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Show Hidden Files in Linux


For Linux operating system, any file or folder starting with a dot “.” is hidden. Hidden files and folders in Linux start with a simple dot (.) in the beginning of their name. Rename any file and place a dot in the beginning of its name and it will be hidden. Remove the dot from beginning and file will show up again. But to remove that dot from the file name of a hidden file, you will have to see that hidden file first. Also some files or folders can be useless by system if you remove dot from their name. There are many ways you can show hidden files in linux.

Within folder that contains hidden files, Press Ctrl+H from keyboard, to reveal the hidden files and if you again press the same, these will be invisible again. If you want to make a file unhidden permanently, first Press Ctrl+H to show it and then remove dot from the beginning of its name by renaming it. But make sure it is not a hidden system file. Few system files are supposed to be hidden.

Above is an easy way that will enable you to show or hide hidden files without using any program or file manager. Different file managers allow you to view hidden files as well.

Nautilus is a file manager for GNOME desktop. Press Ctrl+H in Nautilus to show hidden files. You can also select ‘Show Hidden Files’ from view menu in Nautilus. If you want to hide the files again, you will have to uncheck the ‘Show Hidden Files’ option from view.

If you want to make this setting permanent, go to Files -> Preferences -> Views and use option of ‘Show Hidden and Backup Files’ from default view section.

Thunar is the file manager for the Enlightenment desktop that you can use to show hidden files, similarly as you do while using Nautilus. Same Ctrl+H or option ‘Show Hidden Files’ from view will work.

Dolphin is the KDE file manager. Dolphin replaced Konqueror. Similarly from view menu, select ‘Show Hidden Files’ or press Ctrl-.

Linux Command to Show Hidden Files

You can use the ls command by adding the -a switch, to see hidden files. You will need extra parameters with -a switch. Use the following command:

ls -a | less


ls -la


ls -al


ls -d .[!.]?* | less

It lists all files including hidden files starting with ‘.’ in linux.

Command Syntax

$ ls -a [options] [file|dir]

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