This is incredibly weird. I don't see "preferences" in any of my gedit menus. I'm running Version 3.8.3. All I want to do is show line numbers, but I can't do that without preferences.

Where the heck are they hiding?

note: I did remove indicator-appmenus because I dislike having the menus detached from the window.

2015 Update: somehow this is being flagged as a dupe of Enable line numbers in gedit which is a little confusing. The solution is the same but the questions are different.

  • Does your gEdit have a gear icon in the main window toolbar area?
    – dobey
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 17:14
  • 1
    @dobey no, it doesn't.
    – Amanda
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 17:21
  • Eeesh. @vasa1 It does. Editing my Q
    – Amanda
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 17:33
  • 4
    iwould ck here as the issue was no preference menu option askubuntu.com/questions/364117/enable-line-numbers-in-gedit/…
    – doug
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 18:22
  • 1
    What did work was explicitly setting line numbers w/ ` gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor display-line-numbers true `
    – Amanda
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 23:28

11 Answers 11


if you are using GNOME 3, you can access the preferences via the top menu.

you should have "activities" on the top left corner of your screen. on the right side of activities, you will have gedit. click on it, and you should see the preferences.

  • I do see preferences, but clicking it doesn't bring up anything.
    – Irfan
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 12:14
  • 1
    @Power-Inside if you've got a top menu but the "preferences" menu item isn't doing anything, you probably want to start a new question.
    – Amanda
    Commented Jan 29, 2014 at 13:57
  • 2
    ew! yet another reason for me not to return to gnome. why move preferences to a mac style location?? absurd
    – jozxyqk
    Commented Feb 28, 2015 at 6:22
  • It helps me. Thank you! I found a lot of tips for accessing through "edit" menu, however I couldn't find on my Ubuntu GNOME 16.04. I couldn't imagine that it moved onto a global menu.
    – hata
    Commented Aug 5, 2016 at 15:17
  • 3
    launching it with sudo the preferences are in the standard three-bar, and not the top bar, and preferences are locked (gedit 3.30 under Arch) Commented Sep 27, 2018 at 21:08

I'm not sure how to get preferences back in your menus, but you can use gsettings to display line numbers. Enter this command into the terminal:

gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor display-line-numbers true

In case you need to change other settings for gedit, you can use this command to find quite a few that are available: (thanks to this answer)

gsettings list-recursively | grep -i gedit
  • 20
    cannot believe why gedit became so hard to use these days....
    – BufBills
    Commented May 16, 2014 at 3:28
  • 4
    +1 because this answer is valid for Gedit in GNOME 3.12 and probably for newer releases also. Gedit in newer releases doesn't seem to have the preferences dialog as described here.
    – user37165
    Commented Jan 12, 2016 at 18:03

To get the preferences entry back to the edit menu perform the following command in a terminal:

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.xsettings overrides '@a{sv} {"Gtk/ShellShowsAppMenu": <int32 0>}'

The problem results from Gnome3 putting the preferences menu entry to the top menu.

  • 2
    Thank you, this was the only solution that worked for me (using CentOS but solution is the same). Can't believe this is hidden by default!!
    – crobicha
    Commented May 25, 2016 at 15:10

Just type Alt+E, then again E when you are in gedit. A new window called "gedit Preferences" should appear.

gedit preferences

  • 3
    No dice, I'm afraid.
    – Amanda
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 17:21
  • @Amanda I am using gedit 3.8.3 in Ubuntu 13.10 and this is how I open preferences in gedit. I made you also a picture to prove you. Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 17:31
  • 2
    I believe you, but my edit menu ends at "Insert Date and Time"
    – Amanda
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 22:42
  • @Amanda You can also use gsettings to change gedit's settings.
    – OSE
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 23:18
  • This works for me: gsettings set org.gnome.gedit.preferences.editor display-line-numbers true
    – OSE
    Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 23:20

Faced similar problem...got the preference option in the activities bar in the left hand corner..I am using gedit v3.22.1

gedit preference setting

enter image description here

  • That option wasn't available for me, just current document, New Window, New Document and Remove from Favorites.
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 11:26

You may need to use tweak tool to turn off temporarily some of the common extensions normal people now use to make gnome 3 usable on a desktop. For me, I had to turn off the taskbar and applications menu extensions. Then one can use the method described by Buğra Koç above.

This means the easy switching on and off of line numbers and word wrap in gedit is gone.

If you don't need text highlighting Leafpad is a good replacement for gedit. It looks like the old gedit:

sudo apt-get install leafpad
  • Even when I turn off all extensions, I don't see the Preferences options in either the top menu or the hamburger menu. The only way which works for me is to just show the app menus, see askubuntu.com/a/671398/19011
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 11:43

In my desktop, I found it here: enter image description here

  • That is the best answer for me! No need to use cli or disable ui extensions. Just right-click gedit icon in panel - and you got it! You just saved my day, thanks a lot!
    – thybzi
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 9:45
  • That option wasn't available for me, just current document, New Window, New Document and Remove from Favorites.
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 11:26
  • The question is asking how to get to Preferences when it doesn't show in any menus like this!
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Oct 9, 2023 at 11:46

You can access the preference settings of any app by installing dconf-editor:

Debian derivatives:

sudo apt install dconf-editor  

Redhat derivatives:

sudo yum install dconf-editor # for Fedora replace yum with dnf

Then open dconf-editor

dconf-editor &>/dev/null &  

Click the search icon and type gedit or follow this path: org/gnome/gedit/preference/editor/display-line-number

Turn off the default value and make the custom value true


The preferences are under edit at the bottom of the list. enter image description here

Try to get the menu-bar back, or if that fails remove it entirely and install a fresh new instance of gedit, mine is 3.10.4, so yours is a bit old!


I know this is an old thread, but I just ran into the same problem. In the end, I figured out that it was because I was still logged in as the superuser. Once I logged out of the terminal and reopened the terminal, everything went back to normal.

Just thought I'd throw that out there in case anyone else hits the same problem.

If you're seeing a # instead of a $ at your command line, this is likely why you can't see your defaults.

  • Although this is true, it doesn't explain how to access preferences when using gedit with super user sudo powers. Commented Mar 26, 2017 at 19:15

Some preferences, such as display line numbers can be activated from the options in the gedit bottom bar(right side).

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