The problem with traditional solutions like a defaults write command to show hidden files in Mac OS X is that they’re permanent unless another defaults write command is executed, this isn’t a big deal for some users but if you just want a quick glance at invisible files than busting out the command line is a pain. This is where apps like Bifocals come in, it sits in your menubar and shows hidden files when the eye icon is clicked, and hides them when it’s not. That simple.

Download Bifocals for free from Github, it’s open source if you want to peak at the code too.

Bifocals works a lot like Caffeine in that it’s activated only when clicked, there’s no other function to the menubar utility. If you are looking for a few more features than just showing and hiding files, DesktopUtility is a free menubar utility that also includes the ability to quickly show invisible files, in addition to hiding and showing the desktop, showing the user library (great for OS X Lion), and force empty the Trash.

This little app was found in our comments, thanks for the heads up!


Update: The app kills the Finder, so when you activate it your app focus may switch in the process. If you decide you don’t want Bifocals anymore, you can remove it from your menu bar by killing Bifocals in Activity Monitor, or just typing ‘killall Bifocals” from the command line. You’ll also want to remove the app from your Login Items, located in System Preferences > Users & Groups > Login Items. Ideally the developer will update the app with a simple removal tool, but until then those steps are easy enough.

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