icon of the folder containing the hidden folder into the Terminal window. (Pro tip: If the folder containing the hidden folder is already open, e.g. your home folder, you can drag its little icon from the title of the window, left of the folder's name.)
  • Back in the Terminal window, press the Backspace (Delete) key once to remove the blank at the end, then type "/" and then type the name of the folder you want to get into, e.g. "Library".
  • The line in Terminal should now look similar to this: ... $ open /Users/yourname/Library
  • Press return. This should now open the hidden folder in Finder.

Another alternative is to use a program that can search for the hidden folder in question, such as my Find Any File, then pick the right one out of its listing and double click the item to open it in the Finder.

Page last modified on 2013-02-11, 22:26 UTC (do)
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