Linux and other Unix-based operating systems consider files and folders with names beginning with a . (dot) as hidden. Unless specified or configured, file managers like Nautilus and Dolphin, or command-line tools such as ls will not show files and folders with names beginning with a ..

You can use ls at the terminal to show hidden files and folders. It is done by using the built-in option to ignore entries starting with a ..

Steps to list hidden files and folders in Linux:

  1. Launch terminal.
  2. Go to the folder that contains the hidden files or folders.
    $ cd temp/
  3. List normal files and folders in the directory using ls command.
    $ ls
    file  folder
  4. List all files and folders in the directory using ls command, including hidden files and folders.
    $ ls -a
    .  ..  file  folder  .hidden-file  .hidden-folder

    ls option:

    -a, --all
           do not ignore entries starting with .
  5. Show more info on the files using the ls command.
    $ ls -la
    total 16
    drwxrwxr-x 4 user user 4096 Oct 31 09:27 .
    drwxr-xr-x 5 user user 4096 Oct 31 09:26 ..
    -rw-rw-r-- 1 user user    0 Oct 31 09:27 file
    drwxrwxr-x 2 user user 4096 Oct 31 09:26 folder
    -rw-rw-r-- 1 user user    0 Oct 31 09:27 .hidden-file
    drwxrwxr-x 2 user user 4096 Oct 31 09:26 .hidden-folder

    . and .. are special folders which refers to current and one-up folder respectively

  6. List files and folders using absolute path.
    $ ls -la /home/user/temp/
    total 16
    drwxrwxr-x 4 user user 4096 Oct 31 09:27 .
    drwxr-xr-x 5 user user 4096 Oct 31 09:26 ..
    -rw-rw-r-- 1 user user    0 Oct 31 09:27 file
    drwxrwxr-x 2 user user 4096 Oct 31 09:26 folder
    -rw-rw-r-- 1 user user    0 Oct 31 09:27 .hidden-file
    drwxrwxr-x 2 user user 4096 Oct 31 09:26 .hidden-folder
Discuss the article:

Comment anonymously. Login not required.

Share!