How to make hidden files and hidden visible

Some files and folders are hidden by default. For example, this is true for the Microsoft Word STARTUP folder and it may also be true for the folder in which the Word template Normal.dotm is stored.

If you are going to install a Word add-in manually, you need to find the Word STARTUP folder. In order to do that, the folder must be visible. This article explains how you can make hidden files and folders visible.

15 day free trial - try before you buy

Did you know that...
DocTools Word Add-Ins can help you save time and work more efficiently in Word

DocTools CrossReferenceManager makes it easier than ever to work with cross-references in Word documents - read more...
DocTools DocPropertyManager lets you manage document data efficiently with custom document properties and DocProperty fields - read more...
DocTools ExtractChanges Pro  lets you extract insertions, deletions and comments in full context and including headings - read more...
DocTools HighlightManager lets you apply or remove any highlight color by the click of a button - read more...
DocTools ScreenTipManager lets you quickly and easily create screen tips in Word with up to 2040 characters - read more...

Follow the steps below to make hidden files and folders visible

  1. Open a Windows Explorer window (File Explorer in case of Windows 10).
  2. Follow the relevant bullet below to open the Folder Options dialog box:
    • Windows 10: Select File > Change folder and search options. Select the View tab.
    • Microsoft Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8: Click Organizer in the top-left corner of the window. Select Folder and Search Options. Select the View tab.
    • Windows XP: Select Tools > Folder Options. Select the View tab.
  1. Turn on Show hidden files and folders. Turn off Hide extensions for known file types.

When Hide extensions for known file types is turned off, you will see files names as e.g. MyAddIn.dotm instead og just MyAddIn or MyDocument.docx instead og just MyDocument. It is helpful to see the file extension since it provides information about the specific type of file.

Show hidden files and folders - settings to change

Figure 1. Folder Options settings. Note that the options are sorted alphabetically. If you are not using an English system, the options will be named and thus sorted differently.

  1. Click OK.

Now the files and folders that were previously hidden should be visible.