I have a simple usability problem that I would love to fix. I work quite a bit with gedit as my LaTeX editor (with the excellent LaTeX plugin). I constantly need to work with several files. So, a very common situation for me is to be working on some file (hence gedit is running) when the need to edit another file arises. As Nautilus is easier to navigate than the "Open Dialog" of gedit, I usually open up a new Nautilus window, look for my file, and then double click on it (followed by a "Doh!"). What happens is that a new instance of gedit is started with a single tab of the file I just double clicked on, whereas the expected behavior (from my perspective at least) is that this new file should be opened in a new tab in the already running gedit instance.

So, to my question - is there a way to make it work the way that I prefer?

  • 1
    Which distro do you use? I run Ubuntu (11.04) and new files are always opened in a already open instance of gedit.
    – igi
    Commented May 22, 2011 at 0:37

1 Answer 1


As @igi suggested, its the default behavior for Ubuntu Natty. Otherwise

Open /usr/share/applications/gedit.desktop and make sure the Exec property is equal to gedit --new-document %U

Alternately, you can open your ~/.bash_aliases or ~/.bashrc and add

alias gedit="gedit --new-document"
  • 4
    --new-document open a window inside the current instance with a new empty document.
    – enzotib
    Commented May 22, 2011 at 7:25

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