defaults man page

defaults — read or modify GNUstep user defaults


defaults [ action ]


The 'defaults' command lets you to read and modify a user's defaults.

This program replaces the old NeXTstep style dread, dwrite, and dremove programs.

If you have access to another user's defaults database, you may include '-u username' before any other options to use that user's database rather than your own.

defaults read [ domain [ key] ]

read the named default from the specified domain. If no 'key' is given - read all defaults from the domain. If no 'domain' is given - read all defaults from all domains. A domain is either an application name, or "NSGlobalDomain", for system level defauts. (Running programs can access two other domains, "NSArgumentDomain", for command line arguments, "NSRegistrationDomain", a second-chance domain in which "defaults for defaults" can be registered, and possibly domains for specific locales.)

defaults readkey key

read the named default from all domains.

defaults write domain key value

write 'value' as default 'key' in the specified domain. 'value' must be a property list in single quotes.

defaults write domain dictionary

write 'dictionary' as a replacement for the specified domain. 'dictionary' must be a property list in single quotes.

defaults write

reads standard input for defaults in the format produced by 'defaults read' and writes them to the database.

defaults delete [ domain [ key] ]

remove the specified default(s) from the domain. If no 'key' is given - delete the entire domain.

defaults delete

read standard input for a series of lines containing pairs of domains and keys for defaults to be deleted.

defaults domains

lists the domains in the database (one per line)

defaults find word

searches domain names, default names, and default value strings for those equal to the specified word and lists them on standard output.

defaults plist

output some information about property lists

defaults help

list options for the defaults command.


holds defaults for a user


None known.


Hopefully self-explanatory.


The 'defaults' command appeared in OpenStep and combined the capabilities of the earlier NeXTstep commands 'dread', 'dwrite', and 'dremove'.

The GNUstep version was written in 1998.

This manual page first appeared in gnustep-base 1.9.2 (March 2004).


defaults was written by Richard Frith-Macdonald <rfm@gnu.org>

Referenced By

client.conf(5), pldes(1).

Explore man page connections for defaults(1).

GNUstep GNUstep System Manual February 2004