How to Show Hidden Files and Folders Within Ubuntu

Hiding and showing certain files makes for a more tidy browsing session

Linux, by default, hides files from view—even if you have access to them—if the filename begins with a period. This visual suppression doesn't encrypt the file or make them inaccessible. Instead, it just doesn't list them unless you explicitly request that they be listed.

Because of this hide-by-default nature, many configuration files begin their names with a period.

Showing Hidden Files

Linux ls -a option

In your graphical file manager, use the file manager's options to reveal hidden content. Most file managers accept the Ctrl+H hotkey to toggle hidden-file display on and off, whereas each file manager uses different buttons and menu commands to toggle the display using the mouse.

In a shell session, modify the ls command with the -a flag:

ls -a

to display hidden files.

Hiding Files

To hide a file, rename it so that the first character of the filename is a period.

This approach offers aesthetic convenience only; do not use this method as a surrogate for proper file security.

In Linux, because any system object is a file, this dot-name approach works with folders, too.