KDE is a powerful graphical desktop environment for UNIX® workstations. A KDE desktop combines ease of use, contemporary functionality and outstanding graphical design with the technological superiority of the UNIX® operating system.

KDE The Desktop Environment Edit

In combination with a free implementation of UNIX®, KDE provides to the world an open and completely free desktop computing platform either at home or at work.

This platform is available to anyone free of charge including its source code for anyone to modify.

While there will always be room for improvement we believe we have now delivered a viable alternative to some of the more commonly found and commercial operating systems/desktops combinations available today. It is our hope that the combination of UNIX® and KDE will finally bring the same open, reliable, stable, and monopoly free computing to the average computer user that scientists and computing professionals world-wide have enjoyed for years.

KDE The Application Development Framework Edit

KDE focuses on the user's needs, but it's obvious that this focus is more easily achieved by also giving developers the best tools. KDE code contains, and comes with, some of the best development technologies of the modern computing age. Authoring applications under UNIX®/X11 used to be an extremely tedious and labor intensive process. KDE recognizes the fact that a computing platform is only as good as the number of first class applications available to the users of that particular platform. KDE defines new technologies in DCOP and KParts, created to offer a component document model and technology. Together with the complete KDE libraries programming interface, DCOP/KParts are set in direct competition with other similar technologies like Microsoft® MFC/COM/ActiveX technologies. The excellent quality and the high level of refinement of KDE's application programming interface (API) enables developers to focus on original and interesting issues and avoid reinventing the wheel.

KDE The Office Application Suite Edit

In its current form, KDE provides, apart from the essential desktop component applications, a suite of powerful office programs known to the world by the name KOffice. is based on the KDE DCOP/KParts technologies. It currently contains: a word processor with desktop publishing capabilities (KWord), a spreadsheet application (KSpread) and accompanying charting program (KChart), a presentation program (KPresenter) and a vector drawing program (Kontour). Tying things together is the KOffice Workspace, an integrated shell to ease the use of the KOffice components in conjunction with each other. Additional components include an email client, a news reader, and a powerful PIM (Personal Information Manager - an organizer). While some of those components are still in alpha development, others are already extremely powerful. For example, KPresenter, KDE's presentation application, was successfully used at the 5th International Linux® Congress in Cologne, Germany to deliver a KDE presentation.

The Desktop Edit

The Basics Edit

The “desktop” is just the name for the layout of the screen when you start KDE. Most of the screen is taken up by the background. Usually, there is a picture making up the background. This picture is usually referred to as the “wallpaper,” and you can change it to make KDE suit your taste. In the top left-hand corner are two icons: Trash and Home. Clicking on these will open your Trash folder and Home folder, respectively. You can add more icons to the desktop so that you can open your favourite programs, or access removable media, with just one click. At the bottom is the KDE Panel, also known as “Kicker”. The Panel contains several useful ways of interacting with KDE. It houses the K menu, from where you can open any KDE application installed on your computer, it shows all the programs that are currently running, as well as the time, and more.

Logging In and Logging Out Edit

If you see a screen a little bit like the one below when you start up your computer, then you are all set for logging in graphically. Just enter your user name in the Login text box and your password in the Password text box. Your password will not be shown as you type it; it will probably be shown as asterisks. When you have entered that information, click on the Login button, and KDE will start up. The KDE splash screen will appear, and keep you informed about the progress of KDE start-up, and when it is done, KDE will be ready to use.

Logging in via the Command Line Edit

If you prefer using the command line, you can log in to KDE with the startx command. Add the line exec startkde to the .xinitrc file in your home folder (create it if it does not exist), save the file, and then run startx. KDE should start in the same way as if you had logged in graphically.

Logging Out Edit

Once you have finished using KDE for the moment, you will want to log out until next time. The easiest way to do this is to click on the K menu at the bottom left of your screen, and then select the Log Out... item. A dialog with the text End session for username will appear. To confirm that you want to log out, click on the End Current Session button. If you change your mind, and decide to carry on using KDE for now, hit Cancel. The kdm Handbook has information about using and setting up the KDE graphical login manager. You can read it in KHelpCenter or by entering help:/kdm in Konqueror's Location bar.

Getting Help Edit

User Manuals Edit

Most applications come with a comprehensive user manual, which you can reach various ways:

  • By pressing F1 inside the application.
  • From the menu bar: Help->Application name
  • By browsing to it in KHelpCenter
  • By using the help KIOslave in Konqueror. So, in the Location Toolbar, simply type help:/Application name
  • Online at

Context and “What's This” Help Edit

Many applications also provide context help in two forms: Tooltips, and “What's This” help.

Tool tips Edit

Tooltips are small informational windows or balloons that display when you hover the mouse over an item on your screen without clicking. KDE uses tooltips in many places to provide brief help or information about an item on your screen. For instance, most toolbar buttons inside applications will display their name in a tooltip if you rest or hover your mouse over them. Tooltips have another function, which is not specifically tied to help. In the Konqueror file manager and on your Desktop, tooltips can provide information about files. This is commonly referred to as “meta information”. You can find out more about meta-information tooltips in the section about the Konqueror file manager.

What's This Edit

“What's This?” help is usually more detailed than tooltips. You can access “What's This?” help in two ways: By pressing the ? button in the titlebar of the window. By pressing the key combination Shift-F1 The cursor will change to a pointer with a question mark next to it. Click on the item you want to know about, and a small window will pop up displaying information.

Mailing Lists, Newsgroups and IRC Edit

Mailing Lists Edit

KDE provides many mailing lists which can provide you with help and guidance in using and configuring your Desktop. Some of the lists you might find useful are:

  • The KDE User List

This mailing list focuses specifically on OS-independent questions and discussions regarding using KDE. Operating-system-specific questions and discussion are off-topic here. For example, the question “How do I change the margin size for KWord documents” is appropriate for this list; whereas “How do I set up my printer using KDE under UnixOS X.Y” is not. Questions asked and discussions here should apply to all KDE users using the applicable KDE software, not just those using the same operating system. You can subscribe to this list at You can find archives at

  • The KDE-Linux® List

This mailing list focusses specifically on questions and discussions regarding using KDE on Linux®. Questions and discussions can involve any issue confronting desktop users who run KDE on a Linux® system. Hence, questions such as “How do I setup a networked printer for printing from KDE on LinuxDistro X.Y” are appropriate here. If you prefer a list limited to OS-independent questions and discussions concerning KDE, please use the general KDE mailing list. You can subscribe to this list at You can find archives at

IRC Edit

There is a #kde channel on Freenode ( for support and other general talk about KDE. As usual, you can access this channel by using any of KDE's popular IRC clients which include konversation, KSirc, as well as Kopete. For more information, check the the section called “IRC” section.

More Resources Edit

There are many other resources which you may found useful; some of these are listed below:


This website has a searchable KDE news resource where you can find out about a superfluity of innovations in the world of KDE.


The paramount resource for KDE icandy, including themes, window decorations, wallpapers, mouse themes and icons for your KDE desktop. Note also that the site contains a howto section on how to install the most common of these.


