Installing VMware ovftool on Mac OS X

VMware offers a free tool to convert virtual machine files in different formats for example from .vmx to .ovf.

This tool can be used to convert:

VMX -> vSphere

Or you can deploy a OVF directly to a ESX host. It’s  more powerful than it looks like.

The documentation can be found on the VMware site and it’s short and clear.


Download the documentation and the tool from the VMware site:

You need a VMware id to have access but the tool itself is free.

After you downloaded the tool you can install it using the installer. The stand alone version 2.1 (which I used) will be located here: /Applications/VMware OVF Tool/

Start a terminal and change to this directory:

cd /Applications/VMware OVF Tool/

Now convert your files like you want. For example:

ovftool vmxs/Fedora.vmx ovfs/Fedora.ova

More examples how the tool can be used are shown by the command

ovftool --help examples


ovftool –vService:vDep1=provider_1 /ovfs/my_vapp.ovf
(specify a vService dependency)

ovftool -tt=vmx /ovfs/my_vapp.ovf /vms/
(.ovf file to .vmx file. Result files are /vms/my_vapp/my_vapp.[vmx|vmdk])

ovftool /vms/my_vm.vmx /ovfs/my_vapp.ovf
(.vmx file to .ovf file. Result is put in /ovfs/my_vapp.[ovf|vmdk])

ovftool https://my_ovf_server/ovfs/my_vapp.ova /vm/my_vm.vmx
(.ova file to .vmx file)

ovftool /ovfs/my_vapp.ovf vi://username:pass@my_esx_host
(.ovf file to ESX host using default mappings)

ovftool /ovfs/my_vm.vmx vi://username:pass@my_esx_host
(.vmx file to ESX host using default mappings)

ovftool http://my_ovf_server/ovfs/my_vapp.ovf \
(.ovf file from a web server to ESX host using defaults)

ovftool /ovfs/my_vapp.ovf \
(.ovf file to vCenter server using managed ESX host ip address)

ovftool vi://username:pass@my_vc_server/my_datacenter?ds=\
[Storage1] foo/foo.vmx c:\ovfs\
(VM on ESX/vCenter server to OVF using datastore location query)

ovftool /ovfs/my_vapp.ovf \
(.ovf file to vCenter server using vCenter inventory path)

ovftool vi://username:pass@my_host/my_datacenter/vm/my_vm_folder/my_vm_name \
(VC/ESX vm to .ovf file)

ovftool /virtualmachines/MyVM.vmx \
(Imports a .vmx file into a vApprun workspace using default name)

ovftool https://my_ovflib/vm/my_vapp.ovf
(shows summary information about the OVF package [probe mode])

6 thoughts on “Installing VMware ovftool on Mac OS X

  1. Patrik Askert

    Hi there Dominik, it’s strange, after installation, and using Terminal, if I use ‘cd /Applications/VMware OVF Tool/’, I get an error ‘-bash: cd: /Applications/VMware: No such file or directory’. However, if I do ‘cd /Applications’ and then ‘ls’, I can see the folder ‘VMware OVF Tool’, but ‘cd VMware OVF Tool’ won’t work – neither will it for any of the other application folders in ‘/Applications’ but it will open ‘/Applications/Utilities’. It seems to be a generic Terminal issue rather than an issue with the OVF Tool. Any ideas please? Cheers!

    1. Patrik Askert

      I decided to bypass the issue with the OVF Tool folder and dragged the contents out messily into /Applications. Then if I try to run ovftool from there, it works (it closes itself automatically if I do that), so I figure I can proceed and perform the conversion as per the procedure. I dragged and dropped the VM into the /Applications folder too, to make it simpler. When I’m in /Applications in Terminal, I can enter ‘ovftool WindowsXP.vmwarevm WindowsXP.ovf’ and it should work, but I get the error ‘-bash: ovftool: command not found’. Surely the command would be recognised if the program file is there?

    2. Patrik Askert

      cd /Applications/’VMware OVF Tool’

      I can open the folder using quotes, I’ve been advised, but the app still doesn’t convert. I think your guide should use quotes on the folder name example at the top.

    3. Dominik Zajac Post author

      Hi Patrick,

      the spaces in the directory name will need some escaping. If you try to enter a directory with spaces you need to add a backslash before the space. In your case the cd command would look like: cd /Applications/VMware\ OVF\ Tool/

      I will update the page in a moment 😉
      Thank you very much for your commend on this.




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