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plistlib — Generate and parse Mac OS X .plist files — Python v3.0 documentation

plistlib — Generate and parse Mac OS X .plist files¶

This module provides an interface for reading and writing the “property list” XML files used mainly by Mac OS X.

The property list (.plist) file format is a simple XML pickle supporting basic object types, like dictionaries, lists, numbers and strings. Usually the top level object is a dictionary.

Values can be strings, integers, floats, booleans, tuples, lists, dictionaries (but only with string keys), Data or datetime.datetime objects. String values (including dictionary keys) may be unicode strings – they will be written out as UTF-8.

The <data> plist type is supported through the Data class. This is a thin wrapper around a Python string. Use Data if your strings contain control characters.

See also

PList manual page <http://developer.apple.com/documentation/Darwin/Reference/ManPages/man5/plist.5.html>
Apple’s documentation of the file format.

This module defines the following functions:


Read a plist file. pathOrFile may either be a file name or a (readable) file object. Return the unpacked root object (which usually is a dictionary).

The XML data is parsed using the Expat parser from xml.parsers.expat – see its documentation for possible exceptions on ill-formed XML. Unknown elements will simply be ignored by the plist parser.

plistlib.writePlist(rootObject, pathOrFile)¶

Write rootObject to a plist file. pathOrFile may either be a file name or a (writable) file object.

A TypeError will be raised if the object is of an unsupported type or a container that contains objects of unsupported types.

Read a plist from a string. Return the root object.
Return rootObject as a plist-formatted string.

The following class is available:

class plistlib.Data(data)¶

Return a “data” wrapper object around the string data. This is used in functions converting from/to plists to represent the <data> type available in plists.

It has one attribute, data, that can be used to retrieve the Python string stored in it.


Generating a plist:

pl = dict(
    aList=["A", "B", 12, 32.1, [1, 2, 3]],
    aFloat = 0.1,
    anInt = 728,
        anotherString="<hello & hi there!>",
        aUnicodeValue=u'M\xe4ssig, Ma\xdf',
    someData = Data("<binary gunk>"),
    someMoreData = Data("<lots of binary gunk>" * 10),
    aDate = datetime.datetime.fromtimestamp(time.mktime(time.gmtime())),
# unicode keys are possible, but a little awkward to use:
pl[u'\xc5benraa'] = "That was a unicode key."
writePlist(pl, fileName)

Parsing a plist:

pl = readPlist(pathOrFile)
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