The official KDE Wiki. From here you can have access to a plethora of information ranging from frequently asked questions and HOWTOs to tips and tricks. The wiki should never, however, be used as a substitute for the respective application's handbook or the official KDE documentation.

Windows, How To Work Them Edit

Basic Window Management Edit

Each application running in KDE has its own window, and some applications may use more than one window. You can manipulate these windows in many ways to make your desktop work for you.

Switching Between Windows Edit

If you want to use a window, it must be active. A window automatically becomes active when you open it, so that the application you opened is immediately ready to use. Only one window can be active at a time. The active window is the one into which you can type, and can be distinguished from the others because it has a different colored titlebar. (With the KDE default theme, the active window has a light blue titlebar, and the inactive windows have gray titlebars.)

  • When you want to work in a different window, you need to make it active. There are two ways to do this:

left mouse button-click on the window that you want to make active. The window will become active and will be raised above other windows if it overlaps them.

  • Hold down Alt and press Tab (do not release the Alt key). A popup dialog appears with a list of available windows, one of which is highlighted. You can select a different window by pressing Tab again to move through the list, all the time holding down Alt. When you release the Alt key, the window which was highlighted is made active.

Moving Windows Edit

The first way to organize the windows on your desktop is to move them around. You can move windows so that they overlap other windows, or so that you can see the whole window. There are three ways to move a window:

  1. Click the left mouse button on the window titlebar and hold it down. Move the mouse cursor and the window moves with it. Release the mouse button, and the window remains where you left it.
  2. Open the window menu using the leftmost button on the window titlebar (as displayed below), and select Move. The mouse cursor moves to the center of the current window and by moving the mouse around, you can move the window. Once you have moved the window to the position you want, click the left mouse button to release it.
  3. Hold down Alt and the left mouse button when the mouse cursor is above the window you want to move. The mouse cursor changes to a compass, and by moving the mouse, you can move the window. Just release the mouse button to release the window. This method is particularly useful if the window titlebar has been moved off the screen, so you cannot use the other methods.

Resizing Windows Edit

You can make windows bigger or smaller, wider, or taller in one of two ways. Just use whichever you are most comfortable with:

  1. Move the mouse cursor over the border of the window (it is light blue in the screenshot above). The pointer will turn into a double-headed arrow. Click and drag, and the edge of the window follows the mouse cursor, making the window bigger or smaller. If you click on the borders on the top or bottom of the window, you can adjust the height on its own. If you click on the borders on the left or right of the window, you can adjust the width. To change both at the same time, move the mouse cursor over the corner of the window. When the pointer becomes a diagonal double-headed arrow, click and drag.
  2. Use the leftmost button on the window titlebar to display the window menu. Choose the Resize entry, and the mouse pointer will become a double-headed arrow. Move the mouse cursor around to resize, and click the left mouse button when you are done to release the window.
  3. If you cannot see the window border or the button for the window menu, you can use Alt and the right mouse button: Hold down Alt and drag with the right mouse button. The window will resize. You just release the right mouse button when you are done.

If you just want to make a window as big as possible, so it takes up the whole screen, use the Maximize button, which is the second button from the right on the window titlebar. Clicking with the left mouse button on this button will make the window as big as possible in both directions; while clicking with the middle mouse button or the right mouse button will increase the window's size in only the vertical or horizontal direction, respectively.

Hiding Windows Edit

When you need to keep a program open, but you do not want it to take up space on your desktop, you can minimize it or shade it. To minimize a window, click the Minimize button, which is third from the right on the window titlebar. The window will not be displayed, but the program is still running, and an entry for it appears in the taskbar on the panel. To display the window again, click on its entry in the taskbar. You can also use Alt+Tab. Shading windows is very similar to minimizing them, but this time, only the titlebar of the window is shown. To shade a window, double-click on the titlebar. To restore the window, just double-click on the titlebar again.

Cascading Windows Edit

Sometimes you might have a whole lot of windows open and all over the place. By selecting to cascade windows KDE will automatically line them up as a succession from the top-left of your screen. To use this option use your middle mouse button on the desktop, and then select Cascade Windows.

Uncluttering Windows Edit

By selecting to unclutter your opened windows KDE will attempt to use the maximum available space of the desktop in order to display as much of each window as possible. For example, should you have four windows open and you request that they be uncluttered, they will each be placed in a corner of the desktop, regardless of where they were originally. To use this option once again use your middle mouse button on the desktop and then select Unclutter Windows.

Closing Windows Edit

When you finish using an application, you will want to stop the application and close its window. Once again, you have the choice of a few options:

  • Click on the rightmost button on the window titlebar. If you are editing a document with that application, you will be asked whether you want to Save your changes, Discard them, or Cancel your command to close the application.
  • Use the File->Quit option on the menubar. You will be presented with the same choice of Save, Discard, or Cancel.
  • Right-click on the respective window in Kicker, the KDE panel, and then select Close. You will be prompted with an option to save any documents that were being edited.
  • Press Alt+F4 . Once again, the confirmation dialog will be shown if you were editing any documents.

Advanced Window Management Edit

kstart Edit

The simplest way to access the advanced window management facilities in KDE is to use a little known utility called kstart, which is included in KDE since version 2.1 kstart lets you control the way an application interacts with the window manager. The command is usually used to define special behavior for commonly-used applications, but it can also be useful for integrating non-KDE applications into your desktop. Using kstart is easy: you simply put kstart and some options before a command. To begin, let's look at how we might use kstart to customize the behaviour of a KCalc window. The command we'll use is as follows:

% kstart --ontop --alldesktops kcalc

With luck, the effect this command has should be fairly obvious - the kcalc window will stay on top of all the others and be visible on every virtual desktop. A feature that is less obvious is that this command will work with any NET compliant environment, not just KDE. We can pass arguments to programs we invoke with kstart as normal, for example:

% kstart
--skiptaskbar --desktop
1 xmessage'Hello World'

This command displays Hello World with xmessage and ensures that the window will be shown on the first virtual desktop and will be omitted from the taskbar. The fact that this program is written using the Xt toolkit rather than being a native KDE application does not cause any problem for kstart, hopefully this illustrates how kstart can be used to integrate foreign applications into your KDE desktop.

Other Special Window Settings Edit

While you can use kstart to assign particular window settings, KDE also allows you to alter these -- as well as other similar settings -- from the program window itself. Simply select the leftmost button in the window titlebar (or just hit Alt+F3 once the window is focued), and then go to Advanced->Special Window Settings.... As you can see, from here you change various things from its geometry upon startup, to whether it should have a border or not.

The System Tray Edit

Now that we know how to customize the decoration of a window let's take a look at another aspect of the desktop: the system tray. The system tray is an area in which an application can display a small window. It is used to display status information or provide quick access to commands. A window that has an item in the system tray usually disappears from the task manager when minimised with the tray icon providing a replacement. Normally tray icons are specifically developed as part of an application, but as with window decorations, KDE provides a tool for changing this: ksystraycmd. To begin with, we'll take the standard application KCalc and turn it into a system tray application. This is acheived with one simple command:

% ksystraycmd --title 'kcalc' kcalc

The icon shown in the tray is the one specified in the window hints and will be updated if the icon changes. The window title is shown as a tooltip if you hold the mouse over the icon. ksystraycmd follows standard KDE behaviour so the target window can be shown and hidden by clicking the tray icon, and a standard context menu is available.

