6.2. Configuring Your Desktop with the Control Center

With KDE, you can personalize your desktop to a very high degree. You can change a variety of settings, such as the desktop background, screen saver, fonts, keyboard and mouse configuration, and sounds. Adjust these settings with the modules of the KDE Control Center. Start the Control Center from the main menu or press Alt-F2 and enter kcontrol.

The side bar provides different categories with a subset of settings each. Just click a category icon and explore the possibilities provided there. You can always return to the higher-level category by clicking Back. For an overview of all categories, switch to a tree view. Change the view by selecting View +Mode+Tree View.

Clicking an item displays the corresponding settings on the right. Change the settings as desired. No changes take effect until you click Apply. If you have changed an option then decide that you want to leave the settings as they were, click Reset to discard the changes. Reset all items on the page to the default values by clicking Default. Changing some settings may require root permissions. Log in as root if prompted to do so.

The following sections introduce the major categories and contain procedures for some common changes you may want to apply to your KDE desktop. Detailed information about the settings of each category is provided by the Help button on each page of settings or in the help center.

6.2.1. Appearance & Themes

This category lets you change the way your KDE desktop and applications look. You can access a number of settings.

Background holds options for the background of your desktop, such as colors, pictures, or slide shows. If you configured multiple virtual desktops, you can set different options for each. See Section 6.2.2, “Desktop”.

Colors lets you manage and edit color schemes for your desktop. There are a variety of color schemes installed by default but you can also create your own color scheme using a predefined scheme as starting point.

With Fonts, all fonts and font attributes used on the KDE desktop can be configured. You can also modify antialiasing settings. By default, antialiasing is activated for all fonts. Antialiasing is a software technique for diminishing jagged edges that should be smooth. Although it reduces the jagged appearance of the lines, it also makes them fuzzier. To deactivate or customize antialiasing, select the corresponding options.

In the Icons section, control the icon style for the entire KDE desktop. Icons are used on the desktop, panel, and toolbars of applications. You can choose icon themes, adjust icon sizes, assign effects to icons (for example, you can make them semitransparent or colorize them), and configure settings for each of the different places icons are used.

Launch Feedback allows you to modify what kind of cursor and taskbar feedback you want for starting applications. For example, instead of a bouncing cursor indicating that an application is loading, you can set a blinking cursor.

A screen saver automatically appears if you do not use your computer for a specific time. In the Screensaver section, change the screen saver or configure the time-out before it starts.

In the Splash Screen section, you can change the splash screen that displays on KDE start-up.

Style holds options for user interface elements (called widgets) in KDE, such as buttons, menus, and scroll bars. You can choose a certain style and see a preview of it.

With Theme Manager, choose, install, or modify configuration sets (themes) for your KDE desktop.

Window Decorations provides options for the title bar of the windows and the style of the borders around windows.

6.2.2. Desktop

The Desktop settings configure the appearance and behavior of your KDE desktop.

In Behavior, configure options such as showing or hiding desktop icons, showing tool tips, and icon layout. You can also specify if you want to see previews of particular file types on the desktop and which devices have icons.

In Multiple Desktops, increase or reduce the number of virtual desktops to use and enter a name for each desktop. By default, two virtual desktops are configured on your system. You can switch between the desktops with the desktop previewer in the panel or by using the mouse wheel.

Panels controls panel options such as size, position, length, and display. You can also change the appearance of the panel with transparency, background images, and icon zooming. Because the main menu is also part of the panel, also configure various menu options here, including the applications shown in your main menu.

In the Taskbar section, configure options such as whether to show windows from all desktops on the taskbar, grouping of similar tasks, and what action on the taskbar your mouse buttons trigger.

Window Behavior customizes the default KDE window manager, kwin. Here, control what happens when windows are moved, clicked, or resized. You can bind actions to certain keys and mouse events.

Window-Specific Settings lets you customize settings that only apply to some windows. It only takes effect if you use KWin as your window manager.

6.2.3. Internet & Network

The Internet & Network category helps you to configure Internet and networking options.

Two sections deal with how to manage your Bluetooth devices and services: Paired Bluetooth Devices and Bluetooth Services. In the Connection Preferences section, KDE lets you change the time-out values for different connections.

Desktop Sharing is useful if you want to invite other people to your desktops. Only let trustworthy users take part in your session.

File Sharing allows you to configure Samba (Windows) and NFS (UNIX) file sharing. The settings can only be changed if you are an administrator. If you log in as root, you can add, change, or remove folders to share with others.

Use Local Network Browsing if you want to browse a local network. It is like “Network Neighborhood.” Take into account that you may need some additional software, especially the LISa daemon (see package kdenetwork3-lisa).

In Proxy, you can customize proxy and SOCKS servers. Normally, if your administrator does not tell you to use this, it is probably not useful for you.

The settings in Samba should only be configured with YaST.

Web Browser offers settings for the default KDE browser, Konqueror. For example, you can customize fonts, manage cookies, and determine Web behavior, such Web shortcuts. For more information about how to use Web shortcuts, refer to Section 7.5.2, “Using Web Shortcuts” (↑Applications).

