Shortcuts

Mike McBride

Jost Schenck

Revision KDE 4.12 (2013-12-05)

Shortcuts

Introduction

While most of the functionality offered by KDE can be accessed using a simple point and click interface, many people prefer using the keyboard for some tasks. Pressing something like Ctrl+F is often just faster than moving your hands off the keyboard to the mouse, opening the Edit menu and selecting Find.

As different people have different preferences about keyboard shortcuts, KDE offers full customization of key bindings. A key binding or shortcut is a combination of an action with a key or a combination of keys.

Standard Shortcuts and Global Shortcuts

Standard shortcuts and Global shortcuts work just the same. Actually, in a certain way standard or application shortcuts are global as well. The only difference is:

  • Standard keyboard shortcuts refer to actions that are often available in applications, such as Save, Print, Copy etc.

  • Global keyboard shortcuts are shortcuts for actions that make sense even when no application is opened. These shortcuts usually refer to actions like switching desktops, manipulating windows etc.

Please note, that the application shortcuts configured here are only the standard actions often found in applications. Most applications will define their own actions as well, for which you have to customize key bindings using the application's key bindings dialog.

Standard Keyboard Shortcuts page

At the top of this dialog you see an input box, where you can search interactively for shortcut names (e.g. Copy) or combination of keys (e.g. Ctrl+C) by typing them literally here.

Below the search box you can see a list of key bindings, i.e. associations between actions (e.g. Copy) shown in the Actions column and keys or combination of keys (e.g. Ctrl+C) shown in the Shortcut or Alternate column.

Global Keyboard Shortcuts page

At the top of this page is a drop down box which allows you to select a KDE component like KWin, Plasma Desktop etc. The defined shortcuts for the selected component are displayed in the Action and Global column in the list view. Click the File drop down box at the right to import/export a Scheme, set all shortcuts to none and remove a component.

This page has the same search box as the Standard Keyboard Shortcuts tab.

Configuring Key Bindings

Configuring key bindings is pretty easy. In the middle of these System Settings modules you will find a list of available actions. If there's a key binding configured for that action you will find it in the columns right to it. Just select the action you want to configure.

After you have selected an action in the list you will notice that this item is highlighted and you see two additional check boxes below this item in the list view. There you can configure a combination of keys or maybe no key binding at all for the selected action.

  • Default: the selected action will be associated with KDE's default value. This is a good choice for most actions, as KDE comes with reasonable key bindings we have thought about.

  • Custom: if this option is enabled, you can create a key combination for the selected action. Click on the button labeled either None or labeled with the previously selected custom shortcut. Now the button label changes to Input. Then press any modifier key (i.e. Shift, Ctrl, or Alt) and then normal key or a function key (e.g. F11) you want to assign to this key combination.

    Clicking on the Alternate column of a row in the list allows to edit the second shortcut for the action.