More Complex Uses of ksystraycmd Edit

To illustrate the other features of ksystraycmd, we'll use a more complicated example: a Konsole window tracking the .xsession-errors file (this is the log file that records what's happening on your desktop). To begin with, we'll simply look at how we can view this:

% konsole --icon
log --caption 'X Log' \ 
--nomenubar --notabbar
--noframe \ 
-e tail -f ~/.xsession-errors

The --caption and --icon arguments are provided as standard by KDE applications. You can get a full list of these global options by running an application with the --help-kde and --help-qt parameters. Here we give our Konsole window the title 'X Log' and the icon “log”. You can use these options with any KDE application and as mentioned above, ksystraycmd takes account of these when creating the tray icon. The -e argument is specific to Konsole and tells it to run the less command. Despite its complexity, we can easily move this window into the tray with ksystraycmd:

% ksystraycmd
--hidden --title 'X Log' \
konsole --icon log --caption 'XLog' \ 
--nomenubar --notabbar --noframe \ 
-e tail -f .xsession-errors

In addition to being the most complex command we've used, this example demonstrates the --hidden option which starts the command with only the system tray icon visible. This example achieves our aim of providing quick access to the log file, but we can do things a little more efficiently if we only run the konsole process when it is visible. The command we use is

% ksystraycmd --startonshow \
 --icon log --tooltip 'X Log' \ 
konsole --icon log --caption 'X Log' \
--nomenubar --notabbar --noframe \
-e tail -f ~/.xsession-errors

The addition of the --startonshow parameter tells ksystraycmd to start with only the tray icon visible (like the --hidden parameter), and to wait until the user activates the tray icon before running the target command. We've also used the --quitonhide parameter which tells ksystraycmd to terminate the target app whenever its window is hidden. Using both these parameters ensures that our Konsole tray icon doesn't waste resources when we aren't using it. Creating and destroying the target window as we do here prevents the standard icon and title handling of ksystraycmd from working, so we now need to specify the initial icon and tooltip explicitly too.

Improving Reliability Edit

In all of our previous examples we've relied on kstart and ksystraycmd to figure out which window we want to affect, and unless we say otherwise, they assume that the first window to appear is the one we want. This policy is usually OK because we are starting the application at the same time, but it can fail badly when lots of windows are appearing (such as when you log on). To make our commands more robust we can use the --window parameter. This specifies the title of the target window. The following example uses the --window parameter to ensure that a particular konsole window is affected:

% kstart --iconify --window 'kstart_me' konsole
--caption 'kstart_me' -e tail -f

Here we've used the tried and tested technique of specifying a title for both kstart and the target application. This is generally the best way to use kstart and ksystraycmd. The --window argument is supported by both kstart and ksystraycmd and can be regular expression (e.g. “window[0-9]”) as well as a particular title. (Regular expressions are a powerful pattern matching tool you'll find used throughout KDE.)

Using Multiple Desktops Edit

Sometimes, one screen's worth is just not enough space. If you use many applications at the same time, and find yourself drowning in different windows, virtual desktops offer the solution. By default, KDE has four virtual desktops, each one of which is like a separate screen: you can open windows, move windows around, and set backgrounds and icons on each of the desktops. If you are familiar with the concept of virtual terminals, you will have no trouble with KDE's virtual desktops.

Switching Virtual Desktops Edit

To move to a different virtual desktop, you can use Ctrl+Tab in the same way as you would use Alt+Tab to switch between windows Hold down Ctrl and then press Tab. A small popup window appears, showing the virtual desktops, with one highlighted. If you release Ctrl, KDE will switch to the highlighted virtual desktop. To select a different desktop, press Tab repeatedly, while holding down Ctrl. The selection moves through the available desktops. When the desktop you want to switch to is highlighted, release Ctrl.

Windows and Virtual Desktops Edit

You can move windows around your virtual desktops with the To Desktop item in the window menu: just select the desktop to which you want to move the window. You can make the window appear on all desktops with the All Desktops item.

The File Manager Edit

KDE includes a versatile and powerful file manager called Konqueror which allows you to do everything you want with the files stored on your computer, your network, and even the Internet. There are too many features of Konqueror to describe here, so we will just take an overview. If you want more details about what Konqueror can do, take a look at the Konqueror Handbook by selecting Help->Konqueror Handbook in the Konqueror menus; or, alternatively, you can use the help KIOslave in Konqueror by entering help:/konqueror in the Location Toolbar.

Folders Edit

When you first open Konqueror in file management mode, you can see two panes: on the right is the folder view; on the left is the sidebar. The folder view contains icons for each item inside the current folder. These items can be folders or files. Many file types can be “previewed” without opening a new application to edit them in. To preview a file, hold the mouse cursor over the name of the file for about a second: a popup window will appear, showing the contents of the file and other some useful information, like file's size and which user owns the file. You can open any item by clicking (just once – KDE does not use double-clicking in its default settings) on the icon for the file. Folders will be opened in the same window; files will either be opened in the appropriate program, or the file manager will ask you what program to use. For instance, if do not have a word-processor set up to open Microsoft® Word documents, the file manager will ask you what to do. You can go back to the last-opened folder by clicking on the Back button or go up one folder by clicking the Up button.

The Navigation Panel (aka “The Sidebar”) Edit

Navigating through the folders by using the folder view can become impractical. The sidebar provides shortcuts and special functions that make it easier to find what you are searching for. On the left edge of the sidebar you will find a number of buttons, each with a different icon:

  • Bookmarks

As Konqueror (the file manager) also serves as a very powerful web browser, it also has a bookmark functionality. Here you will find the same structure as in your Bookmarks menu. Devices Next the sidebar provides a list of all known devices on your computer. These devices can be either physical drives — such as your hard disk, CD-ROM drive, or floppy disk drive — or virtual “drives” — such as remote shares or hard disk partitions.

  • History

Konqueror will remember the web pages you have visited and list them either by date or alphabetically in a tree structure. You can select the behavior by right clicking on the History item and selecting Sort by. Left click on an item (e.g. and Konqueror will show you the documents you have visited. Left clicking on a document (e.g. index.html) will open the web site in the folder view. Right clicking on a history item, like>index.html, opens a slightly different popup menu: you will also find the item New Window, which makes Konqueror open the site in a new window.

  • Home Directory

The Home Directory item is in the sidebar's navigation panel. You will find your home directory as the first entry. Below you will find all folders of your home directory. Left clicking on any folder in this view opens the folder in the folder view. Alternatively, you can also work with the folders' context menus, create subfolders, and so on. Sidebar Media Player Try dragging a music file (like MP3, Ogg, or .wav files) on the sidebar. The file will immediately be played.

  • Newsticker

Newsticker will display a customisable list of news sources. Right-click either on the Configure button or on one of the newssource buttons (e.g. KDE News, which is usually predefined) to add a new newsticker source.

