Hide application data folders

Lots of applications—including Microsoft Office, Final Cut Express, and Steam—like to create their own User Data folders in your Documents folder. If you like to keep your Documents folder relatively neat, these application folders can quickly clutter it up. Mac OS X Hints reader michelcolman shows us how to hide or move them so they don't get in your way:

To hide the application data folder, you can use the SetFile command. That command is only available as part of Xcode, though, so you'll first need to register as an Apple Developer and then download Xcode. (Registration is free.) That done, fire up Terminal and type:

SetFile -P -a V "~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/"

Replace "~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/" with the path of the folder you want to hide.

This command will hide the folder from vision, but the application using it will still be able to access it without a problem. To make the file visible again, just repeat the above command with a lowercase v instead of the uppercase V.

If you'd prefer to simply move the folder instead of hidding it, you do so with a symbolic link. First, move the folder to its new location, and create a symbolic link in the original location that links to the folder's new home. You can either do this with our previously mentioned Automator service or manually with the Terminal command:

ln -s "~/Documents/User Data/Microsoft User Data" "~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/"

The first file path is the folder's new location, and the second path is its old location. You can then hide the symbolic link by performing the above SetFile command on it. This way, you keep those folders from cluttering up your Documents folder, but you also have quick access to them in a new location if necessary.

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