Show hidden files in Atom sidebar

By default, the Atom editor hides files in its sidebar that match your VCS ignore file. This can be frustrating, as a hidden file isn’t necessarily one you don’t care about – for example, the node_modules folder will typically be excluded from a Node.js application, but you may wish to jump in and examine a module, do some debugging etc.

I wanted to show hidden files, so naturally I went to Preferences to look for an appropriate setting and found one that looked just the ticket: Settings > Core Settings > Exclude VCS Ignored Paths.


I figured that unticking this setting would do the job, but it made no difference – confusingly, it turns out that this is a global setting used by functionality such as fuzzy searching, and there is another setting that overrides this for the sidebar (a.k.a. tree view). Because Atom is modular, most of its components exist as independent packages. The setting you need is found in Settings > Packages > Core Packages > Tree View:


Here you’ll find “Hide Ignored Names” and “Hide VCS Ignored Files” settings – the latter is the one you want to stop the sidebar from ignoring files that your VCS ignores.

The first setting relates to another of the settings back on the main Settings panel (see first screenshot above) – Preferences > Settings > Core Settings > Ignored Names. This allows you to globally ignore file/folder patterns regardless of VCS ignore files. You probably want to leave this on unless you really want to be able to dig around in your `.git` folder within the editor.

Hope this saves somebody a bit of time and frustration as it took me ages to figure out! And I’m clearly not the only one, so hopefully Github will sort this soon.

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  1. Nikos
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Posted December 14, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I was so confused….thnx for sharing

  3. Posted January 15, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Thank you!

  4. Posted April 16, 2016 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    I hate you atom. Why do you auto hide these files without my permission?

  5. Posted June 10, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    *Terrible default atom!*

  6. Posted July 4, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Awesome, thanks! It was driving me crazy!

  7. Drew
    Posted August 11, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks you are awesome!

  8. Posted September 5, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Saved my day! Thank you!

  9. Posted September 18, 2016 at 12:43 am | Permalink

    Thank you. This was helpful.

  10. Posted October 21, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for clearing this up! While I was on the Tree View settings page, I noticed that there is a keybinding for this: i. So pressing ‘i’ when the tree view has focus will toggle this setting. This is really useful if you’re like me and get tired of seeing .DS_Store and npm-debug.log (etc.) files, but you still need to go into node_modules once in a while. Especially since the setting is so buried!

  11. Mahesh
    Posted January 10, 2017 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    thanks for sharing

  12. Kajsa Unge
    Posted March 2, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink


  13. Jason Chapman
    Posted March 16, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks man definitely was causing issues for me today and it just randomly changed. Hope they fix it soon.

  14. Michael Jay
    Posted July 24, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks a lot . definitely solved this issue for me.

  15. Posted September 8, 2017 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    Thank you!!

  16. Posted September 19, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks! 🙂

  17. palas
    Posted January 11, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink


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