  • Network

Here you can browse the services provided by other computers on the network. The Lisa-Daemon has to be started in order to work correctly. The network browser allows you to see a variety of services provided by a computer. You can easily browse SMB shares, HTTP sites, or transfer files via the secure FISH layer.

  • Root Directory

Everything on a UNIX®-based system is organized in a file system tree. This tree must have a root and here it is. The Root Directory function is like the Home Directory function. The only difference is that every folder is being displayed, not only your home directory.

  • Services

This is somehow the "rest". Try browsing through the different items. If an Audio CD is in your CD or DVD drive you will be able to find everything on it and even more in the Audio CD Browser item (you can even compress audio files and save them on your hard drive with this function).

Icons Edit

To select only one icon hold down the Ctrl key and click on the icon you want to select. If you want to select more than one icon, hold down Ctrl while you click on each of the items you want to select. Once one or more icons are selected you can do what you want with them. If you want to move or copy items, select them and then drag them (with the left mouse button down) to the desired location. When you release the mouse button a menu will come up offering you to Move, Copy, or Link the selected items. You can also Cancel your action. Many other actions can be applied to the selected items by right-clicking on one of the selected items, and choosing the action from the menu which appears. (The exact contents of this menu depend on the type of files selected, so it is called a “context menu”).

Links and Shortcuts Edit

As already mentioned above you can link files or folders anywhere. It means that the linked folder will appear and behave just like the original in another location without consuming additional space on your harddrive. So if you, for example, have a number of documents, and only a few are used regularly, you can easily group them in a folder and create links in it.

The Trash Edit

Before a file is deleted in the KDE file manager it will be moved to the Trash folder to give you the possibility of getting it back if you deleted it by accident. The trash bin will show all deleted items. You can select the one to be recovered and move it to its original place as described in the section called “Icons”. If you right click on the trash bin and select Empty trash bin the files in it will be deleted permanently. As mentioned in the introduction, the Konqueror Handbook has much more information about the features available in Konqueror. You can read it in KHelpCenter or by entering help:/konqueror in Konqueror's Location bar.

The Panel and the Desktop Edit

Kicker, the KDE Panel Edit

Kicker is the application launcher panel of the K Desktop Environment. By default, it appears along the bottom of the screen, and takes up the whole of the width of the screen, but this is configurable. Kicker is something of a one-stop shop for (almost!) everything that you might want quick access to. Besides the K icon Menu, where you can start applications, Kicker is also capable of running docked applets like the pager, the taskbar or the clock, and extensions, such as child panels. With all these options, you will probably want to configure Kicker so that it works best for you. The next section describes some common ways to customize the panel.

Configuring Kicker Edit

Customizing the icons on the panel Edit

When you first start KDE, kicker displays some icons next to the K menu. These can be used to start the applications that they represent. To see which application is launched by each icon, hold the mouse cursor over the icon until a tooltip (a small popup label) appears telling you the name of the application. These default icons might not represent the applications you use most often, so you can remove the ones you do not want and add icons for other applications that you use. To remove an icon, right mouse button-click on the icon, and select Remove application name Button in the popup menu that appears. To add a new icon, right mouse button-click on an empty space on the panel, and follow the menu entry Add Application to Panel . This leads you to a copy of the K menu, where you can find all of the KDE applications. For example, to add an icon for the JuK music player, follow through the menus to Add Application to Panel->Multimedia->JuK (Music Player). The icon will appear on the panel in the space that you right-clicked on.

Adding extras and applets Edit

Kicker can add many types of items as well as application launch icons. You can find these items using the same menu as before, but this time selecting Add Applet to Panel... or Add New Panel. The items in the Add Applet window are small programs that can reside on the panel. An example of an applet is the Desktop Preview & Pager, which shows a small image of each of your virtual desktops. (For more information about virtual desktops, see the section called “Using Multiple Desktops”). You can switch to a different virtual desktop by clicking on its image in the desktop pager. You can find information about the other applets available for Kicker in the Kicker manual. Just enter help:/kicker in the Location bar in Konqueror.

The System Tray Edit

The system tray is where programs that are run, but not directly needed are kept. Some programs (like music players) are shown there, because you probably want to keep them open, but so that it does not take too much space on your screen, it will put an icon in the system tray. When you right click on such an icon, a popup menu will appear where you can see some options of the program (like play, pause, stop, ... in a music player). When you left click on it, the main window of the program will appear. If you hover your mouse above the icon, a tool tip will appear with some information (in the music player case information like the current song). Programs that normally support system tray icons are music players, IRC clients, organizers, ... In most of these programs you can configure if you want an icon to be shown or not.

Removing Panel Items Edit

You can remove applets and other special items from the panel using the arrow on its handle on the applet's left. Right click on the arrow, and choose Remove applet name.

The Taskbar Edit

The taskbar is an item on the panel which displays an entry for each window that you have opened. You can use the taskbar to switch between windows by clicking on the entry of the window you want to activate. The taskbar has entries for windows on each virtual desktop, including windows which have been minimized.

Using the Clipboard Edit

Very often, it's useful to move some text, or an object in a program, from one place to another. It's also very common to need to duplicate some text, for example, if you're typing the same thing several times. The system used for doing this is known as the clipboard. There are two slightly different ways to use this system, known technically as the “selection” and the “clipboard”. We'll look at them separately:

The Selection Edit

This method uses the mouse to copy text from one place to another. The method is:

  1. Select the text you want to copy.
  2. Click the middle mouse button at the place you want the text to be copied to. This can be in the same program as you copied the text from, or in another program entirely.

If you have three buttons on your mouse, this is easy, but if not, all is not lost! If you have only two buttons, try clicking them both at the same time instead of the middle mouse button.

The Clipboard Edit

With this method, you can copy text, or “cut” it (that is, remove it from one place and move it to another). You can use either the mouse and the menu entries, or the keyboard with this method. I'll list both ways, with the menu entry to use, followed by the keyboard shortcut which will do the same thing, like this: Edit->Cut (Ctrl+X) Moving (“Cutting”) Text

  1. Select the text you want to cut.
  2. From the menu, select Edit->Cut (Ctrl+X), and the text will be removed from its current location.
  3. Position the text cursor at the point you want to insert the text. This can be in the same application you got the text from, or another application entirely. Select Edit->Paste (Ctrl+V), and the text will appear at the point where you placed the cursor.

Copying text from one place to another is very similar: Copying Text

  1. Select the text you want to copy.
  2. From the menu, select Edit->Copy (Ctrl+C), and the text will be copied in the clipboard.
  3. Position the text cursor at the point you want to insert the text. This can be in the same application you got the text from, or another application entirely. Select Edit->Paste (Ctrl+V)

More Advanced Clipboard Use Edit

The instructions above describe the default clipboard behavior. The Klipper application, which you can add as an applet in the panel (see the section called “Configuring Kicker” for instructions on how to do this), provides some useful clipboard-related features, like a clipboard history, and the ability to change the behavior of the clipboard and selection. Take a look at the Klipper Handbook for more information. You can find more information about Kicker, the KDE Panel, in KHelpCenter or by entering help:/kicker in Konqueror's Location bar. The Klipper Handbook has information about the advanced clipboard management features in KDE. You can read it in KHelpCenter or by entering help:/klipper in Konqueror's Location bar.

