After upgrading form Ubuntu 14.10 to 15.10, it seems that changing gnome-terminal preferences using gconftool-2 is no longer supported. I guess this issue is related the Gconf to GSettings migration.

Now, I would like to change some of my old scripts ( since they are broken in Ubuntu 15.10 ) to work with dconf/gesettings instead of gconftool-2.

As an example, on Ubuntu 14.10 ( gnome-terminal version 3.6.2 ) I could set the number of columns in the Default profile using:

$ gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-terminal/profiles/Default/default_size_columns \
            --type=int 140
$ gconftool-2 --set /apps/gnome-terminal/profiles/Default/use_custom_default_size \
            --type=bool true

Now, in Ubuntu 15.10, typing:

$ dconf list /org/gnome/terminal/legacy/




$ gsettings list-relocatable-schemas | grep Terminal



The above output confuses me:

Still in Ubuntu 15.10 (using gnome-terminal version 3.16.2), if I run:

$ gsettings list-keys org.gnome.Terminal.Legacy.Profile:/ | grep default

I get:


so there is a default-size-columns key that could (?) correspond to the default_size_columns key in Ubuntu 14.10, but there is no use-custom-default-size key corresponding to the use_custom_default_size key in Ubuntu 14.10. This also confuses me.

Also, if I try running:

$ gsettings set org.gnome.Terminal.Legacy.Profile:/ default-size-columns 150

and open a new gnome-terminal the setting of default-size-columns seems to have no effect since the terminal still opens with 80 columns..

  • Please upgrade to 15.10 first, as both 14.10 and 15.04 already reached end of life.
    – Byte Commander
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:46
  • @ByteCommander I have upgraded to 15.10 now, and the question remains the same w.r.t 15.10 as for 15.04. I also found a solution, that I would like to post. How can this question be reopened, so I can post the solution? Feb 13, 2016 at 12:26

2 Answers 2


The syntax to be used with the gsettings command is described in GNOME Terminal Frequently Asked Questions.

First you need to find out the identifier of the profile you want to change. For example, the identifier of the gnome-terminal default profile can be obtained from schema org.gnome.Terminal.ProfilesList.

Then change the desired keys of path /org/gnome/terminal/legacy/profiles:/:UUID/ of schema org.gnome.Terminal.Legacy.Profile: for this profile.

Note the colons in the above path. It will not work if they are omitted.

Here is a script that use the above to set default-size-columns of the default profile:

profile=$(gsettings get org.gnome.Terminal.ProfilesList default)
profile=${profile:1:-1} # remove leading and trailing single quotes
gsettings set "org.gnome.Terminal.Legacy.Profile:/org/gnome/terminal/legacy/profiles:/:$profile/" default-size-columns 150
  • 1
    Cool that you found the solution yourself. Don't forget to accept your own answer.
    – Byte Commander
    Feb 14, 2016 at 17:32
  • 1
    Actually, you can specify the number of the profile instead of its ID, so the command would be just: gsettings set org.gnome.Terminal.Legacy.Profile:/org/gnome/terminal/legacy/profiles:/:0/ default-size-columns 150
    – Anatoli
    Apr 19, 2017 at 17:51
  • 1
    Or even shorter: gsettings set org.gnome.Terminal.Legacy.Profile:/:0/ default-size-columns 150
    – Anatoli
    Apr 19, 2017 at 17:59
  • Your answer saved my day! How did you find out the syntax of "org.gnome.Terminal.Legacy.Profile:/org/gnome/terminal/legacy/profiles:/:.../"? Did you find it in the documentation? What got me stuck was I didn't realize "Profile" should be followed by "/org/gnome/...".
    – yaobin
    Dec 10, 2019 at 17:28

Anatoli's shorter versions did not give me the current value of the column width setting, they returned 80 even though the terminal had been set to 120. But Hakon's method worked perfectly.

To get the "path" use dconf-editor to locate the profile and click on the profile name and you can then "Copy current path" - see attached screenshotenter image description here

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