KDE applications are intended to be as useful and usable as
possible “out of the box”, but they also offer a wide
range of options which you can change to make KDE work for you. As
well as the settings which affect the whole of KDE (see Chapter�5, The
KDE Control Center
), each application has a set of
configuration options, which you can access using the menu option
. This is the same for all
KDE applications, which
makes it easy to find the configuration dialog for an
On the left of the configuration dialog is a list of
sections. Clicking on one of these sections displays the configuration
page for that section on the right-hand side of the dialog. You can
change these options to fit your preferences.
When you have made the changes you want, you can click on
to save your changes and close the
configuration dialog. If you want to see the effect of your changes,
but not close the configuration dialog, click on the
button. This is useful if you aren't sure
about the change you've made, and might want to change back, because
the dialog is still open, ready for you to do so.
If you decide that you don't want to keep the changes you've
made, just click
to close the dialog
without saving your changes.
Configuring Keyboard Shortcuts
Most KDE applications offer keyboard shortcuts for the main
actions in the application. If you find that you don't like the
default keyboard shortcuts, or that they conflict with the shortcuts
of another application (maybe one that's not part of KDE), you can
change them with the
menu entry. This brings up the
dialog for the
application. As an example of how to use this dialog, let's add a
shortcut for the
Konqueror, so that we can email the locations of interesting pages
to friends just by hitting a key (or two):
dialog in Konqueror, as described above.
Click on the
Send Link Address...
in the main listbox (it's near the bottom, in the
Shortcut for Selected
, since we
are going to give this action a keyboard shortcut that we have chosen.
A small shortcut entry dialog pops up. Just hit
(or whatever you want to change the shortcut to), and the
dialog disappears. The “key” icon in the
dialog now shows the new
If you made a mistake, or change your mind about what
to use as the shortcut, just click on the key icon showing the current
shortcut. The shortcut entry dialog reappears, and you can press the
key combination for the shortcut you want.
Nearly every KDE application has one or more toolbars at the top of
the application window, underneath the menu. The toolbar contains icons
(toolbar buttons) that represent commonly used actions and configuration
settings. The KMail window, for instance, has a toolbar that contains
buttons for New Message, Check Mail
and several others. Each of these actions is something you do often, so
that's why they have toolbar buttons as well as menu entries (New
Message is under
Check Mail is
Not everybody agrees on what actions are commonly used, though, (I
never use the New Message toolbar button or the menu
item, I use the keyboard shortcut
). To ensure that your
screen isn't cluttered with things you don't need, each toolbar can be
customized. Additionally, you can usually customize which toolbars are
displayed and how, as well.
Customizing Toolbar Displays
The easiest thing to customize with the toolbars of any given
application is whether they are displayed at all. Most applications have a
menu where you can select which toolbars are displayed and
which are not.
Konqueror has four toolbars,
. It can be convenient to turn off the
toolbar to save
screen space. To do so, click on the
, and then uncheck the
entry (do this just by clicking
on the menu item).
If there is no
menu, you can also
click on the toolbar itself, and choose the
sub-menu from the resulting context
context menu, accessed by
clicking on the toolbar, allows you to
customize other properties of the toolbar:
Its orientation, so that instead of appearing at the top of the
window under the menu bar you can place it on the left, right or bottom of
Its orientation, so that the toolbar “floats” as a
separate window which you can move independently.
Its orientation, so that the toolbar is squashed into a little flat
grip that you can re-open by double-clicking on it (this is subtly
different from making the toolbar vanish completely, since it it easier to
cause it to re-appear).
The appearance of text alongside, underneath, or instead of the icons
on the toolbar.
The size of the icons (if they are not supplanted by
Customizing the Icons on the Toolbar
The toolbar is intended for actions that you perform often, so what do
you do if there is some useless icon there, like Cut? Or
what if you really want a cut button on the toolbar, but
the application doesn't give you one? This is where the customize toolbars
dialog comes in — it give you complete control over the actions that
are available on each toolbar.
from the application's menu, or
from the context menu of the
toolbar itself. This displays the configure toolbars dialog, which consists
of a combobox with which you can select
toolbar to customize, and two lists of items
— one of the available actions, and one of the actions that are
already in use on the toolbar.
Often there are many many more actions available ( activate
tab #12, for instance) than you would ever want on the toolbar, or
even that you know exist in the application. The customize toolbar dialog
can be a learning experience. You can drag actions from one list box to the
other, rearrange the items on the toolbar , or change the icon for a
selected action. This allows you to drag the actions you don't want off of
the toolbar and into the list of available actions; similarly, the actions
you do want can be dragged into the toolbar. Clicking
in the dialog immediately updates the toolbar with
your new preferred actions.
There are a few special items that can end up in the listbox for the
separators, which exist in two flavors:
, which is a special item that
allows plugins and other loadable components of the application to insert
their actions into the toolbar as well. It is generally not a good idea to
remove this, since you cannot get it back.
, these appear in various flavors
(there is a viewmode_toolbar one in Konqueror) and again these
represent lists of actions that might be inserted by
Whenever you click on an action in the list of current actions, a
description of it is shown in the dialog. This description will warn you if
it is a bad idea to remove the action.
If you do not like to drag things around, there are four buttons in
the middle of the dialog which allow you to move the selected action from
one list to the other, and to move a selected current action up or down in
the list. There must be a way to restore the default toolbars in an
application, in order to recover from accidentally deleting an important
, but I don't know what it