Ten Tips for KDE 4.0 Beginners

This is a list of ten tips that may help you out in getting started with KDE 4.0. All of these I discovered since installing KDE 4.0 in Ubuntu.

Haven’t installed KDE 4.0 yet in Ubuntu 7.10? See yesterday’s post.

  1. Use a simple application launcher on the panel
    Traditional KDE menu
    You 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.

  2. Install more widgets
    More widgets are available in the package extragear-plasma.

    sudo apt-get install extragear-plasma
  3. Install more applications
    Searching for kde4 in Synaptic will show a huge list KDE4 applications that can be easily installed.

  4. Install KOffice KDE4
    KOffice is KDE’s equivalent to OpenOffice.

    sudo apt-get install koffice-kde4
  5. 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.

  6. KWin shortcuts
    Here are some of the default keyboard shortcuts for KWin desktop effects:

    1. Super = - zooms in
    2. Super - - zooms out
    3. Ctrl F10 - expose effect for all desktops
    4. Ctrl F8 - view the desktop grid

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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:

  10. 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.

Archived Comments


Start applications that need root provilages:

If you look closely at the dialog you will see that its not asking for your password, its asking for the root password. Ubuntu doesn’t have a root password, so it will always reject you. under KDE3.5 and gnome the dialog asks for your password but doesn’t seem to by default with kde4, you can change this by adding ~/.kde4/share/config/kdesurc, which should contain:


note: I’d use markup to make sure my post is formatted correctly, but theres no notes about what is accepted on this page and there is no preview button.


Thanks as always Tom - the tips are great! I had no idea so many software titles were available this soon!

Take it easy,


Did tip number one work for anyone. I tried it and no matter what I did the widget just went behind the taskbar and disappeared.


My goof didnt follow directions properly.


It is not recommended to launch GUI programs with sudo, use kdesudo instead.

Otherwise, great article, I definitely think the part about the simple menu needed to be exposed for everyone(from a dis-satisfied kickoff user’s POV).


Ah, thanks for the KOffice tip. I was initially using KOffice2 as a search term in Adept.


Thanks for tip number 9! Do you know if this is possible for xfce?


Heh, I didn’t even know about the widget-locking capability. I will start a KDE4 session as soon as I get home and shamefacedly do that first thing. :->

amir a

how in the world do you configure the panel? all i want to do is resize it and make it thin, i hate the big fat panel that is always the default, i dont need that much space for the time, a menu button and a task manager.


I tried KDE 4 for my first time on last week. However, my experiences on KDE 4 is still bad at the moment. So, I’ll wait for the updates / patches to be released and stick to Gnome for the moment.

Anyway, I like your article. Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for the tips. I finally found answers to couple of my questions.


hi Tom,

you forgot the kde menu tips (which is driving people crazy):

right click on the menu button and in options:

-change the size from 10 to 20 or more

-disable the tabs changing when the mouse is positioned on top of them.

After this, the menu has become almost as good as the kde suse one. It’s a good menu, just needs some config.


Good and interesting tips. I specifically like Tip #9. I am also looking forward to testing out the new Koffice :) . I won’t be using KDE 4 until the stable version (4.1) is relished upon mainstream distros though.


Thanks for these great tips. There is just one thing I would like to know about secured wireless networking. Although I can see my network in the router, I am not able to connect to it. Any ideas how to get to enter the security key?

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