A host of new features and cool fresh concepts in Plasma 5.25 give you a peek into the future of KDE’s desktop.
Gestures on touchpads and touchscreens put Plasma at your fingertips
Bored of grey? Plasma puts a literal rainbow of possibilities at your disposal
Customizing your desktop has never been easier... or more fun!
KDE Plasma 5.25 redesigns and enhances how you navigate between windows and workspaces.
The Overview effect shows all of your open windows and virtual desktops.
You can search for apps, documents, and browser tabs with KRunner and the Application Launcher.
You can add, remove, and rename virtual desktops.
Hold down the Meta (“Windows”) key and press W to enter Overview mode or use a four-finger pinch on your trackpad.
On your touchpad:
A four-finger pinch opens the Overview.
A three-finger swipe in any direction will switch between Virtual Desktops.
A downwards four-finger swipe opens Present Windows.
A four-finger upwards swipe activates the Desktop Grid.
On your touchscreen:
You can configure swipes from the screen edge to open Overview, Desktop Grid, Present Windows, and Show Desktop as they directly follow your finger.
Open System Settings and pick the open Workspace Behavior tab, and then Touch Screen. Click on any of the squares shown on the sides of the monitor icon and a dropdown will open. Select Overview, Desktop Grid, Present Windows, or Desktop Grid and click Apply. Now you can slide your finger from the edge of the screen you selected towards the middle of the screen and watch the magic happen.
Sync the accent color with your wallpaper! The dominant color of your background picture can be applied to all components that use the accent color.
Open System Settings and choose the Appearance tab, then Colors. Select From current wallpaper and click Apply. It is that easy.
With slideshow wallpapers, colors update when the wallpaper changes.
Tint all colors of any color scheme using the accent color and adapt the color of elements of every window to the background. You can also choose how much tint you’d like to see mixed in with your normal color scheme.
Open System Settings and then click on the Appearance tab. Choose Colors and click on the Edit icon (the little pencil button) in the lower-right corner of a color scheme preview and a configuration dialogue will open. In the Options tab, tick the Tint all colors with the accent colors box and slide Tint strength: to the desired value. Click Save as and give your color scheme a new name. Click Close. Select your newly created color scheme and click Apply.
While configuring your color scheme, you can also make the header area or titlebar use the accent color.
Touch and Feel
Activate Touch Mode by detaching the screen, rotating it 360°, or enabling it manually.
If your laptop supports detaching or rotating back the keyboard, do that now. Touch Mode will activate. If not, you can manually enable Touch Mode by opening System Settings, clicking on the Workspace Behavior tab, and selecting the Touch Mode: Always Enabled radio button at the end of the page.
The Task Manager and the System Traybecome bigger when in Touch Mode making it easier on your fingers. You can customize the size of the icons when Touch Mode is disabled, too.
To manually increase icon spacing in the Task Manager, right-click the Task Manager and select Configure Icons-Only Task Manager. Select Large in the Spacing between icons: option. To manually increase the icon spacing in the System Tray, right-click on the System Tray and select Configure System Tray. Select Large in the Panel icon spacing: option.
Titlebars of KDE apps become taller when in Touch Mode, making it easier to press, drag, and close windows with touch. Context menu items become taller when in Touch Mode, giving you more space to tap the correct one.
Floating Panels add a margin all around the panel to make it float, while animating it back to look normal when a window is maximized.
Right-click the panel, select Enter Edit Mode, and then More Options. Select Floating.
Blend Effects gracefully animate the transition when color schemes are changed.
Move your entire desktop, with folders, widgets and panels, from one monitor to another with the Containment Management window.
Right-click on the desktop and select Enter Edit Mode. Choose Manage Desktop and Panels from the top toolbar and drag and drop desktops or panels from one display to another, or click on their hamburger menu.
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The Global Theme settings page lets you pick and choose which parts to apply so you can apply only the parts of a global theme that you like best.
The Application page for Discover has been redesigned and gives you links to the application’s documentation and website, and shows what system resources it has access to.
If you get your password wrong, the lock and login screens shake, giving you a visual cue to try again.
The KWin Scripts settings page has been rewritten making it easier to manage your window manager scripts.
Plasma panels can now be navigated with the keyboard, and you can assign custom shortcuts to focus individual panels.
Hold down the Meta (“Windows”) and Alt keys, then press P to cycle focus between all your panels and navigate between their widgets with the arrow keys. You can also right-click a panel and select Enter Edit Mode. Then choose More Options so you can set a custom shortcut to focus that particular panel.
