PLUTIL(1)                    General Commands Manual                   PLUTIL(1)

     plutil – property list utility

     plutil [command_option] [other_options] file

     plutil can be used to check the syntax of property list files, or convert a
     plist file from one format to another.  Specifying - as an input file reads
     from stdin.

     The first argument indicates the operation to perform, one of:

     -help         Show the usage information for the command and exit.

     -p            Print the property list in a human-readable fashion. The
                   output format is not stable and not designed for machine
                   parsing. The purpose of this command is to be able to easily
                   read the contents of a plist file, no matter what format it
                   is in.

     -lint         Check the named property list files for syntax errors.  This
                   is the default command option if none is specified.

     -convert fmt  Convert the named file to the indicated format and write back
                   to the file system.  If the file can't be loaded due to
                   invalid syntax, the operation fails. This is the only option
                   to support objc swift formats.

     -convert objc -header
                   Converts the named file to Obj-C literal syntax and creates a
                   .h file. Useful for first time conversions to literal syntax
                   and only supported with the objc format.

     -insert keypath -type [value] [-append]
                   Insert a value into the property list before writing it out.
                   value is required unless type is dictionary or array.  If
                   -append is specified, keypath is expected to reference an
                   array and the value will be appended to the end of the array.

     -replace keypath -type value
                   Overwrite an existing value in the property list before
                   writing it out.

     -remove keypath
                   Removes the value at keypath from the property list before
                   writing it out.

     -extract keypath fmt [-expect expect_type]
                   Outputs the value at keypath in the property list as a new
                   plist of type fmt.  Optionally fails if -expect expect_type
                   is used and the value at keypath does not match that type.

     -type keypath [-expect expect_type]
                   Outputs the type of the value at keypath in the property
                   list. Optionally fails if -expect expect_type is used and the
                   value at keypath does not match that type.

     -create fmt   Creates an empty plist of the specified fmt.

     There are a few additional options:

     --            Specifies that all further arguments are file names

     -n            When used with -extract using the raw format, will not print
                   a terminating newline character. This aids use in shell

     -s            Don't print anything on success.

     -r            For JSON, add whitespace and indentation to make the output
                   more human-readable and sort the keys like -p, does.

     -o path       Specify an alternate path name for the result of the -convert
                   operation; this option is only useful with a single file to
                   be converted.  Specifying - as the path outputs to stdout.

     -e extension  Specify an alternate extension for converted files, and the
                   output file names are otherwise the same.

     fmt is one of:
           xml1     for version 1 of the XML plist format
           binary1  for version 1 of the binary plist format
           json     for the JSON format
           swift    to convert from plist to swift literal syntax
           objc     to convert from plist to Obj-C literal syntax
           raw      when used with -extract, will print the unencapsulated value
                    at the keypath. See RAW VALUES AND EXPECTED TYPES below. The
                    result will be output to stdout unless -o is specified.

     keypath is a key-value coding key path, with one extension: a numerical
     path component applied to an array will act on the object at that index in
     the array or insert it into the array if the numerical path component is
     the last one in the key path.

     type is one of:
            -bool        YES if passed "YES" or "true", otherwise NO
            -integer     any valid 64 bit integer
            -float       any valid 64 bit float
            -string      UTF8 encoded string
            -date        date in XML property list format, not supported if
                         outputting JSON
            -data        a base-64 encoded string
            -xml         an XML property list, useful for inserting compound
            -json        JSON fragment, useful for inserting compound values
            -array       An empty array, when used with -insert.  Does not
                         accept a value.
            -dictionary  An empty dictionary, when used with -insert Does not
                         accept a value.

     value will be assigned to the keypath specified with the -insert or
     -replace flags.

     With -extract keypath raw the value printed depends on its type.

     Following are the possible expect_type values and how they will be printed
     when encountered with -extract keypath raw
            bool         the string "true" or "false"
            integer      the numeric value
            float        the floating point value with no specific precision
            string       the raw unescaped string, UTF8-encoded
            date         the RFC3339-encoded string representation in UTC time
            data         a base64-encoded string representation of the data
            array        a number indicating the count of elements in the array
            dictionary   each key in the dictionary will be printed on a new
                         line in alpha-sorted order
     The above expect_type string is itself printed when -type keypath is used.

     The plutil command exits 0 on success, and 1 on failure.


     The plutil command obeys no one's rules but its own.

     The plutil command first appeared in macOS 10.2.

     The raw format type, -type command, -expect option, and -append option
     first appeared in macOS 12.

macOS                            March 29, 2021                            macOS