How to show hidden files in Nautilus 3.20.3 Ubuntu 16.10?

  • 3
    Don't curse on ubuntu. That's a GNOME "improvement".
    – solsTiCe
    Oct 16, 2016 at 15:16
  • FYI. This question and cl-netbox's answer is also applicable to thunar, PCManFM, and SpaceFM file managers. This is not specific to one distro version. Oct 17, 2016 at 21:49
  • see also askubuntu.com/questions/470837/… These should probably be merged/generalized. Oct 17, 2016 at 21:51
  • Kevin, I don't think they should be merged as in 14.04 and previous versions of Nautilus the process for showing hidden files is traditional menu based. That option is now gone, replaced with the need to decipher whimsical hieroglyphs...
    – user104140
    Oct 19, 2016 at 7:17

4 Answers 4


You can either use the keyboard shortcut provided in @cl-netbox's answer below (not copying that, because he was faster and also deserves your appreciation), or you can again set it with two mouse clicks.

Gnome devs just decided to move the menus into some toolbar buttons. Here is where you can find the setting now:

enter image description here

Just click on the second toolbar button from the right (right next to that pestilential hamburger button we already got in Gedit with the last release) and a checkbox Show hidden files should appear.

  • 1
    Thanks for your help. I think I saw that icon and made the mistake of assuming it was just to adjust icon size. I've had to retreat to 14.04 for the time being.
    – user104140
    Oct 16, 2016 at 16:51

Press Ctrl + H to show the hidden files in nautilus file manager. To undo this action, just press Ctrl + H again. This method is the shortest way to do it and works in every nautilus version, the only difference to older versions is that the setting is persistent after closing and reopening nautilus. In earlier ubuntu editions, the permanent setting had to be done in the preferences ... the Ctrl + H keyboard shortcut method was used for a one time action only.


To permanently enable the display of hidden files (and directories) using the command line, try

dconf write /org/gtk/settings/file-chooser/show-hidden true

Make sure that you do not run this command as root.

To disable the display of hidden files (and directories), use

dconf write /org/gtk/settings/file-chooser/show-hidden false


I tested this on GNOME nautilus 3.14.3 with Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS.

I have also seen the following commands being recommended, but they did not work for me.

dconf write /org/gtk/settings/show-hidden true
gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences show-hidden-files true

On Ubuntu 20.04 LTS the command line that worked for me is:

gsettings set org.gtk.Settings.FileChooser show-hidden true

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