Chapter 2. The Fundamentals

If you have ever used a text editor, you will have no problem using Kate. In the next two sections, Starting Kate and in Working with Kate, we will show you everything you need to get up and running quickly.

Starting Kate

You can start Kate from the application launcher or from the command line.

From the Menu

Open the KDE program menu by clicking on the application launcher icon on the toolbar at the bottom left of your screen. This will raise a menu. Move your cursor up the menu to the ApplicationsUtilitiesAdvanced Text Editor Kate menu item.

From the Command Line

You can start Kate by typing its name on the command line. If you give it a file name, as in the example below, it will open or create that file.

%kate myfile.txt

If you have an active connection, and permission, you can take advantage of KDE's network transparency to open files on the internet.

To change the directory for temporary files, which defaults to /tmp set the TMPDIR environment variable before starting Kate, e.g.

%mkdir /tmp/kate -p && export TMPDIR=/tmp/kate && kate

Command Line Options

Kate accepts following command line options:

kate --help

This lists the options available at the command line.

kate -s --start name

Starts Kate with the session name. The session is created if it does not exist already. If a Kate instance running the specified session exists, the specified files are loaded in that instance.

kate -p --pid PID

Only reuses an instance with the specified PID (Process ID).

kate -e --encoding encoding URL

Uses the specified encoding for the document.

kate -l --line line URL

Navigates to the specified line after opening the document.

kate -c --column column URL

Navigates to the specified column after opening the document.

kate -i --stdin

Reads the document content from STDIN. This is similar to the common option - used in many command line programs, and allows you to pipe command output into Kate.

kate --startanon

Start Kate with a new anonymous session, implies -n.

kate -n --new

Force start of a new Kate instance (is ignored if start is used and another Kate instance already has the given session opened), forced if no parameters and no URLs are given at all.

kate -b --block

If using an already running Kate instance, block until it exits, if URLs given to open.

You can use Kate with this option as editor for typing in commit messages for version control systems like Git or Subversion. These systems expect to block the editor till you have entered your message, because they then open the temporary file, which would be empty if Kate immediately returned to the caller.

This option is also needed with KIO (KDE Input/Output), if you open a remote file (which has been downloaded to a temporary) and should be reuploaded, after you saved it.

kate --tempfile

When used, the specified files are treated as temporary files and deleted (if they are local files and you have sufficient permissions) when closed, unless they were modified since they were opened.

kate --desktopfile filename

The base file name of the desktop entry for this application.

This is in particular useful for wrapper applications and applications having in general multiple desktop files. Thus each desktop file can have its own command line for the Exec entry.

kate --author

Lists Kate's authors in the terminal window.

kate -v --version

Lists version information for Kate.

kate --license

Shows license information.

Drag and Drop

Kate uses the KDE Drag and Drop protocol. Files may be dragged and dropped onto Kate from the Desktop, the filemanager Dolphin or some remote FTP site opened in one of Dolphin's windows.