Thursday, July 28, 2005


Reaching Hidden Folders in Mac OS X

It's surprising that I hadn't stumbled on this problem before, but today I wanted to use the Finder to browse the contents of my /usr/lib directory, and discovered that the Finder didn't want to show me the /usr directory. It's one of those UNIX-y things that most people shouldn't mess with, so Apple doesn't let you see it. When people who know what they're doing want to mess with the contents of such directories, they are generally using the Terminal command interface, not the Finder.

But I did want to see that stuff in the Finder, so I did some Googling to figure out how. Here it is:

  1. From the Finder's Go menu, choose Go to Folder....
  2. Enter "/usr" in the text field, and click the Go button (or press the Enter key).
  3. The /usr directory will now be visible. Drag its icon to the Finder window's sidebar to make it easy to get to in the future.

Of course, you can use the same technique to get to /var, /tmp, /dev and other such directories.

Another tip I found during my searching was that from a standard Open... dialog, you can press the "/" (slash) key to bring up that same Go to Folder... entry field. However, this doesn't work in all applications. The first two I tried were Firefox and Emacs, and the tip doesn't work in either of those apps. It does work in TextEdit.

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