Open Application Launcher with Super key

Many users want the Super key (also commonly called the Windows key and confused with the Meta key) to open the Application Launcher in KDE Plasma Desktop. At the time of writing 145 users have voted for the Brainstorm idea “Super key to load Application Menu” and there are 51 comments. A workaround has been around for a long time which involves remapping the Super key to a regular key, but then you lose the ability to use it for other keyboard shortcuts. Until now, that is. In this post I’ll write about how you can eat the cake and have it too.

Super (Tux!) key between Ctrl and Alt. Source: Flickr

Spoiler: If you don’t feel like reading, scroll down to “… called ksuperkey!” to find the solution.

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One of my favorite features in KDE SC 4.8

Show Keyboard Accelerators When Needed

Explanation

Keyboard accelerators are letters with an underscore that you see on buttons, labels etc. This feature is very useful for people who prefer to use the keyboard. For example, instead of using your mouse, you can click on OK by pressing Alt+O.

The downside is that it makes applications appear more cluttered. But not anymore. Starting from 4.8 (or did I just not notice this awesome feature until now?), you can configure Oxygen, the default style for KDE applications, to hide keyboard accelerators until you hold down the Alt key, or make them disappear completely.

So how do I do that?

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Switch to specific activities with keyboard shortcuts

Update February, 2015: Updated commands for newer versions.

Update August 17, 2013: In newer versions it’s possible to set the keyboard shortcut directly in System Settings → Shortcuts and Gestures → Global Keyboard Shortcuts → KDE component: KDE Activity Manager.

In my last post about switching between activities in KDE Plasma Workspaces I had the following on my wishlist:

  • The possibility to set a keyboard shortcut for each activity, for example Meta+F1 for the first activity, Meta+F2 for the second one etc.

This is actually already possible in 4.6, although it isn’t very straightforward for those of us who aren’t D-Bus wizards. However, since I know that there are other people who want this, I’ll share what I figured out today. After reading this post you’ll be able to set keyboard shortcuts (such as Meta+F1, Meta+F2 etc.) to switch to specific activities.

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7 ways to switch activities

One common complaint about activities in KDE Plasma Workspaces is that it’s hard to switch between them. With virtual desktops you have many alternatives – you can use the Pager widget, desktop effects, keyboard shortcuts, switch desktop on screen edges etc. But what about activities? I counted the methods that I know and ended up with 7 different ways to switch activities (depending on how you count), all of which I’ll share in this post. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite?

Continuing with activities after a hiatus, this time how to switch between them

Note that I’m using Plasma Desktop 4.6.x – some of things described might be different in earlier versions (for example different locations in System Settings), and some might not work at all.

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Hide window border for maximized windows

Work with Userbase is progressing nicely. I wrote some suggestions based on user feedback and my own opinions, and a few days ago there was a small discussion about the future of Userbase on IRC.

However, this post isn’t about Userbase – I hope I’ll find some time to summarize the plans for the wiki here in a few days. Today I want to share another tip that I’ve found and need to remember to add to Userbase: Borderless Maximized Windows.

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Remaining time in the Battery Monitor widget

Mostly as a reminder to myself, here’s how to show remaining battery time in the Battery Monitor widget shipped with KDE Software Compilation >= 4.3:

Remaining time in the Battery Monitor

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10 things you might want to do in KDE SC 4.4

With the release of KDE Software Compilation 4.4, many may feel tempted to give KDE Plasma Desktop (previously known as just “KDE”, see Repositioning the KDE Brand) a try. Plasma Desktop introduced in KDE SC 4 behaves quite differently from other popular desktop workspaces, and without doubt many new users will feel slightly lost and confused the first time.

I’ve gathered some tips for new users to get a more familiar desktop, based on frequently asked questions I’ve seen in various places. This is in no way a “10 things you should do” list – it’s up to you to decide which way you like better.

The post is mainly aimed at those who are new to Plasma Desktop, but even experienced users might learn something new.

KDE Plasma Desktop

Just a short note before we begin: the images with a play button are linked to short screencasts – just click to watch them. The screencasts are encoded in GIF and can therefore be played in most web browsers without any additional plugins. The downside is that the quality is quite poor, hope you can bear with it.

Without further ado, here are 10 things you might want to do in KDE SC 4.4:

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