Related Information Edit

Though some information has been presented here, there is a lot more information on Kicker tips, options, tricks and hacks, in the Kicker handbook. You can access it via the KHelpCenter or by simply entering help:/kicker in the Konqueror Location toolbar.

Programs and Documents Edit

Launching Programs Edit

KDE offers a varying number of ways to launch programs. You may: Simply select the relevant item in the K menu. Run the program from Konsole, or by clicking the K menu and choosing Run Command... (while you still might prefer the quick keyboard shortcut, which is simply Alt+F2). Create a shortcut on the desktop or use Kicker's quick launcher. The K menu functions much like the Start menu of Windows®, however it breaks programs up by what they do. Programs on the K menu are broken into category menus, such as Multimedia and Office. Under these category menus there are subcategory menus, such as Sound, Video and Graphics. Under the subcategory menus lie program launchers, which, when clicked on, launch the associated application. Depending on the program, there may not be a launcher in the K menu. To search your hard drive for more applications, click the K menu, choose Run Command and type kappfinder. In Kappfinder, click Scan, and the hard drive will be searched for programs. Click the checkbox next to each program to be added to the K menu, and click Apply and Close. The K menu now will have new program launchers under the relevant category menus. Launchers to programs may also be placed on the desktop. To create a new launcher, right click on the desktop, and choose Create New->Link to Application. On the KDesktop properties dialog box, type in the name of the program on the General tab. You may also wish to choose a custom icon by clicking on the gear icon. Click the Application tab and type a short sentence about the program in the Description textbox. In the Command textbox, type the name of the program (case sensitive), and any command line options you wish to use. Choose OK, and your new program launcher will be created on your desktop. Simply click on the new launcher on the desktop and the associated program will run. To launch a program using Konsole, click the K menu and choose System->Terminals ->Konsole. Once Konsole appears on the screen, simply type the name of the program you wish to launch (remembering that bash, the command language interpreter that Konsole uses by default, is case-sensitive) and press Enter. If you are unsure about the name of a program, type the first few letters then press the Tab key on your keyboard. By pressing Tab, bash (through Konsole) will try to guess the name of the program you wish to launch. If it finds more then one matching program, a list of matching programs will be printed on the screen. Type the name of the program from the list and press Enter to launch. Whichever way you choose, launching a program is a simple affair with KDE. From the K menu, to Konsole, all your programs are just a few clicks or key-presses away. Check the Kicker handbook for more information on enabling or disabling the K menu, adding applications to the quick launch, or on organizing the categorization of the applications in the K menu. You can view the Kicker handbook either via the KHelpCenter or by using Konqueror's KIOslave by typing help:/kicker in the Location toolbar.

Controlling Programs Edit

bleh theres no documentation for this yet

Opening and Saving Files Edit

KDE provides a unified way to open or save files via the file dialog. In almost every KDE program you will find a File->Open and File->Save (and/or Save As...) entry.

The File Dialog Edit

This dialog consists of between three and five areas. The top area is where you find the navigation and configuration functions. The main area (in the middle) is where all your files are being displayed as icons. This is called an icon view. The bottom area is where you can edit filename or filter expressions and say Save or Open. In addition to that you can add two even more sophisticated areas: the Quick Access Navigation Panel and the Preview Panel.

  1. Next to the three navigation buttons (one directory up, back and forward) and the new folder button there is the bookmarks menu. Here you can mark any folder you visit often to find it quickly. The wrench icon holds the different functions to sort your files by name, date or size and to enable the two extra panels mentioned above. Next to it you can type the directory and choose (on the very right side) the encoding.
  2. You'll find the icon view in the middle of the dialog. You will find most of the navigation functions in the context menu by clicking on the items or the background with the right mouse button.
  3. The bottom of the dialog consists of the address field holding the file name you chose or typed in and the maybe most powerful tool: The filter. Here you can make the icon view display only items that match the criteria you define. Try filtering files whose names contain “air” by typing *air* into the filter field.
  4. The Quick Access Panel (activate it by typing the F9 key on your keyboard or through the wrench icon on top of the dialog) provides configurable shortcuts to frequently used locations on your hard drive or even on the Internet. There are several preconfigured locations such as your home directory. Try right clicking on any item to configure it or to empty space to add a new entry. You will be shown a context menu. Here you can choose the icon size and to add, modify or rename any entry. Choose Add Entry and you will see a window containing anything you need: Type your description, enter the location (or choose it via the dialog opening by clicking on the folder symbol), choose a symbol from a vast variety in the symbol dialog opening when you click on the predefined icon (usually a simple folder symbol).
  5. The Preview area (activate it by typing the F11 key on your keyboard or via the wrench icon on top of the dialog) makes it easy to preview almost any file on your filesystem. Images will be displayed as thumbnails. Usually also sound files (such as MP3, Ogg or Wave-Files), text files (among them raw text, PDF and HTML) and even video files (MPG, AVI and so on) will be previewed.

Note that large files might take a long time to be previewed (e.g. scaled down if they are large images). You can disable automatic previews by unselecting Automatic Preview below the preview. You can still preview individual files: just click Preview. You can also disable previews for files above a certain size. Go to KDE Control Center, choose KDE components+File manager, go to the Preview and Metafiles tab and change the Maximum Filesize value.

Configuring Programs Edit

Application Configuration Edit

KDE applications are intended to be as useful and usable as possible “out of the box”, but they also offer a wide range of options which you can change to make KDE work for you. As well as the settings which affect the whole of KDE (see Chapter 5, The KDE Control Center), each application has a set of configuration options, which you can access using the menu option Settings->Configure Application. This is the same for all KDE applications, which makes it easy to find the configuration dialog for an application. On the left of the configuration dialog is a list of sections. Clicking on one of these sections displays the configuration page for that section on the right-hand side of the dialog. You can change these options to fit your preferences. When you have made the changes you want, you can click on OK to save your changes and close the configuration dialog. If you want to see the effect of your changes, but not close the configuration dialog, click on the Apply button. This is useful if you aren't sure about the change you've made, and might want to change back, because the dialog is still open, ready for you to do so. If you decide that you don't want to keep the changes you've made, just click Cancel to close the dialog without saving your changes.

Configuring Keyboard Shortcuts Edit

Most KDE applications offer keyboard shortcuts for the main actions in the application. If you find that you don't like the default keyboard shortcuts, or that they conflict with the shortcuts of another application (maybe one that's not part of KDE), you can change them with the Settings->Configure Shortcuts... menu entry. This brings up the Configure Shortcuts dialog for the application. As an example of how to use this dialog, let's add a shortcut for the Send Link Address... action to Konqueror, so that we can email the locations of interesting pages to friends just by hitting a key (or two):

  1. Open the Configure Shortcuts dialog in Konqueror, as described above.
  2. Click on the Send Link Address... item in the main listbox (it's near the bottom, in the Konqueror section).
  3. In the Shortcut for Selected Action panel, select Custom, since we are going to give this action a keyboard shortcut that we have chosen.
  4. A small shortcut entry dialog pops up. Just hit Ctrl+E (or whatever you want to change the shortcut to), and the dialog disappears. The “key” icon in the Configure Shortcuts dialog now shows the new shortcut.
  5. If you made a mistake, or change your mind about what to use as the shortcut, just click on the key icon showing the current shortcut. The shortcut entry dialog reappears, and you can press the key combination for the shortcut you want.

