For years, nay, decades (literally – two!), I have visual bell enabled in my terminals whenever possible, be it a humble XTerm or Gnome Terminal. Recently, after I switched from Unity to Gnome 3, I had an audible bell (over stereo speakers) in Gnome Terminal.

My searches up to now always seem to lead into the wrong direction: How to enable the audible bell or how to disable the whole thing completely. That’s not my intention. When at the prompt, when I press backspace too often or just before auto-completion, I want the terminal window to flicker, and I do not want to hear anything. Where is this setting hidden?


Disable audible bell and enable visual bell with:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences audible-bell false
gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences visual-bell true

and change the type of the visual bell if you don't need the fullscreen flash:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences visual-bell-type frame-flash

Options for visual-bell-type:

  • fullscreen-flash – causes a fullscreen white-black flash
  • frame-flash – causes the titlebar of the application which sent the bell signal to flash
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  • 1
    is this going to work on XFCE terminals? Cause it tried and and it did not work. – Soumitri Pattnaik Jul 31 '16 at 8:35
  • 2
    This didn't work for me either. – slm Jul 23 '18 at 4:55
  • If you use Vim note that it has its own bell setting. See :help visualbell. To enable Vim's visual feature, do: :set visualbell. – Adam Monsen Aug 7 '19 at 11:11
  • The above settings are visible in the GUI, under Settings / Universal Access / Visual Alerts. – Jonathan Hartley Oct 16 '19 at 20:27
  • For me, frame-flash flashes the whole window content black, not the title bar. – Jonathan Hartley Oct 16 '19 at 20:28

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