It's kind of annoying how some Ubuntu (GNOME, X Window System) programs start at the top left of my screen. Is there a way to make the program start in the center of the screen.

(Yeah I know it's a pretty trivial question but it is annoying ;-)

  • Which window manager/desktop environment are you using?
    – Babu
    Jul 15, 2009 at 2:54

6 Answers 6


you can use x's geometry to set this.

depending on your x version it can vary.

the man page and it should explain the geometry options

xterm 80x24+nxn or similar.

  • What does nxn do?
    – Kredns
    Jul 15, 2009 at 2:58
  • n would represent the number you want to set.
    – egorgry
    Jul 15, 2009 at 3:01
  • Why is it so hard to find information about geometry using a man page?
    – Kredns
    Jul 15, 2009 at 3:05
  • 'man X', search for "GEOMETRY SPECIFICATIONS".
    – Craig Sanders
    Jul 15, 2009 at 3:47
  • It says 'No manual entry for X. See man 7 undocumented for help when manual pages are not available'.
    – Kredns
    Jul 16, 2009 at 0:43

In gnome-terminal (ubuntu) the geometry specification is slightly different:

gnome-terminal --geometry=114x32+0+0 

As ever the man pages are your friend:

man gnome-terminal

The question title is only about the Terminal, however, it seems the body is more general about "programs start at the top left of [… the] screen".

So, since GNOME v3.30 there is a visible option in GNOME Tweaks, which makes it easy to enable it for all windows:

GNOME Tweaks with Windows->"Center New Windows" highlighted

Just select "Center New Windows" under "Windows".

  • BTW, in contrast to what i said, (that it's the default in Ubuntu now) this topic is not dead and still in discussion in Fedora & Ubuntu.
    – rugk
    Mar 30, 2019 at 15:15

most (probably all) window managers have configuration options that you can tweak to set where new windows are opened.

some examples:

openbox has a check-box "Center new windows when they are placed". that causes all new windows(*) to open in the centre of the screen.

sawfish is very flexible and programmable - you can set rules so that windows matching certain criteria are always centered, always opened in desktop 2, have a different frame style, and so.

i can't remember exactly what metacity is capable of...haven't used it for ages. i think it can centre windows by default.

(*) by default, that is. if they're opened with a specific geometry then that overrides the default.


I couldn't figure out the centering problem (in X) either, so I just did some rough math on my screen dimensions to determine a close centerpoint. I needed this for my terminal window, similar to Ken above.

Here is what i have my terminal icon mapped to, which is close to center on my 1900x1200 resolution:

gnome-terminal --geometry=90x20+400+300

(That's width(columns) x hight(rows) + xoffset + y offset

To add to this, I have an alias in my .bashrc which I use when I need to open 4 terminals fast. The below will open 4 terminals, each pinned to the 4 corners, and 100 columns by 23 rows. Note that I go out of order in the calls so that the last line executed (the last terminal opened) is the upper left one, allowing me to start there.

# Open 4 terminal windows on the corners.  Upper rt, low left, low right, upper left
alias bam="     gnome-terminal --geometry=100x23-700+0; 
                gnome-terminal --geometry=100x23+0-400; 
                gnome-terminal --geometry=100x23-700-400;
                gnome-terminal --geometry=100x23+0+0;"

You can open all windows in the center by configuring gnome:

gsettings set org.gnome.mutter center-new-windows true

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