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Is there a command line utility to which I can pass a filename, that will return applicable UTIs for that file?

For example:

hypothetical-uti-fetcher /Library/Desktop\ Pictures/Aqua\ Blue.jpg

might give me:

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2 Answers 2

up vote 19 down vote accepted

You can use the mdls command to find the UTI for a file. Just do the command mdls /Library/Desktop\ Pictures/Aqua\ Blue.jpg and it will give you a bunch of info, toward the top it will say something like kMDItemContentType = "public.plain-text". Hope this helps!

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Excellent. Thanks. mdls -name kMDItemContentTypeTree /Library/Desktop\ Pictures/Aqua\ Blue.jpg is exactly what I wanted. –  smokris Nov 10 '10 at 0:41
You're welcome, I'm glad this helped. –  Wuffers Nov 10 '10 at 1:06
Suppose I turned off my Spotlight index and I seem to have no metadata stored. (mdls whatever-file just says that the file was not found). How do the md* services generate the content types in the first place? –  Aurel300 Feb 17 at 17:53

The mdls command only seems to work on Spotlight indexed files. If you run it on a mounted disk image, cd or thumb drive it may return no information at all. If the filetype's

http://uti.schwa.io/all has quite an extensive list of UTIs and is quite helpful. When you're developing a Quicklook Plugin it's also useful to use the following command to see what UTIs Quicklook thinks a file has and which plugins it uses for the preview:

qlmanage -d 4 -p /path/to/file
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