KDE Gear ⚙️ 22.04 brings you all the updates added to a long list of KDE apps over the last four months. KDE programs allow you to work, create and play without having to submit yourself to extortionate licenses and intrusive advertising, or surrender your privacy to unscrupulous corporations.
Below you will discover a selection of the changes added in the last four months to software designed to make your life better. But remember, there is much, much more: games, social media apps, utilities for communicating, developing and creating stuff… All these things have been worked on to give you more stability and boost your productivity.
If you want to see a full list of everything we have done, check out the complete changelog.
KDE Gear is a set of apps and other software created and maintained by the KDE Community that release all new versions at the same time. KDE Gear may also include new apps that we deem have reached enough maturity to be included in the release.
When we announce a new version of KDE Gear (like we are doing today), you can expect the new versions to appear in your Linux distros shortly afterwards. In some distributions, new versions will appear nearly immediately – such as in the case of Neon. In others, it may take days or even weeks, as it depends on your distro’s packagers.
New versions of KDE Gear apps also pop up in independent app stores, such as FlatHub or the Snap Store; and as updates on non-Linux platforms, such as on Windows.
Dolphin users will find that KDE’s powerful file manager now shows previews for more types of files and more information about each item in your file system in a more readable way. This makes it easier to determine accurately what is each thing and helps you decide what to open, move, copy, compress or erase before you even do it.
Dolphin can display thumbnails for ePub files, the dimensions of images under their previews, and give the extension .part for files that have only been partially downloaded or copied. When compressing single or several files, or whole directories, Dolphin now gives you a more meaningful file name, and also includes improvements for languages that are written from right to left.
Connectivity with MTP devices, such as cameras, now works much better overall and new users unfamiliar with Dolphin can find it when looking for applications just by searching for “Explorer”, “Finder”, “files”, “file manager” or “network share”.
Another application that makes itself easy to find is Konsole, KDE’s powerful terminal emulator. Now, if you search for “cmd” or “command prompt”, Konsole will pop up as an option.
Of course, that is not the only news regarding Konsole. Konsole’s SSH plugin has been further enhanced and you can assign different visual profiles (with different colors for backgrounds, text, etc.) to each SSH account. Like that you always have a visual cue for where you are. And a completely new feature is Quick Commands: open a quick commands pane from Plugins > Show Quick Commands and you will be able to create short scripts you use frequently and invoke them when you need them with a couple of clicks.
Other new things are that Konsole now supports Sixel images that can be displayed right inside the window, and you can now open the current directory or any other folder you right-click on in any app, not just the file manager.
As for increasing usability, Konsole’s scrolling performance is now twice as fast and has been adapted for touch-scrolling.
The biggest news coming out of the Kdenlive project is that now macOS users can edit videos with Kdenlive on the newer M1 devices. This opens up a whole new audience of Mac users and can help make Kdenlive a serious contender in the video-editing world.
In other news, the render dialog has been revamped and it is easier to see all the available rendering options, while at the same time adding features. Two new options in particular stick out: you can create customised profiles so that your rendered movie adapts perfectly to your needs, and you can also render by zones, using the guides you set up on the timeline as references.
There is also initial support for 10-bit color, although this is still a work in progress, as applying any effect to a 10-bit clip will drop your video down to 8-bit color. You can look forward to full 10-bit color support in future versions of Kdenlive.
Kate is much more than a text editor. It incorporates features that make it ideal for editing HTML, LaTeX and Markdown documents and provides utilities to make it an excellent programming and development environment, including comprehensive support for Git, syntax coloring, and “snippets” — templates of commonly used code.
In today’s release, you will find Kate starts up faster and makes it easier to browse your project directories and find files. It also helps you differentiate files with the same names, but placed in different locations. Along with a menu reshuffle, enhancements to the indented layout of code, and improvements to Kate’s support on Wayland, Kate improves its overall usability, stability and range of features.
Okular is KDE’s all-terrain document viewer. Apart from becoming the world’s first computer program to be awarded an eco-certification backed by a government, Okular has improved its usability and user-friendliness and now presents a welcome screen when opened without a document and alerts you immediately when you go to sign a document but have no valid digital certificates.
And also this…
Elisa, KDE’s elegant and modern music player, improves its support for touch screens, is faster, more stable and you can now drag and drop music and playlist files from your file manager onto the playlist panel.
With Skanpage, KDE’s scanning utility, you can now share scanned documents (including multi-page PDFs) using KDE’s general sharing system, which allows you to push documents to instant messaging apps, online cloud services, social services, and through Bluetooth to other devices.
