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How to Customize the KDE Desktop

 How to add Widgets to a KDE Desktop

KDE Panel Configuration

As well as allowing you to add Widgets to Panels, KDE also allows you to add them to the Desktop! You can also, of course, change the background wallpaper. This chapter covers both topics. The following screenshots are taken from the KDE Plasma Desktop of Kubuntu 12.04 but all KDE Distros should look the same.

KDE Panel Configuration is [..] geared around two main constructs: [..] the Panel [and] [..] the Widget


Adding a Widget to the KDE Desktop

Before you can alter the Desktop, you need to unlock the Widgets (-if not done already). This can be done by clicking on the Desktop Cashew (in the top right corner of the desktop):

KDE Unlock Widgets

A menu will display: select the "Unlock Widgets" option:

KDE Unlock Widgets Options

Once unlocked, click back on the Desktop Cashew: extra options will now be displayed: click on the "Add Widgets" option:

Add Widgets Icon

A scrollable list of available Widgets will be displayed just above the standard KDE Panel in the bottom half of the screen. Hover the mouse over each Widget to see a description of it:

Add Widgets Panel

To add a Widget to the Desktop, click and drag it to the required position and release the mouse button:

Dragging a Widget to the Desktop

You should then see the Widget on the Desktop:

A Widget on the KDE Desktop


Adding an Application to the KDE Desktop

You can also add Applications (aka shortcuts in Windows) to the Desktop by right-clicking on them in the Main Menu and choosing the "Add to Desktop" option:

Right-Clicking a KDE Application

You should then see the Application Icon added to the Desktop:

A KDE Application Icon


Adding a Folder or File to the KDE Desktop

You can also add Files or Folders to the Desktop directly from the File Manager by dragging the desired item to the Desktop:

Dragging a Folder to the Desktop

You can opt to create a Folder as a "Folder View" (-i.e. displaying the contents of the Folder) or a simple Icon:

Creating a Folder as an Icon

You should then see the Folder Icon added to the Desktop:

A KDE Folder Icon


Changing a Widget / Icon or Folder on the Desktop

Assuming your Widgets are unlocked, then you will see a sidebar next to each of them containing several icons. These allow you to alter various properties of the Widgets, notably:

IconUsage
A Widget on the KDE DesktopClick and drag this icon to shrink or enlarge the Widget
A Widget on the KDE DesktopClick and drag this icon to rotate the Widget
A Widget on the KDE DesktopClick this icon to to display the "Settings" menu for the Widget
A Widget on the KDE DesktopClick this icon to to remove the Widget from the Desktop

Here is a example of a Widget that has been enlarged:

A Widget on the KDE Desktop

You can also click on the Widget and - keeping the mouse depressed - drag the Widget to a new location:

A Widget on the KDE Desktop

Here is a example of a Widget that has been rotated:

A Widget on the KDE Desktop

A Widget's "Settings" menu allows you to configure various properties of that Widget:

Widget Settings Menu

These options differ from Widget to Widget, but normally allow you alter which information is displayed and to assign a keyboard shortcut to select / open a Widget (-e.g. CTRL+<key>).


Changing the Desktop Wallpaper

To change the Desktop wallpaper (-or Background), right click on an empty area of the desktop to display the Context Menu:

Select the Desktop Settings option from the menu and a dialogue box will display. In the default View, you can choose and configure your background wallpaper:

Once the desired background image has been selected, simply click either "OK" or "Apply" to activate the new background:


Preventing Accidental Changes

Once you have configured the Desktop the way that you want it, don't forget to lock your Widgets, to avoid accidental change. This can be done by clicking on the Desktop Cashew (in the top right corner of the desktop) then selecting the "Lock Widgets" option:

KDE Lock Widgets


References and Further Reading:


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