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PrefEdit is an application to manage nearly all aspects of the preference system contained in every OS X installation. The program consists of three components which are tightly integrated with each other:
- An entry point to the preferences database of OS X, with access to all settings which are effective for your user account,
- a browser and editor for OS X property list files (plists),
- a browser for preference manifest files.
Property list files are the technical means used by OS X to store user preference settings in the background. This file type is also utilized by OS X for many other purposes, not only for building the preference database. You can use PrefEdit to display and edit all files compliant with Apple's plist standard.
Preference manifest files contain descriptions for so-called Managed Preferences. If modifying a user preference setting is not only of interest for the application owning this setting, but access to the setting should be possible for “foreign” applications, too, the vendor of the application can publish technical details about these preferences formally. Such a description specifies which setting with what name has which meaning for an application. In addition, the possible value range, as well as the meaning of each single value can be defined. Apple's Workgroup Manager application uses manifest files to present such remotely managable settings.
PrefEdit is directed both to software developers and to end users who like to have full access to each and every aspect of preference settings for the system and applications. The program is capable of visualizing the complete search path and priority of user default settings, exactly imitating the view each OS X application has on the preferences database.
PrefEdit was the first preference editor ever published for OS X. With its long experience and maturity, it has become one of the most advanced preference management applications for OS X available today.