Automate Tasks with GNOME Schedule

GNOME Schedule is a graphical user interface (GUI) tool that leverages the power of cron. It brings together the power of cron with the ease-of-use. Whilst we can use the command-line to schedule tasks, we can also use GNOME Schedule to complete the same task.

It supports recurrent tasks and tasks that happen only once in the future. The user interface translates cron strings into human-readable form for ease-of-use, but also has an expert option for those familiar with the cron format.

What is cron about? We will be talking more about the cron tool in future tutorials. But here is a glimpse:

By default, Linux systems have cron installed. It’s a command-line tool for scheduling and automating tasks. I don’t think it was actually intended for absolute beginners.

Features of GNOME Schedule

  • Supports custom titles and icons for your tasks so that they are more easily to keep track of
  • Templates support so that you won’t have to create the same task again and again; these are saved in gconf and may easily ship them with a Linux distribution
  • If run as root, you can edit any user’s crontab and “at” tasks
  • Human-readable strings like “Every hour” instead of “0 * * * *”
  • Advanced mode for crontab experts
  • Provides a “panel applet” where you can manage tasks from a dropdown menu
  • Predefined common expressions like: every minute, every week, tomorrow, next week
  • A calendar allows you to choose the day you want a task executed

Installing GNOME Schedule

Open your terminal and copy and paste the command below:

 $ enock@enock-pc:~$ sudo apt-get install gnome-schedule

After the installation have been completed, run GNOME Schedule as root by using the commands below:

 $ enock@enock-pc:~$ sudo gnome-schedule


Why GNOME Schedule as root?

Opening GNOME Schedule as root user gives you total authority over the system. Making is easy to schedule wide system task beyond that of a standard user.

Please note: When GNOME Schedule is started as a regular user, all scheduled tasks will NOT be accomplished.

Scheduling tasks

Gnome Schedule can be used to schedule three types of tasks. Tasks that launch:

  • Recurrently
  • One time
  • From a predefined template

Gnome-schedule-tasksIn this tutorial we are going to create a recurrent task to shut down our computer at 11:00pm on Fridays.

1. Click on ‘New‘ and select ‘Recurrent‘ task option

2.  Enter the Description, Command, Time and Date.


The Description is the name given to the task to be performed.

The Command is what will happen at the specified time. Most commands are located in the directory /sbin/,  /usr/bin/ or  /usr/local/bin. Not only poweroff.

With Time and Date, the format used is 24 Hours. Meaning 11:00pm is 23:00. The * (asterisk) in the Day and Month boxes represents all. While the in Weekday represents Monday. (So 0 = Sunday, 1 = Monday etc. and 6 = Saturday). You can separate the weekdays with (comma) to execute tasks on say Monday and Friday at 23:00, will be 1,5 .

After filling the required spaces, click ‘Add’.

Scheduling a one time task

1. Click on ‘New‘ and select the second option. (A task that launches once)

2. All applies as in the recurrent task expect this executes once and the task takes a different format.

Gnome-Schedule-onetime-taskThe scheduled task above restarts the computer at the specified time.

Scheduling from a pre-defined template

Gnome-schedule-templateThis is a very quick way to schedule. This because you have saved a template already. Any time you need it, you just go in for it.

Gnome-complete-schedduleYour task has been scheduled and ready for execution at the specified time.

These are not the only tasks that GNOME Schedule can perform, it can also be used to open applications and other things at the specified time.

Let us know in the comments field what you use GNOME Schedule for. Thanks.