This is about a problem you might encounter when trying to turn in your .bash_profile and .bashrc files for a homework that requires it. When you are at a linux terminal, ls -a allows you to see files that start with “.”. However, it is often tricky to see these same files from other visual file browsers. This is a problem when you are trying to upload files into Gradescope and it uses a visual file browser to do so…

In the CSE VM on Firefox

In file upload area in Firefox, you should be able to right click in the area where the files are listed and select “Show Hidden Files”. This should make files that begin with a dot appear.


In Windows file explorer, you can select Organize->Folder and Search Options. And then select the View Tab, and select “Show hidden files, folders and dives”.

In older versions of windows you can try Tools->Folder Options and then select the View tab as described above.

In newer versions of Windows you can show hidden files by selecting view from the file explorer and toggling the “hidden files” option.


It looks like there are multiple different ways to see hidden folders on the Mac.

On recent versions of Mac OS X, for file Open and Save dialog boxes, type Shift-Command-Period to toggle hidden files between visible and invisible. That does not work in the Finder (Mac’s version of a file explorer). And you have to type it every time you open the Open and Save dialog boxes because its not sticky. But assuming that you have upgraded your OS in the last few years, people should be able to use this feature on “Open” dialog boxes.

To make all files visible in the Finder by default, run the shell command “defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES” and then relaunch the Finder. This should work on all Mac OS X versions, but it doesn’t change the behavior of Open and Save dialogs, at least not in the most recent version of the OS.

See updates for other versions of OS X below:

13sp update for 10.8 (Mountain Lion):

The command “defaults write AppleShowAllFiles YES” in the HiddenFiles.txt is not working on mac version 10.8 (Mountain Lion)

The working command is “defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE”

15au update for OS X 10.10, named Yosemite:

The following worked for me: 1. defaults write AppleShowAllFiles -boolean true

  1. Relaunch the Finder by holding down the alt/option key, long-clicking on the Finder icon and then selecting Relaunch.

Let me know if you have any questions, or if current Mac users have any more info to add.