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KDE Plasma basics


KDE is an international technology team that creates free and open source software for desktop and portable computing. Plasma, made by KDE is the default graphical desktop environment of openSUSE. The latest version, Plasma 5, is a fresh, elegant and powerful desktop for both beginner and advanced users.

KDE software is not limited to a desktop environment. The software made by the community includes:

  • Plasma, the graphical desktop.
  • KDE Applications, a collection of a wide variety of applications for communication, work, education and entertainment, including famous programs like Kate.
  • Additional high-quality applications, such as DigiKam and Krita.
  • KDE Frameworks, a series of modules to easily build new applications upon.

What makes KDE software on openSUSE special: * It has a team of dedicated engineers who spend much of their time fixing bugs so you can rely on KDE. * It has a large, active and highly experienced community team around it who bring multiple points of view and different interests to the project so that KDE software on openSUSE meets many users' needs. * Through its innovation it stimulates the openSUSE distribution to develop, evolve and progress.

X11, XWayland & Wayland sessions⚓︎

Settings & Keybindings⚓︎

KDE settings can be customized through the System Settings application found in Application Launcher --> Settings --> System Settings. A convenient shortcut for System Settings can be found on the system panel as well. KDE is extremely customizable,to find more specific help visit the Plasma Wiki

Keybindings or keyboard shortcuts are an efficient way to interact with KDE without having to use the mouse.

In System Settings click Shortcuts under the "Workspace" category. You will be able to find any pre-existing shortcuts for many KDE applications as well as create your own shortcuts for any applications you install yourself. The Custom Shortcuts menu allows you to create shortcuts for almost any system task.

The Shortcuts window has three main areas.

  • The shortcut categories, Shortcuts and Custom Shortcuts.
  • List of applications or custom shortcuts.
  • Shortcut editing area.

Shortcut Settings

Many KDE applications are already in the list. If you want to add additional applications simply click Add Application and make a selection from the list. Click OK to confirm the selection.

Choose Application

Once this step is done, the new application will be displayed in the Applications column.

Changing Keyboard Shortcuts⚓︎

Select the application you want to change the shortcut for from the Applications column. The list of shortcut actions will be displayed in the editing area on the right. Click on any shortcut action to expand its settings (if there is only one shortcut available it will be automatically expanded).
Shortcut actions can have default and custom keyboard shortcuts. You can disable the default by un-marking the box next to it or leave it active alongside any custom shortcuts you choose.

Click Add custom shortcut, the button will change to indicate it is waiting for the next key combination, whatever keys are pressed next will be recorded as the custom shortcut. Click the "cancel" button, which has now appeared, if you change your mind. When a custom shortcut is recorded, you have the option to delete it by clicking the "trash" icon or additional custom shortcuts can be added.

Modify Shortcuts

Once you are satisfied with the changes, click Apply in the bottom right corner of the shortcuts window.

Adding Custom Shortcuts⚓︎

Select the Custom Shortcuts category from the left hand column of the Shortcuts settings window. Custom shortcuts allow you to trigger your own events from simple to complex that would not normally be available. For demonstration purposes we are going to setup a keyboard shortcut for a program called Rofi. You may not want to use this program yourself but the process is the same for other programs.

First we will add a new Custom Shortcut by clicking Edit --> New --> Global Shortcut --> Command/URL. A new entry will be added to the list in the middle column.

New Custom Shortcut

The entry will be highlighted and its name selected so you can rename it immediately just by typing. If you want to change the name later on, simply double-click the name in the list and start typing.

Rename Custom Shortcut

Using a name that is descriptive will help us remember what this custom shortcut does. In this case, the program Rofi will display a list of open applications and switch between their windows with the keyboard.

Now add the command that will be run when the keyboard shortcut is pressed. When an action is selected from the middle column, the right hand area will change to the editing view. You will see tabs near the top for Comment, Trigger, and Action. Click the Action tab and add the command to the text box labeled "Command/URL".

Add Custom Command

Next click the Trigger tab. This is where the keyboard shortcut that triggers the command will be set. Click the button labeled "Shortcut" which will display the current keyboard shortcut if there is one. The button changes color and waits for you to type the desired shortcut.

Add Trigger

If this keyboard shortcut is already used, a warning will be displayed. Click "Cancel" to try a different shortcut or click "Reassign" if you wish to use it anyway. For this demonstration, "Reassign" is selected. Click Apply at the bottom right of the window.

Now the custom keyboard shortcut runs the command system wide, no matter what applications are open.

Demonstrate Custom Shortcut

Using panes, bars, widgets & docks⚓︎

Learning more⚓︎

Last update: 2022-05-25