How To Show Hidden Files And Folders Using Ubuntu Files

How To Show Hidden Files Using Ubuntu
How To Show Hidden Files Using Ubuntu.


This guide shows how to show hidden files using the default Ubuntu file manager which is called Nautilus. It is also known by the name Files.

Why Are Some Files And Folders Hidden?

There are two really good reasons for hiding files and folders:

  • it protects the files
  • it reduces clutter in the main file manager interface

Any file can be made hidden within Linux. This is generally achieved in the command line by placing a dot in front of the filename.

Generally hidden files are used for configuration purposes and you don't want any Tom, Dick or Harry editing these files because they might be at the worst malicious or they may not be competent to be editing files.

These people would also not want to see all of these files listed because they will probably not be interested in them.

Nobody wants to scroll through long lists of files that they don't need to see in the first place.

There are times however when you will want to edit the configuration files or indeed any other kind of hidden file.

In this case it would be handy if you could use the file manager to see the files and a graphical editor to edit them.

Using the command line it is easy to find the files by using the find command or the ls command. You can then edit them using the nano editor.

Not everybody wants to use the terminal however. That is why this guide has been developed.

How To Run Nautilus

You can run Nautilus within Ubuntu by clicking the icon on the Ubuntu Launcher which looks like a filing cabinet.

Alternatively you can press the super key and type either "files" or "nautilus". The filing cabinet icon should appear in either case.

View Hidden Files With A Single Key Combination

The easiest way to view hidden files is to press the CTRL and H keys at the same time.

If you do this within your home folder you will suddenly see a lot more folders and indeed files.

How To View Hidden Files Using The Nautilus Menu

You can also view hidden files by navigating the Nautilus menu system.

Menus within Ubuntu may either appear as part of the window of the application you are using, which in this case is Nautilus or they will appear in the panel at the top of the screen. This is a setting which can be adjusted.

Find the "View" menu and click on it using the mouse. Then click on the "Hidden Files" option.

How To Hide Files Using A Single Key Combination

You can hide the files again by pressing the same CTRL and H key combination.

How To Hide Files Using the Nautilus Menu

You can hide files using the Nautilus menu by selecting the View menu with your mouse again and by selecting "show hidden files" again.

If there is a tick next to the "show hidden files" option then hidden files will be visible and if there isn't a tick then the files will not be visible.

Recommended Settings 

I recommend leaving hidden files hidden as much as possible because it prevents mistakes being made such as accidentally moving files and folders with a misjudged drag and drop.

As mentioned previously is also saves you from seeing clutter that you do not need to see on a regular basis.

How To Hide Files And Folders Using Nautilus

You can of course hide files and folders that you wish to have hidden.

This shouldn't really be used as a method of securing files because as you have seen from this article it is easy enough to make hidden files visible again.

To hide a file right click on it within Nautilus and choose "Rename". 

Place a dot in front of the file's name. For example if the file is called "test" make the filename ".test".



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