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defaults(1)               BSD General Commands Manual              defaults(1)


NAME

     defaults -- access the Mac OS X user defaults system


SYNOPSIS

     defaults [-currentHost | -host hostname] read [domain [key]]

     defaults [-currentHost | -host hostname] read-type domain key

     defaults [-currentHost | -host hostname] write domain { 'plist' | key
              'value' }

     defaults [-currentHost | -host hostname] rename domain old_key new_key

     defaults [-currentHost | -host hostname] delete [domain [key]]

     defaults [-currentHost | -host hostname] { domains | find word | help }


DESCRIPTION

     Defaults allows users to read, write, and delete Mac OS X user defaults
     from a command-line shell. Mac OS X applications and other programs use
     the defaults system to record user preferences and other information that
     must be maintained when the applications aren't running (such as default
     font for new documents, or the position of an Info panel). Much of this
     information is accessible through an application's Preferences panel, but
     some of it isn't, such as the position of the Info panel. You can access
     this information with defaults

     Note: Since applications do access the defaults system while they're run-
     ning, you shouldn't modify the defaults of a running application. If you
     change a default in a domain that belongs to a running application, the
     application won't see the change and might even overwrite the default.

     User defaults belong to domains, which typically correspond to individual
     applications. Each domain has a dictionary of keys and values represent-
     ing its defaults; for example, "Default Font" = "Helvetica". Keys are
     always strings, but values can be complex data structures comprising
     arrays, dictionaries, strings, and binary data. These data structures are
     stored as XML Property Lists.

     Though all applications, system services, and other programs have their
     own domains, they also share a domain named NSGlobalDomain.  If a default
     isn't specified in the application's domain, but is specified in
     NSGlobalDomain, then the application uses the value in that domain.

     The commands are as follows:

     read         Prints all of the user's defaults, for every domain, to
                  standard output.

     read domain  Prints all of the user's defaults for domain to standard
                  output.

     read domain key
                  Prints the value for the default of domain identified by
                  key.

     read-type domain key
                  Prints the plist type for the given domain identified by
                  key.

     write domain key 'value'
                  Writes value as the value for key in domain.  value must be
                  a property list, and must be enclosed in single quotes.  For
                  example:

                        defaults write com.companyname.appname "Default Color" '(255, 0, 0)'

                  sets the value for Default Color to an array containing the
                  strings 255, 0, 0 (the red, green, and blue components).
                  Note that the key is enclosed in quotation marks because it
                  contains a space.

     write domain 'plist'
                  Overwrites the defaults information in domain with that
                  given as plist.  plist must be a property list representa-
                  tion of a dictionary, and must be enclosed in single quotes.
                  For example:

                        defaults write com.companyname.appname '{ "Default Color" = (255, 0, 0);
                                                        "Default Font" = Helvetica; }';

                  erases any previous defaults for com.companyname.appname and
                  writes the values for the two names into the defaults sys-
                  tem.

     delete domain
                  Removes all default information for domain.

     delete domain key
                  Removes the default named key from domain.

     domains      Prints the names of all domains in the user's defaults sys-
                  tem.

     find word    Searches for word in the domain names, keys, and values of
                  the user's defaults, and prints out a list of matches.

     help         Prints a list of possible command formats.


OPTIONS

     Specifying domains:

     domain    If no flag is specified, domain is a domain name of the form
               com.companyname.appname.  Example:

                     defaults read com.apple.TextEdit

     -app application
               The name of an application may be provided instead of a domain
               using the -app flag. Example:

                     defaults read -app TextEdit

     filepath  Domains may also be specified as a path to an arbitrary plist
               file, with or without the '.plist' extension. For example:

                     defaults read ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.TextEdit/Data/Library/Preferences/com.apple.TextEdit.plist

               normally gives the same result as the two previous examples.
               In the following example:

                     defaults write ~/Desktop/TestFile foo bar

               will write the key 'foo' with the value 'bar' into the plist
               file 'TestFile.plist' that is on the user's desktop. If the
               file does not exist, it will be created. If it does exist, the
               key-value pair will be added, overwriting the value of 'foo' if
               it already existed.

               WARNING: The defaults command will be changed in an upcoming
               major release to only operate on preferences domains. General
               plist manipulation utilities will be folded into a different
               command-line program.

     -g | -globalDomain | NSGlobalDomain
               Specify the global domain. '-g' and '-globalDomain' may be used
               as synonyms for NSGlobalDomain.

     Specifying value types for preference keys:

                 If no type flag is provided, defaults will assume the value
                 is a string. For best results, use one of the type flags,
                 listed below.

     -string     Allows the user to specify a string as the value for the
                 given preference key.

     -data       Allows the user to specify a bunch of raw data bytes as the
                 value for the given preference key.  The data must be pro-
                 vided in hexidecimal.

     -int[eger]  Allows the user to specify an integer as the value for the
                 given preference key.

     -float      Allows the user to specify a floating point number as the
                 value for the given preference key.

     -bool[ean]  Allows the user to specify a boolean as the value for the
                 given preference key.  Value must be TRUE, FALSE, YES, or NO.

     -date       Allows the user to specify a date as the value for the given
                 preference key.

     -array      Allows the user to specify an array as the value for the
                 given preference key:

                       defaults write somedomain preferenceKey -array element1 element2 element3

                 The specified array overwrites the value of the key if the
                 key was present at the time of the write. If the key was not
                 present, it is created with the new value.

     -array-add  Allows the user to add new elements to the end of an array
                 for a key which has an array as its value. Usage is the same
                 as -array above. If the key was not present, it is created
                 with the specified array as its value.

     -dict       Allows the user to add a dictionary to the defaults database
                 for a domain.  Keys and values are specified in order:

                       defaults write somedomain preferenceKey -dict key1 value1 key2 value2

                 The specified dictionary overwrites the value of the key if
                 the key was present at the time of the write. If the key was
                 not present, it is created with the new value.

     -dict-add   Allows the user to add new key/value pairs to a dictionary
                 for a key which has a dictionary as its value. Usage is the
                 same as -dict above. If the key was not present, it is cre-
                 ated with the specified dictionary as its value.

     Specifying a host for preferences:

     Operations on the defaults database normally apply to any host the user
     may log in on, but may be restricted to apply only to a specific host.

               If no host is provided, preferences operations will apply to
               any host the user may log in on.

     -currentHost
               Restricts preferences operations to the host the user is cur-
               rently logged in on.

     -host hostname
               Restricts preferences operations to hostname.


BUGS

     Defaults can be structured in very complex ways, making it difficult for
     the user to enter them with this command.


HISTORY

     First appeared in NeXTStep.

Mac OS X                          Nov 3, 2003                         Mac OS X

Mac OS X 10.9 - Generated Sat Oct 12 10:24:42 CDT 2013
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