Common Keyboard Shortcuts

T.C. Hollingsworth

The KDE Plasma Workspaces™ provide keyboard shortcuts that allow you to perform many tasks without touching your mouse. If you use your keyboard frequently, using these can save you lots of time.

This list contains the most common shortcuts supported by the workspace itself and many applications available within. Every application also provides its own shortcuts, so be sure to check their manuals for a comprehensive listing.


The Meta key described below is a generic name for the custom key found on many different keyboards. On keyboards designed for Microsoft® Windows®, this key is usually called the Windows key, and will have a picture of the Windows® logo. On keyboards designed for Mac® computers, this key is known as the Command key and will have a picture of the Apple® logo and/or the symbol. On keyboards designed for UNIX® systems, this key is really known as the Meta key and is typically labeled with a diamond: .

Working with Windows

These shortcuts allow you to perform all kinds of operations with windows, whether it be opening, closing, moving, or switching between them.

Starting and Stopping Applications

These shortcuts make it easy to start and stop programs.

MetaOpen the Application Launcher
Alt+Space / Alt+F2Run Command Interface
Ctrl+EscSystem Activity
Ctrl+Alt+EscForce Quit

Moving Around

These shortcuts allow you to navigate between windows, activities, and desktops efficiently.

Ctrl+F10Present Windows
Ctrl+F9Present Windows on current desktop
Ctrl+F7Present Windows of current application only
Ctrl+F12Show Desktop
Ctrl+Alt+AActivate Window Demanding Attention
Alt+TabWalk through windows
Alt+Shift+TabWalk through windows (Reverse)
Alt+F3Open the Window Operations menu
Meta+Alt+UpSwitch to Window Above
Meta+Alt+DownSwitch to Window Below
Meta+Alt+LeftSwitch to Window to the Left
Meta+Alt+RightSwitch to Window to the Right

Panning and Zooming

Need to get a closer look? The KDE Plasma Workspaces™ allow you to zoom in and out and move your entire desktop around, so you can zoom in even when the application you are using doesn't support it.

Meta+=Zoom In
Meta+-Zoom Out
Meta+0Zoom Normal
Meta+UpPan Up
Meta+DownPan Down
Meta+LeftPan left, move window to monitor to the left[a]
Meta+RightPan right, move window to monitor to the right[a]
Meta+PgUpMaximize/Restore window
Meta+PgDnMinimize window

[a] In a multi-monitor environment

Working with Activities and Virtual Desktops

These shortcuts allow you to switch between and manage Activities and virtual desktops.

Meta+Q / Alt+D,Alt+A Manage Activities
Meta+TabNext Activity
Meta+Shift+TabPrevious Activity
Ctrl+F1Switch to Desktop 1
Ctrl+F2Switch to Desktop 2
Ctrl+F3Switch to Desktop 3
Ctrl+F4Switch to Desktop 4

Working with the Desktop

These shortcuts allow you to work with the KDE Plasma Desktop™ and panels.

Alt+D AAdd Widgets
Alt+D RRemove this Widget
Alt+D LLock/Unlock Widgets
Alt+D SWidget Settings
Ctrl+F12Show Desktop
Alt+D TRun the Associated Application
Alt+D,Alt+S Desktop Settings

Getting Help

Need some help? The manual for the current application is only a keypress away, and some programs even have additional help that explains the element in focus.

Shift+F1What's This?

Working with Documents

Whether it's a text document, spreadsheet, or web site, these shortcuts make performing many kinds of tasks with them easy.

Ctrl+ASelect All
Ctrl+WClose Document/Tab

Working with Files

Whether you are in an Open/Save dialog or the Dolphin file manager, these shortcuts save you time when performing operations on files. Note that some of the concepts used with files are the same as with documents, so several of the shortcuts are identical to their counterparts listed above.

Ctrl+ASelect All
Ctrl+LReplace Location
Ctrl+Shift+AInvert Selection
Alt+UpUp (to folder that contains this one)
Alt+HomeHome Folder
DeleteMove to Trash
Shift+DeleteDelete Permanently

Changing Volume and Brightness

In addition to the standard keys, many computer keyboards and laptops nowadays have special keys or buttons to change the speaker volume, as well as the brightness of your monitor if applicable. If present, you can use these keys in the KDE Plasma Workspaces™ to perform those tasks.

If you do not have such keys, see the section called “Modifying Shortcuts” for information on how to assign keys for these tasks.

Leaving Your Computer

All done? Use these shortcuts and put your computer away!

Ctrl+Alt+LLock Screen

Modifying Shortcuts

The shortcuts described in Working With Windows, Leaving Your Computer, Changing Volume and Brightness and Working with Activities and Virtual Desktops are called global shortcuts, since they work regardless of which window you have open on your screen. These can be modified in the Global Shortcuts panel of System Settings, where they are separated by KDE component.

The shortcuts described Working with the Desktop are immutable and cannot be modified.

The shortcuts described in Working with Documents and Getting Help are set by individual programs. Most KDE programs allow you to use the common shortcut editing dialog to modify these. The shortcuts described in Working With Files can be edited in the same manner when used inside a file manager like Dolphin or Konqueror, but cannot be modified in the case of Open/Save dialogs, etc.