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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to hide or show individual file extensions on Mac

How to hide or show individual file extensions on Mac

The Apple Mac Finder Big Sur icon on a blue background

Most of the files on your Mac have a file extension at the end of their names, so people and apps know what type of file it is. By default, macOS hides these extensions, but you can show or hide them by file. Here’s how.

First, know what the main switch is

Before trying to show or hide individual file extensions, you need to know if Finder is configured to show or hide all file extensions on your Mac.

To check this, focus on Finder and select “Finder”

;> “Preferences” from the menu bar. Click on “Advanced” and see if “Show all file extensions” is checked or not.

In Advanced Finder Preferences, place a check mark next to

  • If “Show all file name extensions” is checked, you will see all file name extensions by default. There is no way to override this setting on individual files.
  • If “Show all filename extensions” is not checked, you can ignore this preference and view extensions individually by file, which we will discuss in the section below.

Regardless of the “Show all file name extensions” setting, files stored in the “Downloads” folder always appear to display the extension. It is possible to hide these extensions individually using the method below if “Show all file name extensions” is disabled. This is probably a conscious security feature from Apple.

Hide or show extensions for specific files

Here’s how to show or hide an individual file extension if “Show all file name extensions” is disabled in Finder. First, find the file whose extension you want to show or hide in a Finder window. Select the file and choose File> Get Info from the menu bar. (Or you can press Command + i on your keyboard.)

Click in the menu bar

When the “Get Info” window appears, scroll down until you see the “Name and Extension” section. (Click the carat next to the header to expand it if necessary.) Then toggle Hide Extension on or off. If you remove the check mark, the extension will be visible. If checked, the extension will be hidden.

Select or clear the check box in the Get Info of the File window

If turning “Hide extension” on or off has no effect, it is likely that “Show all filename extensions” is enabled in Finder. Refer to the section above to see that option. When you’re done, close the file inspector. Repeat as necessary for all files whose extension you want to see.

RELATED: What is a file extension?

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