textutil - macOS


The textutil command in macOS is a versatile tool that enables users to manipulate and transform text content in various ways. It offers functionalities for encoding, decoding, filtering, and modifying text data from the command line.


textutil [options] [command] [arguments]


  • -h, –help: Display help information.
  • -v, –verbose: Enable verbose output.
  • -s, –stdin: Read input from standard input instead of a file.
  • -o, –outputFile: Specify the output file path.
  • -e, –encoding: Set the input/output text encoding.
  • -f, –format: Set the output text format.
  • -l, –line-length: Set the maximum line length for wrapping.


| Command | Description |
| encode | Encode text using specified encoding. |
| decode | Decode text using specified encoding. |
| filter | Filter text using specified criteria. |
| replace | Replace text patterns with given replacements. |
| strip | Strip HTML or RTF tags from text. |
| analyze | Analyze text statistics (e.g., word count, sentence count). |


Encode text as UTF-8:

textutil encode -e utf-8 input.txt

Decode text from Base64:

textutil decode -e base64 input.txt

Filter text for specific words:

textutil filter -s "macOS textutil" | wc -l

Replace every occurrence of “word” with “replacement”:

textutil replace -f word replacement input.txt

Strip HTML tags from text:

textutil strip -f html input.html

Common Issues

  • Incorrect encoding: Ensure the correct encoding is used for input/output to avoid character corruption.
  • Invalid command syntax: Refer to the syntax section for proper usage.
  • Insufficient permissions: The output file may require write permissions.


  • Pipe the output of textutil to other commands for further processing (e.g., grep, cut).
  • Use textutil in conjunction with scripting languages to automate text manipulation tasks (e.g., AppleScript, shell scripts).
  • grep
  • sed
  • awk