2.1 The KDE Control Center

The KDE control center is the central place for users to change the overall appearance and behavior of nearly any component of the KDE desktop. Start the control center from the main menu by selecting Favorites > Personal Settings or press Alt+F2 and enter kcontrol.

Figure 2-1 KDE Control Center

HINT: Starting Individual Modules

You can also start individual modules of the KDE control center from a terminal or by adding a special applet to your panel.

To start modules from a shell, enter kcmshell --list to get a list of all modules available. Then enter kcmshell module name to start the desired module.

Alternatively, add the Settings applet to your panel according to the description in Adding and Removing Panel Elements.

The sidebar provides different categories each with a subset of settings. Click a category icon to 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 list introduces the major categories and highlights the most important settings you can change there. Detailed information about the settings of each category is provided by the Help button on each page of settings or in the help center.

Appearance & Themes

Holds settings for the desktop background, the screen saver, and the fonts appearing on the desktop. You can modify themes, window decorations, and styles of desktop elements, such as buttons, menus, and scroll bars. Cursor behavior and the splash screen that appears on KDE start-up can also be influenced here.


Holds settings that allow you to increase or decrease the number of virtual desktops and to control panel options such as size, position, length, and appearance of the panel. You can also change the main menu here. In the taskbar section, configure taskbar options such as whether to show windows from all desktops on the taskbar. Two further sections allow you to control the behavior of windows.

Internet & Network

Lets you define Bluetooth options and preferences such as time-out values for certain connections. You can also share your desktop, enable or disable file sharing, and set options for local network browsing and proxy servers. The behavior of Konqueror as a Web browser can be modified here.

KDE Components

With the Component Chooser, 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. Configure options for your desktop search with Kerry BeagleĀ® here, for example, which directories to index. If needed, change the default file associations to identify a file type and start an appropriate application. Set options for Konqueror as a file manager. Define how KDE handles sessions on login or shutdown and modify your spell checking options here.


Holds options for devices such as digital cameras, displays, joysticks, keyboards, mouses, OBEX devices, printers, remote controls, and removable media like CD-ROMs or USB sticks. For example, you can add your camera model and define the type of port with which it is connected to your computer or modify keyboard and mouse settings, such as repeat delay, single or double clicking options, and double-click intervals. You can assign default actions to certain types of removable media (for example, always start KsCD when detecting an audio CD) and configure printers.

Regional & Accessibility

Define country and languageā€“specific options here, such as currency, number and date format, and keyboard layouts for different languages between which you can switch. You can also view and modify the predefined KDE shortcuts (for example, Alt+Ctrl+L to lock the screen). This category also offers accessibility options for handicapped users, such as sound and keyboard options and mouse gestures.

Security & Privacy

Go here to change your password, set options for KWallet (the KDE password management tool), configure encryption for KDE, or manage private data such as recently opened documents, recently visited Web sites, cookies, and the contents of the clipboard.

Sound & Multimedia

Holds options for configuring the system bell and system notifications and the encoding and device settings for audio CDs.

System Administration

Use this category to configure the appearance and behavior of the KDE login manager (KDM) or to change the default paths to some important directories for your data: Desktop, Autostart, and Documents. You can also install personal or systemwide fonts here.

In the following sections, find examples of how to configure some aspects of your KDE desktop that you might want to customize.