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While I'm sure I need to use defaults write to do this, I'm not sure how to use a terminal theme file like IR_Black.terminal and set it to the default theme for a user.

Basically, I'd like to be able to do something like defaults write Default Window Setting IR_Black.terminal

anyone know how to do this?

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migrated from Jul 21 '11 at 18:51

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Just configure your window the way you want it and then choose the Shell->Use Settings as Default command. There's no need to do anything from the command line.

From your comment, I understand that you want to be able to set the preferences for Terminal from a script as part of configuring a machine automatically. The easiest way to do that is probably to configure Terminal the way you want, and then make a copy of


If you then copy that file to the target machine's


it'll become the default Terminal preferences for every user on that machine. Or, you can copy it to:


to set the Terminal preferences just for user username.

You probably already know at least some of this. I know this answer skirts the question of how to do the equivalent thing with the defaults command, but if you do:

% defaults read

you'll see that the value for the "Window Settings" key is a fairly complex dictionary that's going to be difficult to manipulate with defaults. I think it'll be much safer to let Terminal write the settings, and for you to simply copy the entire settings file.

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Caleb - I'm deploying environments to multiple users. I can't rely on them to do this on their own (don't get me started on why) – Cory Collier Jul 21 '11 at 14:56
@CoryCollier: Edited my answer to help (I hope) with your situation. Good luck. – Caleb Jul 21 '11 at 22:16

I understand I am late to this question but I just solved a similar issue myself. Here was what I did:

  1. Export the style from the plist by running:

    $ /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy -x ~/Library/Preferences/ -c 'print ":Window Settings:SETTINGNAME"' > SETTINGNAME.plist
  2. Copy the plist to another machine
  3. On the other machine, run:

    $ /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy ~/Library/Preferences/ -c 'add ":Window Settings:SETTINGNAME" dict'
    $ /usr/libexec/PlistBuddy ~/Library/Preferences/ -c 'merge SETTINGNAME.plist ":Window Settings:SETTINGNAME"'

Then you can set the default color scheme with defaults.

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