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How to Access Hidden Folders

In macOS, it’s possible to hide folders. The user Library folder, for example, is hidden by default. Hidden folders are invisible to the Finder and don’t show up in open/save dialog boxes.

What can you do if you need to access a hidden folder, e.g. when searching for a specific file within?

The following will work in the open/save dialogs of most Mac applications:

  • Force the open/save panel to reveal invisible files and folders by pressing command-shift-period
  • Alternatively, press command-shift-G in the open/save panel. You will be asked for the path of the folder you want to go to. Example: To open the Library folder located within your home folder, type ~/Library
HoudahSpot Location Pane
HoudahSpot’s Locations Pane

When searching with HoudahSpot, you can use both methods to set a hidden folder as search location or exclude it from being searched. Just click one of the pop-up menus in the Locations pane, select “Other…” at the bottom and apply one of the methods mentioned above.

Alternatively, do the following: Navigate to a hidden folder in the Finder by using command-shift-G (or Go > “Go to Folder…” from the Finder menu), then either

  • Drag it to HoudahSpot’s Locations pane. Drop it between two rows to add a new search location or exclude location. Or drop it onto an existing row to update that entry