How to change the gnome-terminal default size (ubuntu & xubuntu)

On widescreen LCDs, gnome-terminal looks so tiny. Aren’t you sick of resizing it everytime you do a ls -al ?

Important Note for Ubuntu users:

Since Ubuntu Lucid, using Gnome-terminal, you can easily change the default size by going to the menu: Profile > Preference > Default Size.

For Xubuntu users (xfce4-terminal):

  1. Edit ~/.config/Terminal/terminalrc
    leafpad ~/.config/Terminal/terminalrc
  2. Change the value for MiscDefaultGeometry=. For example
  3. Save, close all terminals and open a new terminal.

For Ubuntu, the old way and system-wide:

Please note that this modification will affect the whole system and also other users on the system. There are possibilities that the file is overwritten during an xterm update which will reset the changes you made.

  1. Open Terminal.
  2. Type :
    gksudo gedit /usr/share/vte/termcap/xterm
  3. Enter your password (root password) if necessary.
  4. Find something like that (yours must be different, just look around line 10):
  5. Change the first and last number, for example to set the default size to 200 columns x 50 lines:
  6. Save.
  7. Close every Terminal.
  8. Open a new Terminal, Enjoy!

26 Replies to “How to change the gnome-terminal default size (ubuntu & xubuntu)”

  1. Thanks. This works, but it’s really annoying that gnome-terminal doesn’t have a separate per-user per-profile setting for a default size.

    It should also be noted for users that do this, this change is system-wide and could possibly be reverted in future upgrades…

  2. @Malt:

    I checked and couldn’t really find anything relevant. You need to look for Termcap user-settings.

    Thanks for tip, I looked at the release notes but could not find anything, I’ll probably have to look more in depth.

  3. thanks for the tip!

    And, if readers are curious, you really do have to close every open terminal
    window before the change takes effect! (On SUSE using gnome-terminal, anyway)
    (Oddly enough, it would seem that xterm isn’t affected by this, again on my SUSE 2.6.34 system)

  4. Hi, would be grateful for some advice. I am a linux noob and can’t seem to get this to work.
    I edited the /usr/share/vte/termcap/xterm file and closed the terminal (even used killall gnome-terminal to be sure), but all later terminals are opening at 80×24

    Any ideas?

  5. Thanks a lot Arnaud Soyez..I had posted this some where in march and had totally forgotten this. Today i felt like solving the issue and guess what, ur response was ready.

    Thanks again. This issue is solved for me

  6. Richard,

    Give it a try with Arnaud Soyez’s solution. Hope it works..

    For ur quick reference:

    Edit ~/.config/Terminal/terminalrc
    And change the value for MiscDefaultGeometry.

    For example:

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