I loaded dconf-editor. There is no menu, but I did discover that you can press Ctrl+F and enter a search term.

However, I do not know what Ctrl+F actually searches. When I enter a term (e.g. panel or unity-greeter), I receive no results.

I have also tried gsettings at the command line, but with no luck whatever options I have tried; I must be doing it incorrectly.

How do I search for a specific key or value within dconf?


First, the search function in dconf-editor searches only among those things which are directly visible on screen or reachable by scrolling (note that the search field looks just like the one in other applications like Nautilus).

I know of no other graphical tool you could use. So you probably need to use the command line tool dconf (also from the package dconf-tools).

Specifically for search recursively through the whole database (including keys and values) I would use this command:

dconf dump / | grep SEARCH-TERM

dump basically gives you the whole database in an "Windows-Ini-File"-like format. For browsing through the database, use dconf list /PATH.

As you've mentioned gsettings, the equivalent search command there is:

gsettings list-recursively | grep SEARCH-TERM

However, this may not be what you want (for a search for unity, this gives completely different results for me). Not sure what database is used here.

Edit: After reading this question, I noticed that dconf shows you only the settings which are actually set in the database, not all possible settings like dconf-editor. Apparently you can use gsettings list-schemas to give you all possible settings.

  • 1
    To add your answer, Phillip, I used less with search instead of grep, so that I could find the sub-settings: dconf dump / | less. Thank you. – Paddy Landau Aug 7 '12 at 13:23
  • i wonder why I can access Guake preferences (/apps/Guake/) from dconf-editor/dconf and not using gsettings. – Pablo Bianchi Dec 5 '19 at 15:05
dconf read <KEY>

For example, to read the current wallpaper picture filename:

dconf read /org/mate/desktop/background/picture-filename

For a list of keys dconf dump / > dconf.dump

You can then examine the text file dconf.dump for the key you want to query. To construct the wallpaper query look to here :

picture-filename='yourwallpaperpicturefile.png'  <<< 

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