Configuring Notifications Edit

bleh no documentation for this neither

Configuring Toolbars Edit

Nearly every KDE application has one or more toolbars at the top of the application window, underneath the menu. The toolbar contains icons (toolbar buttons) that represent commonly used actions and configuration settings. The KMail window, for instance, has a toolbar that contains buttons for New Message, Check Mail and several others. Each of these actions is something you do often, so that's why they have toolbar buttons as well as menu entries (New Message is under Message->New Message, Check Mail is File->Check Mail). Not everybody agrees on what actions are commonly used, though, (I never use the New Message toolbar button or the menu item, I use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+N). To ensure that your screen isn't cluttered with things you don't need, each toolbar can be customized. Additionally, you can usually customize which toolbars are displayed and how, as well.

Customizing Toolbar Displays Edit

The easiest thing to customize with the toolbars of any given application is whether they are displayed at all. Most applications have a Settings->Toolbars menu where you can select which toolbars are displayed and which are not. Konqueror has four toolbars, Main, Extra, Location and Bookmark. It can be convenient to turn off the Bookmark toolbar to save screen space. To do so, click on the Settings menu, choose Toolbars, and then uncheck the Bookmark Toolbar entry (do this just by clicking on the menu item). If there is no Settings menu, you can also right click on the toolbar itself, and choose the Toolbars sub-menu from the resulting context menu. The same Toolbar context menu, accessed by right clicking on the toolbar, allows you to customize other properties of the toolbar:

  • Its orientation, so that instead of appearing at the top of the window under the menu bar you can place it on the left, right or bottom of the window.
  • Its orientation, so that the toolbar “floats” as a separate window which you can move independently.
  • Its orientation, so that the toolbar is squashed into a little flat grip that you can re-open by double-clicking on it (this is subtly different from making the toolbar vanish completely, since it it easier to cause it to re-appear).
  • The appearance of text alongside, underneath, or instead of the icons on the toolbar.
  • The size of the icons (if they are not supplanted by text).
Customizing the Icons on the Toolbar Edit

The toolbar is intended for actions that you perform often, so what do you do if there is some useless icon there, like Cut? Or what if you really want a cut button on the toolbar, but the application doesn't give you one? This is where the customize toolbars dialog comes in — it give you complete control over the actions that are available on each toolbar. Choose Settings->Configure Toolbars from the application's menu, or Configure Toolbars from the context menu of the toolbar itself. This displays the configure toolbars dialog, which consists of a combobox with which you can select which toolbar to customize, and two lists of items — one of the available actions, and one of the actions that are already in use on the toolbar. Often there are many many more actions available ( activate tab #12, for instance) than you would ever want on the toolbar, or even that you know exist in the application. The customize toolbar dialog can be a learning experience. You can drag actions from one list box to the other, rearrange the items on the toolbar , or change the icon for a selected action. This allows you to drag the actions you don't want off of the toolbar and into the list of available actions; similarly, the actions you do want can be dragged into the toolbar. Clicking OK in the dialog immediately updates the toolbar with your new preferred actions. There are a few special items that can end up in the listbox for the current toolbar:

  • separators, which exist in two flavors:
    • line separator appears as a line between two action icons
    • separator appears as a larger space between two action icons
  • <Merge>, which is a special item that allows plugins and other loadable components of the application to insert their actions into the toolbar as well. It is generally not a good idea to remove this, since you cannot get it back.
  • ActionList:, these appear in various flavors (there is a viewmode_toolbar one in Konqueror) and again these represent lists of actions that might be inserted by plugins.

Whenever you click on an action in the list of current actions, a description of it is shown in the dialog. This description will warn you if it is a bad idea to remove the action. If you do not like to drag things around, there are four buttons in the middle of the dialog which allow you to move the selected action from one list to the other, and to move a selected current action up or down in the list. There must be a way to restore the default toolbars in an application, in order to recover from accidentally deleting an important action like <Merge>, but I don't know what it is.

KDE Components Edit

The KDE Control Center Edit

The KDE Control Center is the place to go to change any settings that affect the whole of your KDE environment. You can open it using the Control Center item in the K menu, or with its command-line name, kcontrol. The settings are divided into several major categories, which each contain several pages of settings. To display a settings page, expand the major category by clicking on the + button next to it, and then click on the name of the page you want. The settings page then appears on the right, and you can change settings to your heart's content. No changes take effect until you click on the Apply button. If you decide, after making some changes, that you want to leave the settings as they were, just click on Reset. If you need more help with a page, visit that page, then click on the Help tab. You might also want to look at the KDE Control Center Handbook, which you can open with the Help->KDE Control Center Handbook.

Appearance & Themes Edit

Here you will find settings that change the way your KDE desktop and applications look.

  • Background

This section controls the color or image that is set as your desktop background. These settings can be applied to all virtual workspaces, or to only a specific one. There are a range of background wallpapers that come with KDE or you can supply your own.

  • Colors

This is where you can modify the colors for your kde applications. There are a variety of color schemes installed with KDE by default, and you can find others at You can also create your own. Here you can also modify the contrast and choose whether you want your KDE colors to be applied to non-kde applications, for a more consistant overall appearance.

  • Fonts

Here you can control the various font settings for KDE applications. You can also modify here anti-aliasing settings, including what range of fonts to exclude from anti-aliasing settings.

  • Icons

This section is where you can manage your icon themes and other settings related to icons. New icon themes can be downloaded from, and installed here. Conversely, you can remove icon themes by highlighting them in the list and clicking remove. You can also set icon sizes for various uses in KDE and effects to apply to icons.

  • Launch Feedback

This is where you can modify what kind of cursor and/or taskbar feedback you'd like for launching applications. You can also set the duration of this feedback here. For example, the default setting is for a bouncing cursor with a duration of 30 seconds, or when the application has loaded.

  • Screen Saver

Here you can configure options about your screensaver. You can configure the timeout before it starts, and whether it requires a password to unlock the screen.

  • Splash Screen

This is where you can install, remove and test the splash screens that display on KDE startup. More splash screens can be downloaded from

  • Style

This section allows you to modify your widget style. A variety of styles come with KDE, and more can be downloaded from This is also where you would enable or disable interface options such as transparent menus, showing icons on buttons and tooltips. Some styles have more configuration options than others.

  • Theme Manager

This is where you can create and manage themes that are made up of personalized settings. They are a combination of desktop background, colors, KDE widget styles, icons, fonts and what Screensaver you'd like to display . This allows you to save your favorite “looks” and apply them with the click of a mouse button.

  • Window Decorations

Here you can configure your window decorations. You can modify the style as well as place the buttons in custom positions. Some window decorations will have more configuration options than others. If KDE Control Center doesn't have the setting you want, you may need to edit a configuration file manually. If you enjoy modifying the appearance of your KDE desktop, you can find plenty of themes and styles at

Desktop Edit

This is where you will find settings to configure the appearance and behavior of your KDE desktop.

