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Mac OS X Panther in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition by Jason McIntosh, Chuck Toporek, Chris Stone

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Name

defaults

Synopsis

defaults [-currentHost | -host name] command
                  

Modifies the defaults system. When you customize your Mac using the System Preferences, all those changes and settings are stored in the defaults system. Everything that you’ve done to make your Mac your own is stored as XML data in the form of a property list (or plist). This property list is, in turn, stored in ~/Library/Preferences.

Every time you change one of those settings, that particular property list is updated. There are two other ways to alter the property lists: using the Property List Editor application (/Developer/Applications) or using the defaults command in the Terminal. Whether you use System Preferences, Property List Editor, or the defaults command, any changes you make affect the current user.

Options

-currentHost

Perform operations on the local machine.

-host name

Perform operations on the specified host.

Commands

read

Print all your current settings.

read domain

Print your settings for the specified domain, such as com. apple.dock.

read domain key

Print the value of the specified key. For example, to see the current Dock orientation, use: defaults read com.apple.dock orientation

read-type domain key

Print the datatype of the specified key. For example, defaults read-type com.apple.dock orientation tells you that the type of the orientation key is string.

write domain key value

Write a value to the specified key.

rename domain old_key new_key

Rename the specified key.

delete domain

Delete the ...

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