Spectacle’s annotation tools add functionality to crop, scale, undo, redo, and in general do many more things with the images you screenshot. Also, any annotation settings you change will be remembered the next time you startup the program.
Gwenview, KDE’s image viewer, detects and guides you through the installation of camera importers that are lacking support packages. There is also a new Print Preview functionality for when you need a hard copy.
KDE Itinerary, KDE’s travel assistant (also available for your phone), improves support for more train companies (such as Renfe and Amtrak) and airlines. It also adds more detailed information for weather and an inbuilt barcode scanner so you can scan your ticket’s information directly from the app.
… And much, much more
Kalendar is a modern calendaring and task managing app with an attractive interface and lots of useful features you can use to sync with all your other calendars. It works on your desktop and on Plasma Mobile.
One of the Goals of KDE is to be All About the Apps. This means the KDE Community takes more charge of releasing our own software and delivering it directly to you. Although we fully support distributions that ship our software, KDE Gear 22.04 apps will also be available on these Linux app stores shortly:
If you’d like to help us get more KDE applications into the app stores, support more app stores and get the apps better integrated into our development process, come say hi in our All About the Apps chat room.
If you happen to prefer something else as your background, you can now set your wallpaper just by right-clicking on any picture in Dolphin and selecting Set as Wallpaper from the context menu. Furthermore, if you use the Picture of the Day wallpaper plugin, it can now pull images from Simon Stålenhag’s gallery, which is full of cool and creepy sci-fi images.
Bring up the desktop context menu again and you will notice that there is a new Configure Display Settings item. This lets you adjust your screens’ resolution, orientation, scaling, and position relative to other monitors.
Desktop Panels are now easier to move around and stick to any edge you want, as you can now drag them from anywhere on their toolbar while in Edit Mode. And when you drag-and-drop widgets onto the desktop and move them around, they now smoothly animate moving to their final position rather than instantly teleporting there.
Looks and Themes
After the spectacular new wallpaper, the next thing you will notice are the changes to Breeze, Plasma’s default theme. It has received a visual refresh to make it more closely match the Breeze style for apps, improving the visual consistency between them.
Plasma is all about customization, and we have worked on making the process clear and simple so you can adapt your environment exactly to how you like it. That is why the default Breeze color scheme has been renamed to Breeze Classic, to better distinguish it from the Breeze Light and Breeze Dark color schemes.
Speaking of colors, Breeze now extends the feature that lets you pick accent colors (introduced in Plasma 5.23) and now lets you pick any color you’d like, should the pre-selected colors fail to tickle your fancy. Not only that, but changing the color scheme now toggles the standardized FreeDesktop light/dark color scheme preference. This means that non-KDE apps that respect this preference will automatically switch to light or dark mode based on your chosen color scheme. Global Themes can also specify and change the layouts of KDE’s Latte Dock.
A theme must not only be beautiful, but it must make life easy for users. That is why we made the focus effect for user interface controls into a large “focus ring”. This makes the item that has keyboard focus much easier to perceive at a glance.
To make critically important Plasma notifications stand out, they now come with an orange strip on the side to visually distinguish them from less urgent messages. Meanwhile, we have improved the contrast and visibility of the header and title labels in all notifications to make them easier to read.
Another visual enhancement is that notifications about video files now display a thumbnail of the video in the notification itself, just like for image files.
System Tray and Widgets
Many widgets have received new features and subtle enhancements that improve their looks, the relevance of their information, and ease of navigating them. For example, we have added a Date always below time option for the Digital Clock. The Weather widget asks you to configure it when you add it for the first time to the tray, and now automatically searches through all available weather sources. The Battery & Brightness widget has been made clearer and now shows a more accurate title and icon for computers with no batteries. The new versions of the Clipboard and Network widgets can now be navigated with just your keyboard.
When you hover the cursor above a Task Manager item, the window thumbnail tooltip that pops up is now significantly faster to load, and display a volume slider for windows playing audio.
The Task Manager’s context menus have been clarified and simplified. Start New Instance, for example, is now Open New Window and no longer appears for apps marked as having a single main window. Meanwhile, the More Actions item has been moved to the bottom of the menu and changed to just More.
Version after version, KDE developers and designers work to make System Settings easier and faster to use. You can see the progress and attention to detail in such small things as System Settings’ own settings: there were so few options that developers have moved them to the hamburger menu that you can see next to the Search text box, preventing the need to clutter up your workspace with another window.