  • Behavior

Here you can configure the behavior of your desktop. This is where you would go to configure options such as showing or hiding desktop icons, showing tooltips and icon layout. You can also specify if you would like to see previews of particular filetypes on the desktop, and which devices you'd like to see icons for.

  • Multiple Desktops

This is where you would configure the number of virtual desktops or workspaces you would like to have, and what you would like them to be called. By default KDE has 4 virtual desktops, and you can configure up to 20. You can also enable switching between virtual desktops using the scroll button on your mouse.

  • Panels

Here you can modify options to do with Kicker and other KDE panels. Among the options are size, position, length and hiding. You can also modify the appearance of the panel with transparency, background images and icon zooming. This is also where you would configure various menu options including what applications you'd like to show in your K menu.

  • Taskbar

The Taskbar module allows you to configure options related to your taskbar. You can configure whether to show windows from all desktops, grouping of similar tasks and what actions you would like to assign to your mouse buttons.

  • Window Behavior

This is where you would configure options related to the behavior of KDE's window manager, KWin. KWin is extremely configurable and has advanced features such as focus stealing prevention and different focus policies such as focus follows mouse. You can also configure what actions you would like to bind to certain keys and mouse events.

  • Window-Specific Settings

This is an advanced configuration dialog where you can set options for the behavior of specific windows. There are many options here for the fine tuning of your window layout, including what position on the screen you would like certain windows to open to, and whether they should be shown on the taskbar or pager. You can select windows by application, or even by their specific role within an application.

Internet & Network Edit

This section is where you would configure settings to do with internet and networking under KDE.

  • Connection Preferences

Here you can set advanced networking options such as timeout values for server connects. Usually you would leave these options at the defaults unless you really knew what you were doing.

  • Desktop Sharing

Desktop Sharing allows you to invite someone to share your session with you, or can enable you to log in remotely to your machine from another location. You would then use a VNC client like KDE's Remote Desktop Connection application to control your desktop over the network. This is extremely useful if you want someone to help you perform a task. Here you can create and manage invitations as well as set your security policy for uninvited connections. You can also configure whether to show a background image and which port for the service to 'listen' on.

  • File Sharing

File sharing allows you to configure Samba (Microsoft® Windows®) and NFS (UNIX®) file sharing. To make changes in this module you need to have the root or administrator password. This is where you would set up whether users are allowed to share files without knowing the root password, and which users are allowed to do so. You can also configure which folders you're like to be shared, using which type of sharing and who is allowed to view these shares.

  • Local Network Browsing

Here you can configure options related to browsing network shares in Konqueror. Konqueror is able to browse a variety of network shares and manipulate remote files as though they were on your local machine. You can configure it to remember your preferred username and password for connecting to Windows® shares (Samba). You can also set what types of network shares you would like to be able to browse, including FTP, NFS and SMB.

  • Local Network Chat

This module allows you to configure options relating to the UNIX® talk daemon. It is a very simple network chat program that runs in a terminal, designed for chatting over a local area network. Some of it's features are being able to set up an 'answering machine' that will email to you messages left for you, and being able to forward messages to another location.

  • Proxy

This is where you would configure KDE to connect to a proxy server rather than directly to the internet. Once again you would generally leave these options at their defaults unless you really knew what you were doing. If you do use a proxy server your network administrator will be able to tell you what details to fill in here.

  • Samba

The Samba Configuration module requires the root or administrator password. It is an advanced configuration tool that allows you to control Samba's security, shares, users and printers in an intuitive graphical interface. This is a very powerful tool with support for configuring everything from simple file and printer sharing, to using your Samba server as a Windows® NT Domain Controller.

  • Service Discovery

You can set up services browsing with ZeroConf. You can for example browse your local network using multicast DNS.

  • Web Browser

This module is where you would configure options relating to Konqueror as a web browser. The usual options you would expect from a web browser, such as cookie configuration, cache and history can be found here as well as sections to modify keyboard shortcuts, plugins and fonts.

  • Wireless Network

Here you can set up different profiles for your Wireless card, to be able to quickly switch settings if you connect to multiple networks. You can select a profile to be loaded on KDE startup.

KDE Components Edit

This section is where you can modify advanced KDE options such as file associations and default applications.

  • Component Chooser

The component chooser allows you to select the default applications you would like to use for various services. Here you can define what Email Client, Embedded Text Editor, Instant Messenger, Terminal Emulator and Web Browser to use. If you prefer to use Xterm, Vim or Mozilla, this is the place to specify those preferences.

  • File Associations

This is where you configure everything to do with file associations. Here you can select a filetype, and choose what applications you would like to be able to open it with. You can also select which icon you would like to represent each filetype, and whether to show it in an embedded or a separate viewer.

  • File Manager

Here you can configure the behavior of Konqueror in file manager mode. Among the options are fonts and font sizes, previews over various network protocols and context menus. Konqueror is an extremely powerful and configurable file management tool with a plethora of options. For more information, consult the Konqueror handbook.

  • KDE Performance

Here are settings related to the memory usage of Konqueror. Minimize Memory Usage allows you to control whether separate instances of Konqueror will open or whether all new Konqueror windows connect to the same instance. This has the effect of reducing memory usage. You can also select whether to pre-load Konqueror after KDE startup, to reduce start times.

  • KDE Resources Configuration


  • Service Manager

The Service Manager module displays a static list of services that are started on demand, and a second list of services that can be manipulated by the user. The services in the first list cannot be modified or changed. The services in the second list you can enable or disable a service loading at start up, and manually start and stop services.

  • Session Manager

Here you can configure how you would like KDE to handle sessions. You can configure KDE to remember your previous session and restore the applications you were using the next time you log in. You can also specify individual applications to exclude from being restored, or disable restoring sessions on login entirely.

  • Spell Checker

This module allows you to configure the KDE Spell checker. It allows you to modify what spell checker to use, what types of error to check for and also what default dictionary to use. KDE supports the use of both ASpell and ISpell.

  • Vim Component Configuration

This module allows you to configure the use of Vim as an embeddable component. You need to have a recent version of Gvim or Kvim installed for this. You can configure the appearance of the editor as well as which vim binary to use.

Peripherals Edit

This section is where you would change settings related to peripheral devices such as keyboards and joysticks.

  • Display

Here you can modify settings to do with the size, orientation and refresh rate of your display, and whether you would like these settings to be applied on KDE startup. On the Power Control tab, you can configure your power management options for this screen such as blanking.

  • Joystick

This section allows you to configure your joystick and test that it is working properly. You can also calibrate your joystick here, and manually specify the joystick device if it is not autodetected correctly.

  • Keyboard

This module allows you to configure basic keyboard settings. These include keyboard repeat delay and rate, and what state you would prefer numlock to be on KDE startup.

  • Mouse

Here is where you can configure settings to do with your mouse device. You can switch the button order, reverse the scroll direction or modify the behaviour of clickable icons. You may also preview, install and select cursor themes. The Advanced tab allows you to fine tune your mouse settings further.

