How do I change the default text editor?
How can I change my default text editor from gedit to Emacs?
Right click on a text file, point to “Open With” and it’ll show other editors in a sub-menu. Click on “Other Application…”. It’ll show you a dialog with a list of applications, select Emacs and make sure the “Remember this application for “plain text document” file” option is checked. Click “Open”.
Here is what worked in my case:
- Right click on a text file.
- Choose "Properties" (not "Open With…")
- Click on the "Open With" tab.
- Choose your new text editor.
- Mark chosen text editor using a button "Set as default".
This also works on 12.04 and 13.04.
@ Edit: based on comments it does work on all distros until 20.04
If you are working from the terminal then I would add the following to your .bashrc file (or the config file for your favorite shell):
export EDITOR=emacs export VISUAL=emacs
A more robust solution would be to replace the bindings in
sed -i 's/gedit/emacs/' /usr/share/applications/defaults.list
To change default text editor across the file types, try updating gnome-text-editor configuration.
sudo update-alternatives --config gnome-text-editor
In some cases:
sudo update-alternatives --config editor
sed -i 's/gedit/emacs/g' /etc/gnome/defaults.list
If you would like to replace gedit with any other text editor for all file types, the easiest is to edit the
defaults.list file located here:
Just find and replace all
gedit.desktop references with your own editor (in this case
You need root permissions to edit the file. So, just do:
sudo -H gedit /usr/share/applications/defaults.list
Save the file, close it and it’s done.
To set Pluma as default text editor for all user (global):
sudo sed -i 's|text/plain=gedit.desktop|text/plain=pluma.desktop|g' /etc/gnome/defaults.list
I don’t use a DE, but for my configurations the next command is the best:
- it selects your default sensible-editor from all installed editors
- must run with current user
- you must have more than one editor in your system
You can set the default text editor for a specific user in # ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list by:
[Default Applications] text/plain=gedit.desktop
For global configuration for all users you have to modify the /etc/gnome/defaults.list
On Ubuntu 20, you need to change the
gnome-text-editor alternatives link from
gedit to the one you want. However, there usually is only one such editor detected so
update-alternatives --config won’t work; you’ll have to add the editor you want.
E.g. to add
sudo update-alternatives --install /usr/bin/gnome-text-editor gnome-text-editor /usr/bin/notepadqq 50 sudo update-alternatives --config gnome-text-editor
For some reason I had to use
xdg-mime default org.gnome.gedit.desktop text/plain # For current user
you can use your system-wide .desktop files under
or local files under
~/.local/share/applications/ or create your own.
It’s also helpful to know that user configurations are stored in
~/.config/mimeapps.list which overrides the defaults.