10 Top tips for KDE 4.0 Beginners

  • Use a simple application launcher on the panel

Traditional KDE menuYou can switch out the new main menu for a more traditional menu. Remove the old menu from the panel: right-click on it and select Remove. Right-click on the desktop and select Add Widgets. In the Add Widgets dialog, drag and drop the Application Launcher Menu from the list to an empty space in the panel. The new menu will position itself in the left corner automatically.

  • Install more widgets

More widgets are available in the package extragear-plasma.
sudo apt-get install extragear-plasma

  • Install more applications

Searching for kde4 in Synaptic will show a huge list KDE4 applications that can be easily installed.

  • Install KOffice KDE4

KOffice is KDE’s equivalent to OpenOffice.
sudo apt-get install koffice-kde4

  • Enabling KWin effects

KWin’s new 3D effects work great on my computer, but they were not enabled by default. To turn them on, open System Settings and click Desktop. Simply check the Enable desktop effects box and click Apply.

  • KWin shortcuts

Here are some of the default keyboard shortcuts for KWin desktop effects:
Super = – zooms in
Super – – zooms out
Ctrl F10 – expose effect for all desktops
Ctrl F8 – view the desktop grid

Also, moving the cursor the the top-left corner of the screen activates expose.

  • Make windows fall apart when closed

Fall Apart effect
This effect is useless and distracting, but let’s turn it on anyways. Open System Settings->Desktop->Desktop Effects->All Effects and check the box beside Fall Apart. All windows (even menus) will fly apart in pieces when they are closed.

  • Lock Desktop Widgets

It’s annoying how if you don’t carefully move the mouse off of a desktop widget, the translucent frame and buttons will stay visible. I work around this by locking the widgets when I am not moving them around. Right-click on the desktop and click Lock Widgets, or Unlock Widgets to unlock.

  • SSH with Konqueror

This isn’t really a KDE 4.0 tip, but it may be useful to other GNOME users who are trying it out for the first time. Like GNOME’s file browser, Konqueror can browse files over SSH. Typing the SSH path into the address bar works, but instead of using ssh:// Konqueror uses fish://. For example:

  • Start applications that need root privileges

Launching programs from the menu that need root privileges will cause KDE to ask for your password. On Ubuntu, KDE will refuse your password. This can be worked around by launching the application from the terminal with sudo.


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