  • Printers

This dialog allows you to configure printers using a variety of print systems. You can add local and remote printers, check current jobs and look at printer properties.

Power Control Edit

This section has a single module, Laptop Battery. Here you can configure the appearance and behaviour of the Klaptopdaemon battery monitor. You can select battery icons to represent different power states, and set up notification of certain events. In the case that your battery runs down to a critical level, you can configure the daemon to suspend or shutdown your laptop, to save you from losing data.

Regional & Accessibility Edit

This section is where you can configure options to do with region and locale, and also acessibility related options for disabled persons.

  • Accessibility

Here is where you can configure options for users who have difficulty hearing system sounds or using a keyboard. You can configure the system bell to use a visual signal, such as flashing the screen or inverting screen colors. You can also configure keyboard accessibility options such as sticky keys and slow keys.

  • Country/Region & Language

This module allows you to configure options that are specific to your location such as language, currency and date format. To make available more languages, install the kde-i18n packages for your distribution.

  • Input Actions

Here is where you would configure input actions, such as mouse gestures and keyboard shotcuts for launching applications and running commands.

  • Keyboard Layout

This module is where you would configure Kxkb, a keyboard layout switching utility that uses the X Window System® xkb extension. It allows you to switch between different layouts using a tray indicator or a keyboard shortcut. You can enable/disable keyboard layouts through this dialog, and add more. Some of the more powerful features are the ability to configure switching of layouts globally, per application or per window.

  • Keyboard Shortcuts

Here you can configure global KDE keyboard shortcuts. There are several predefined shortcut schemes you can use if you are more used to another windowing environment, like Windows® or Mac® OS. If you prefer, you can customise your own scheme and modifier keys.

Security & Privacy Edit

This section is where you can configure options related to security and privacy such as the use of cryptography, enabling the KDE wallet, setting your identity and managing caches.

  • Crypto

This module allows you to configure SSl for use with most KDE applications, as well as manage your personal certificates and the known certificate authorities.

  • KDE Wallet

Here you can change your KDE Wallet Manager settings. KDE Wallet aims to provide secure storage for passwords and web form data. You can group different passwords in different wallets, and each one will only be opened with a master password (which you should never forget!). The default wallet is named "kdewallet", and you can either create a new wallet for your local passwords or accept the default wallet for all data in the "Automatic Wallet Selection" section. KDE programs like Konqueror, Kmail and Kopete are fully compatible with the KDE Wallet Manager. All of them will ask at least once for permission to access to actual wallet. You can give different access levels, such as "always allow", "allow once", etc. If you want to change that access level, you can do it from the "Access Control" tab by deleting the program entry and selecting a new preference the next time that application requests access to the wallet.

    • Wallet Preferences

To enable the KDE wallet subsystem, check the Enable the KDE wallet subsystem box. Unchecking this box will disable the KDE Wallet on your system. By default, KDE Wallet Manager is kept opened until the user session is closed, but you can change that in the Close Wallet section to close it when unused for a time, when a screen saver starts or when the last application stops using it. As you can have several wallets, Automatic Wallet Selection allows you start KDE with a given wallet. KDE Wallet will appear in your system tray by default, but you can hide it. Uncheck Show manager in the system tray to keep it always hidden, or check Hide system tray icon when last wallet closes to hide it only when all wallets are closed. These items are in the Wallet Manager section.

    • Access Control

You can set here what policy you want for your KDE applications, regarding to the wallet use.

  • Password & User Account

You can change here your personal information which will be used in mail programs and word processors. You can change your login password by clicking the Change Password... button.

  • Privacy

This module allows you to erase traces which KDE leaves on your system such as command histories or browser caches.

System Administration Edit

This module allows you to configure aspects of your system such as the bootloader, the kernel and helps you perform essential system tasks. Most of these sections will require the root or Administrator password to effect changes.

  • Boot Manager (LILO)

If you use the popular bootloader LILO this section will allow you to configure it. You can configure the location to install the bootloader to, set the timeout on the LILO boot screen as well as add or modify kernel images for the boot list.

  • Date & Time

This configuration module allows you to configure the system date and time settings. You can set the date, time, and also the current time zone. These settings will be applied system-wide.

  • Font Installer

Here is where you would configure both personal and system-wide fonts. This dialog allows you to install new fonts, delete old ones and preview the fonts you have installed. By default, it displays personal fonts. To modify system-wide fonts click the Administrator Mode button.

  • IBM Thinkpad Laptop

This configuration module allows you to configure the special keys on an IBM thinkpad laptop. You will need the “nvram” module to use these features.

  • Linux Kernel

If you run KDE on Linux® there is a KControl module to create or modify configuration files for a Linux® kernel. This configurator is compatible with kernels previous to 2.5.

  • Login Manager

This module allows you to configure the KDE login manager, kdm. kdm is a powerful login manager with a large range of options. It supports user switching, remote graphical logins and has a fully customizable appearance. For more information, see the kdm handbook.

  • Paths

This dialog allows you to configure the default locations where certain important files are kept. The Desktop directory contains all the files on your desktop. The Autostart directory contains files or links to files that you want run when KDE starts, and the Documents directory is the default location KDE applications will open or save documents to.

  • Sony Vaio Laptop

This configuration module allows you to configure features specific to Sony Vaio laptops. If you have a Sony Vaio, you will have to install the “sonypi” driver to use this section.

The Base KDE Applications Edit

What follows is a brief description of a few of the base KDE applications. For more information on any of the applications you should check the links recommended with each respective entry.

Fundamentals Edit

  • Konqueror

KDE's file manager, web browser, FTP client and much more. Konqueror is the canvas for all the latest KDE technology, from KIO slaves (which provide mechanisms for file access) to component embedding, allowing it to be a universal viewing application, capable of displaying various image files as well as documents.

  • Kate

KDE's advanced multi-view text editor. Kate is excellent for things such as viewing the HTML source of a webpage to handling advanced coding in C++, PHP and XML with its powerful syntax highlighting engine and code folding capabilities. Kate is a very speedy application, being capable of opening huge text files in a matter of seconds, as well as allowing you to view a hefty amount of multiple views in order to see more instances of the same document and/or more documents at any particular time.

The X terminal emulator for KDE. Konsole, like many KDE applications, is extremely customizable; while you can create your own user sessions, you can also of course open Linux® console sessions, shell sessions, as well as standard root and sudo sessions.

The KDE Panel, used for handling your currently running applications, a pager allowing you to switch between desktops, quick launch buttons to act as application launchers and much more.

A GUI front-end to the powerful DCOP (Desktop COmmunications Protocol). DCOP provides a comprehensive protocol for interprocess communication between KDE applications. While this is increasingly useful to KDE programmers, it is also beneficial to the ordinary user who would want to create a script, or, say, a SuperKaramba theme.

The control center for the K Desktop Environment. You can alter a myriad of different things, ranging from themes, fonts and screensavers, to Internet, security and system administration.

The KDE help system is used to provide access to the base UNIX® help pages (man or info) as well as the native KDE documentation provided by the KDE documentation team or the application authors. You should be able to access all of the KDE application handbooks from here.

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