6.2.4. KDE Components

This category holds advanced KDE options, such as the default application to open when clicking a link.

The Component Chooser module handles basic tasks. You can change the default e-mail client, text editor, messenger, terminal, and Web browser. Whenever a KDE application needs to start an application of these types, it always calls the default component set here.

KDE uses File Associations to identify a file type and start an appropriate application. Here, you can also choose which icon represents each file type and whether to show files of a certain type in an embedded or a separate viewer.

The File Manager module configures the behavior of Konqueror as a file manager. Here, define which fonts and font sizes to use, the path to your home directory, if previews are allowed, and if quick copy and move actions are allowed.

In KDE Performance , you can optimize the performance of your KDE desktop.

An overview of all plug-ins of the KDE daemon is shown in Service Manager. This module shows two different types: services invoked on start-up and services called on demand. Normally do not change the settings of this module, because it is vital for KDE.

In Session Manager, define how KDE handles sessions on login and shutdown. By default, KDE remembers your previous session and restores the applications you were using the next time you login. You can define different options here, such as excluding individual applications from being restored.

Spell Checker lets you modify what spell checker to use, what types of errors to check for, and the default dictionary to use. The KDE spell checking system (KSpell) provides support for several spell checking utilities: the most commonly used are ASpell and ISpell.

6.2.5. Peripherals

This category holds settings for various devices that can be plugged in to your computer, such as a digital camera, display, keyboard, and mouse.

Digital Camera lets you configure support for your digital camera. You can add your camera model and define the type of port by which it is connected to your computer.

With Display, modify your display options, such as screen size and power control if supported by your display.

Joystick helps to check whether your joystick is working correctly. You can adjust the calibration.

The Keyboard section allows you to modify basic keyboard settings such as keyboard repeat delay.

Of course, you can also adjust a lot of Mouse settings, such as actions to be triggered by single or double clicking, cursor themes, and double click intervals.

With OBEX Devices, configure OBEX connections for your devices, such as PDAs.

Remote Controls allows you to configure bindings between your remote controls and KDE applications.

6.2.6. Power Control

This category is only useful for laptops. Laptop Battery monitors your batteries. Power management software must be installed.

6.2.7. Regional & Accessibility

This category holds regional settings as well as options for handicapped persons.

In Accessibility, configure functions that can help individuals with difficulties in hearing or motor function. These include certain sound and keyboard options.

The Country/Region & Language section lets you configure options that are specific for your location, such as language, currency, and number and date format.

In Input Actions, configure mouse gestures and keyboard shortcuts for starting applications and running commands.

In the Keyboard Layout section, find multiple layouts for different languages. If Enable Keyboard Layouts is selected, you can add and activate several keyboard layouts, such as English and German, and switch between them. Fine-tune them in the Xkb Options tab.

In the Keyboard Shortcuts section, you can define global KDE shortcuts. For an overview of the currently active shortcuts, refer to the list of Global Shortcuts. You can also choose a different, predefined shortcut scheme, such as a Windows or Mac scheme.

6.2.8. Security & Privacy

This category holds settings for personal security certificates, KWallet, password treatment, and privacy settings.

To make KDE more secure, Crypto allows you to configure SSL (secure socket layer). This is used in most KDE applications as well as others. There is also a possibility to manage your personal certificates.

KDE Wallet allows you to configure the KDE Wallet system, KWallet. It saves sensitive information, such as passwords and form data, for several applications in a strongly encrypted file, protected with a master password that you define. For information about using KWallet, see Section 5.10.2, “Managing Passwords with KWallet Manager”.

To change your personal settings, go to Password & User Account. Here, set a new name, organization, e-mail address, SMTP server, or password.

The Privacy module manages personal Web browsing data. For example, use it to clear the cache, delete the history of visited Web sites, or remove unwanted cookies.

6.2.9. Sound & Multimedia

Use this category to perform all settings for the playback of audio CDs and for the sound system.

In Audio CDs, configure encoding and device settings.

With Sound System, configure aRts, KDE's sound server. This allows you to hear your system sound while simultaneously listening to a music CD.

With System Bell, switch from system notifications (default) to a system bell and specify the volume, pitch, and duration of the bell.

The System Notifications section defines how the system should inform you in the event of a problem, when a task is performed, or if an event requiring your immediate attention occurs. In the upper part of the dialog, select the application for which to configure the system notifications. As soon as you select a program, all events the application can send to the user are listed in the lower window. Determine the notification type for each notification in the Actions dialog.

The default view of the system notification dialog only offers Play a sound for audible notification. Click More Options to access other action modes. You can log the notification to a file, execute a program, or show the message in a pop-up window. In the lower part of the dialog under Quick Controls, globally activate or deactivate the actions for all programs.

6.2.10. System Administration

This category offers options for central system tasks. Most of the sections require root permission to make changes.

With the Font Installer, you can install personal or systemwide fonts. To change system fonts, click Administrator Mode.

Login Manager configures the KDE login manager, KDM. You can change the appearance, fonts used, background shown, shutdown behavior, what users are displayed at login, and some convenience issues for the login screen.

The Path section defines the paths to some important directories for your data: desktop, autostart, and documents.