How do I specify the location Tomboy is to use to store the notes? I am on 10.10 (Maverick).

Edit: Somebody posted the right answer but now it seems to have been deleted. From memory: it has to do with editing your /etc/profile with a secret line that causes a new location to be used. Then you reboot. Your old notes will not be transferred over but you can move them over manually from the "hidden" location which is what I did after I deleted the annoying "default" notes. Deleting default notes seems to not have caused disastrous system problems so I think they are just like any other notes. But if you get problems, just don't use Tomboy. To get off Tomboy you can print your notes, courier the papers to a company that will OCR scan them. Then you can then import them into software that is EXPLICIT about the location they are stored. There are probably other ways that probably don't involve paper.


Your Tomboy notes are stored in the directory ~/.local/share/tomboy/. You can change the default directory for your notes by following these instructions.

Open a terminal and then run these commands:

  1. sudo cp /etc/profile /etc/profile.bak

  2. gksudo gedit /etc/profile

  3. Copy and paste this line in the document just opened.

    export TOMBOY_PATH=/path/to/your/directory

    This will set up /path/to/your/directory for your Tomboy PATH. Change /path/to/your/directory to whichever directory you want to store your notes.

  4. Log out and log back in and now Tomboy will read the notes saved in that directory.

Do note that the notes already saved in the old directory will not be automatically imported into the new directory. You have to copy over to the new directory yourself.


  • After doing this I could no longer log on to Ubuntu in graphical mode. It apparently Unity crashes when loading. – Luís de Sousa Nov 11 '13 at 18:57

For a multi-user machine, I prefer to store my configuration in my home folder. My home folder is also backed up which saves my configuration changes. I run Ubuntu 14.04 with Tomboy 1.15.4. I have an owncloud server that sycs file/folders in /home/$user/owncloud. You should replace /home/$user/owncloud with your preferred directory location. Commands are entered in the terminal.

  1. First close the tomboy application.
  2. Create a folder /home/$USER/owncloud/tomboy and copied all of my tomboy notes to that folder. $USER is your user name.

    mkdir /home/$USER/owncloud/tomboy  
    cp -av /home/$USER/.local/share/tomboy/* /home/$USER/owncloud/tomboy/
  3. I then needed to tell tomboy where to find the data files. I created a file /home/$USER/.profile

    gedit /home/$USER/.profile 

    and then included the following lines.

    # this sets environment variable for user "your name here" 
    # set tomboy data directory to owncloud/tomboy directory  
  4. To make the .profile usable, you have to tell the operating system about it with the source command.

    source /home/$USER/.profile  
  5. Check that the operating system knows about the TOMBOY_PATH variable.

    echo $TOMBOY_PATH

    You should see output with your directory setting.

  6. You can now start tomboy.
  7. Adding $TOMBOY_PATH to /etc/environment or /etc/profile is not good on a multi-user machine. For example if user "Bill" sets the path in his home directory, then user "Susan" would not be able to use tomboy because tomboy would try to save her data to the directory that Bill defined and Susan would not have write permissions to save files in Bill's home directory. You could use the $USER variable in the path statement "/home/$USER/tomboy/" and Bill and Susan's location would then be "/home/Bill/tomboy/" and "/home/Susan/tomboy/" respectively.
  • or just using symbolic link ln -s /home/$USER/ownCloud/notes/tomboy /home/$USER/.local/share/tomboy – m3asmi Jul 1 '16 at 13:22

This method has been successfully tested on Ubuntu version 12.04, 13.10 and 14.04:

Open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and edit the environment file:

sudo -H gedit /etc/environment

At the end of this file add the following line:


Where you can replace /home/user/tomboy by any other path where you may wish to store your notes.

Then source the environment file:

source /etc/environment

Finally check if it all went well:


You should get back the new Tomboy notes path.

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