Don’t Hide the Extensions

Don’t Hide the Extensions
Mac Tip #95/02-April-2003

As you use your Mac you might find that in some windows a checkbox appears offering to Hide Extensions. I don’t remember ever noticing this in OS 9 but I often see it in OS X.

For example: I type a letter in Appleworks and choose Save. The dialog box which appears offers to name my file: untitled.cwk. At the bottom left of the window is a checkbox which would allow me to Hide extensions.

If I check that then the filename becomes simply untitled.

Microsoft Word takes a slightly different approach and offers to Append file extension. It also picks up the first few words of my document and offers them as the filename.

In either case it’s in my best interests to always ensure I can see the file extension — for all the reasons mentioned in the last two Tips.

One last thing: In OS X you can set a Finder Preference for file extensions. Go to the Finder and from the Finder menu choose Preferences. Now be sure to check the box marked Always show file extensions.

If you’re sure to always append file extensions and to show them then your next creative effort may well contain a set of files called:

  • cat.cwk
  • cat.doc
  • cat.jpg
  • cat.html

which might be your poem, your short story, your picture and your web page about a cat. Without showing the extensions that folder would simply contain these files:

  • cat
  • cat
  • cat
  • cat

Tricky, isn’t it!

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