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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look System 10.5
As of 10.4, I think, Apple started making plists in a binary format instead of XML. Though they had their reasons, it was a real pain if you just wanted to get a very quick look (no pun intended) at the preference settings, because it meant that you either had to convert the file to XML using plutil, or open the file in Property List Editor, which is not well suited for browsing settings at all.

But in 10.5, Quick Look displays binary plists in XML on the fly, so you can now select a bunch of plists, launch Quick Look, and view page after page of beautiful XML with all the navigation features that Quick Look offers. It's a very useful way of helping one assimilate or drill down into a system's configuration.
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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look | 9 comments | Create New Account
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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: jecwobble on Nov 27, '07 08:20:34AM

I believe you can view the XML 'text' in Property List Editor. I recall a "dump" button and a pane in the lower half of the window that shows it.



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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: Brontojoris on Nov 27, '07 02:12:15PM

What's wrong with Property List Editor?

If you don't like having to click on the disclosure triangles to open each branch of settings, just option-click the first one. This acts just like the Finder, and opens every level of settings branch immediately.



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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: DanFrakes on Nov 28, '07 07:08:13PM

I believe the Quick Look feature works even if you don't have Apple's Developer Tools installed; Property List Editor requires the DevTools.

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Dan Frakes / Senior Editor, Macworld / Senior Reviews Editor, Playlist



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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: zo219 on Nov 29, '07 01:15:33AM
Well Dan, it's not that Property List Editor requires Dev Tools to work ... that's just the way to obtain PLE, which should come on every Mac. But PLE lives on perfectly happy ever after in one's own account or the main Utilities folder. Dev Tools or no. (I trash 'em.) (Gasp.)

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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: barefootguru on Nov 27, '07 02:52:22PM

TextWrangler, the free text editor, also uncompresses plist and other compressed files transparently when you open/save.



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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: robogobo on Nov 27, '07 04:45:29PM

great hint.



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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: Hal Itosis on Nov 27, '07 10:51:28PM

To you folk who rushed to post about
launching applications... like Property
List Editor and TextWrangler:

Do you not grasp the concept "*QUICK* Look"?

-HI-



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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: jacobolus on Nov 28, '07 03:17:03PM

Heh. "beautiful" XML. What a joke. :)

The quick look plugin should ideally show the vastly-easier-to-read old-style plist representation.



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10.5: View binary plist files via Quick Look
Authored by: simbalala on Nov 28, '07 06:15:21PM
There's also PrefEdit which is a very handy tool. http://www.bresink.com/osx/PrefEdit.html

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