If you are using Plasma in a language other than English, we also have you covered. You can use the Search field to find terms both in your language and English without having to switch from one to the other, just in case it has not been translated yet or you are more familiar with the English term. The Add a keyboard layout dialog has been redesigned for simplicity and ease of use.
Other design and usability improvements have been added to Night Color, the speaker test sheet in System Settings’ Audio page, and the battery charge limit feature. For people wanting to fine-tune their monitors, the Display & Monitor section now shows the scale factor used for each screen as well as their proper physical resolution.
For your convenience, when you enable auto-login, you now get a warning about some changes you might want to make to your KWallet setup for optimal usability.
You can better leverage the power of multiple desktops in Plasma 5.24 with the new Overview effect. It is still in beta testing, but you can enable it in System Settings’Workspace Behavior > Desktop Effects page and give it a whirl.
Activate it by holding down the Meta (Windows key) on your keyboard and pressing the w key to see an overview of all your open windows and virtual desktops. You can activate windows, drag and drop windows from one desktop to another, and use the powerful KRunner assistant to search, calculate and run tasks all from the same place.
In addition, the Cover Flip and Flip Switch effects are back! You can find them in the System SettingsWindow Management > Task Switcher page. These effects let you visually flip through open windows as if they were a deck of cards.
Among the more subtle changes are that Plasma now “remembers” which window was on which screen even when the screen in question is turned off, and performance has been improved for machines with NVIDIA video cards.
Finally, new windows are now opened in the center of the screen by default.
Discover now gives you the option to automatically restart after an update has completed. Simply click the checkbox at the bottom of the Updates page, grab a caffeinated beverage, and go enjoy a break. By the time you return, Plasma will have rebooted into the brand new updated system.
We have also added a mobile mode for when you use it on a phone: If it is on a wide screen, its home page will show a two-column card view. Open it on a phone and it will show a bottom tab bar in narrow/mobile mode.
Other improvements are that checking for updates is much faster, and the Update page is now less overwhelming, with a nicer design to select updates. Additionally, it tells you the source of the updates.
Speaking of which… Discover has supported Flatpaks for quite some time, but now locally downloaded Flatpak packages can be opened and installed with Discover, and their repositories automatically get added to your system.
Discover also tries to be smarter and friendlier and helps with suggestions if it can’t find exactly what you are looking for. Installation error messages are also more user-friendly and come with a new Report a problem link at the bottom of each description page. If you have a problem with an update, click the link and it takes you straight to the bug tracker page for your operating system. Developers have also included a new safety measure in Discover that stops you from uninstalling your Plasma desktop by mistake.
KRunner can already find documents and web pages, run commands, convert units and currencies, give you definitions of words, do high level math — and new features are being added with plugins all the time. It can be hard to keep up with everything it can do! But now it’s easy to become a KRunner whiz: click on the question mark icon on the toolbar and KRunner will show a list of available plugins and how to use them. Click on a plugin from the list and you’ll see all the information you need to use it to its fullest.
Fingerprint authentication is now incorporated into Plasma. You can also enroll up to 10 fingerprints and use them to unlock the screen, provide authentication when an app asks for your password, and also authenticate you when you need to run a command with sudofrom the command line.
Speaking of the lock screen, now you can put your machine to sleep or hibernate it from the lock screen without having to unlock it first.
Wayland is the upcoming graphical system that will soon replace the aging X11 system. Wayland opens up a world of possibility for more stable and visually consistent applications, support for touch screens and devices that detect orientation, and more.
Adapting KDE’s desktop to Wayland continues at a brisk pace with a massive number of improvements, including support for colors greater than 8 bits, VR headsets with optimal performance, and drawing tablets. In that vein, when using a stylus, you can now activate other windows from their titlebars and interact more with titlebars in general. Another improvement for tactile input is that the system tray item for showing and hiding the virtual keyboard becomes active only in tablet mode, and the virtual keyboard itself only appears when you explicitly focus a text control with a touch or stylus poke.
Wayland versions of apps and components are quickly acquiring all the features that are putting them on par with their X11 equivalents. For example, you can now set a primary monitor, the Spectacle screen-grabber app has now access to the Active Window mode, and the Minimize All Windows widget now works. Likewise, many keyboard shortcuts available in X11 are all being gradually implemented; like the Meta + Tab key combo, which is used to cycle through activities, and already works in Wayland.
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Scrollable controls in Plasma now only change their contents when you start scrolling on them. This means you can’t accidentally change things while scrolling the view.
Plasma now shuts down faster, as it no longer accepts new connections after it has begun the shutdown process. This is especially helpful when using KDE Connect.