Opening PLIST files

Have a problem opening a .PLIST file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what PLIST files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .PLIST file type?

The .plist file extension is now usually tied up with the Apple's PLIST document format and p-list files. Such files are most commonly found in MacOS, various Apple software, Linux/Unix and independent GNU projects. Basically, .plist files are preference or configuration files.

In MacOS, .plist files are widely used to store user-manageable system preferences, and many Apple software products like iTunes use .plist files to store default and current settings (e.g. 'Defaults.plist').

A .plist file is a small-size file storing a series of XML-structured declarations of properties (keys) and values. In earlier MacOS versions (below 10.2), .plist files are plaintext. Since MacOS 10.4, a new binary format has been adopted for .plist files.

Although there are many specialized p-list editors available, plaintext .plist files can be directly opened and edited in any text editor. With binary .plist files, a specialized p-list editor would be necessary. There are ways to convert plaintext (source) p-list files into binaries, and vice versa.

Software to open or convert PLIST files

You can open PLIST files with the following programs: 

Popular formats