3.1. Running GnuCash

GnuCash can be run from your desktop main menu by selecting the associated menu entry.

Alternatively it can be run from a shell (command line) with the command gnucash.

During the loading of the GnuCash main window you will see the GnuCash Splash Screen where some information about the program itself and the loading process are displayed.

3.1.1. Cannot find default values screen

The very first time you run GnuCash you will be presented with the Cannot find default values screen that contains three buttons:

3.1.2. Update GnuCash Configuration Data assistant

The first screen of Update GnuCash Configuration Data describes the assistant. While the data on the screen will change, the three buttons at the very bottom of the assistant will not.

  • Cancel — exits the assistant.


    If you click this button, any selections you have made up to this point will be lost.

  • Back — brings up the previous screen so that you can change a previous selection until the first screen.

  • Forward — brings up the next screen so you can continue through the assistant.

The second screen allows you to Choose a Method of setting gconf configuration for GnuCash. The Update Search Path button will modify .gconf path in the user’s home directory. The Install in Home Directory button on this screen will install the configuration files in the .gconf directory in the user’s home directory.

After making your selection click the Forward button to display the next screen.

If you selected Install in Home Directory the next screen presents you with three options:

  • GnuCash will install the data.

  • You will install the data yourself.

  • The data has already been loaded.

If you selected Update Search Path the next screen presents you with three options:

  • GnuCash will update search path.

  • You will update search path yourself.

  • The update search path has already been updated.

The final screen has the usual three buttons, with the difference that Forward has changed to Apply. Click the Apply button to complete the initial defaults setting process. The Welcome to GnuCash screen (see Section 3.1.3, “Welcome to GnuCash dialog”) will now be opened.

3.1.3. Welcome to GnuCash dialog

After the initial defaults are completed, you will be presented with the Welcome to GnuCash! dialog with three choices:

  • Create a new set of accounts — Runs the New Account Hierarchy Setup assistant (see Section 3.2, “New Account Hierarchy Setup”). Select this option if you want to be assisted in creating a set of accounts.

  • Import my QIF files — Runs the Import QIF Files assistant (see Section 3.3, “Import QIF Files”). Select this option if you already have Quicken files (.qif files) from another financial application and wish to import them into GnuCash.

  • Open the new user tutorial — Opens the GnuCash Tutorial and Concepts Guide. Select this option if you are completely new to GnuCash and accounting concepts.


It is possible to run these items after you have made a choice here, but the Welcome to GnuCash! screen will not reappear. To try one of the other choices later, read Section 3.2, “New Account Hierarchy Setup”, Section 3.3, “Import QIF Files” and Section 2.2, “GnuCash Tutorial and Concepts Guide” to see how to start them from the GnuCash menu.

This screen is intended for you to use to get up and running quickly. The Cancel button is used to exit the screen. It will then prompt you with Display Welcome Dialog Again?. If you do not want to see the Welcome to GnuCash! menu again click the No button. Click the Yes button or press the keyboard Enter key for the default which is to have the Welcome to GnuCash! screen run again.


Selecting either of these options will leave you with a minimum GnuCash main window. Operations in this window are described in Chapter 4, GnuCash Windows & Menus Options Overview.