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How To Customize Keyboard Shortcuts On KDE Plasma 5

KDE Plasma 5 has dozens of keyboard shortcuts, which is great for those who prefer to navigate the desktop with minimal use of the mouse. Since there are so many, the average user may have trouble learning all the keyboard shortcut on KDE Plasma just by experimenting.

Viewing keyboard shortcuts on KDE Plasma 5 is quite easy, as they aren’t as hidden as some of the other aspects of the desktop. To access the keyboard shortcut area, go to the application launcher and type “shortcuts” in the search box. When typing “shortcuts” in the app launcher, three items will appear; “global shortcuts,” “standard shortcuts”, and “custom shortcuts”.

Global Shortcuts

Those trying to learn how to move more efficiently through the Plasma desktop, check Global shortcuts, as this area houses all the different keyboard combos related to that. To view the existing shortcuts for Plasma, look in the “Global Shortcuts” window for “Component”.

Under “Component”, select “Plasma”. After selecting Plasma, you’ll see a complete list of shortcuts on the side.

Note: Global Shortcuts also has shortcut information for other core aspects of KDE, like the KWin window manager, KDE Power manager, and others. To view those shortcuts, highlight them.

Want to save these keyboard shortcuts for later? Press the screenshot button on your keyboard, and then click “save” to save the picture for later.

Standard Shortcuts

Aside from Global keyboard shortcuts on KDE Plasma 5, it also has “Standard Shortcuts”. This section of the keyboard settings shows off common keyboard combos users may already be familiar with (think copy, paste, save, etc.) To view these shortcuts, search “Standard Shortcuts” in the app menu, then select it.

Once the Standard Shortcuts window opens, you’ll see a long list of actions, followed by what keys trigger them.

Unlike the “Global Shortcuts” area, things aren’t separated by desktop components. Instead, it’s one long list of actions. To view each of the keyboard actions, scroll through the list.

Changing Shortcuts

Sometimes the standard keyboard shortcuts can be uncomfortable, especially if it involves pressing many buttons at once. If you’d like to change the existing shortcuts, follow these steps.

First, open up either “Global Shortcuts,” or “Standard Shortcuts”.

Once in the shortcut manager area, highlight the action you want to customize.

By selecting an existing action, the keyboard shortcut manager will show the default shortcut, followed by a “custom” button. To remap an existing shortcut, click “custom”, then press the custom keyboard combination to change it. When done, click the “Apply” button to finalize the changes.

Custom Shortcuts

A custom keyboard shortcut on KDE Plasma 5 can go a long way. With it, a user can quickly launch dozens of programs, open a website, run a system operation, or even modify the desktop!

In this section of the guide, we’ll go over ways you can create useful custom shortcuts for KDE Plasma.

Opening Programs And URLs

One way to take advantage of custom shortcuts on the KDE Plasma desktop is to have them launch specific programs. To set up a custom program shortcut, open the app launcher, type “Custom Shortcuts,” and open it.

Inside of the Custom Shortcut area, click the “Edit” button, then “New”.

Selecting “New” opens a special menu where users can choose what kind of shortcut to make. Mouse gestures, keyboard shortcuts, etc.

To create a new global shortcut, hover over “Global shortcut” and select the “command/URL” option.

Clicking the “command/URL” button will create a new entry in the shortcut menu, labeled “New Action”.

Highlight “New Action” with the mouse and select it. From there, click the “Action” tab.

Note: to change the name of the shortcut, double-click on “New Action”.

Inside of the “Action” tab, you’ll be able to assign the command to the shortcut.

Click the browse button, and use the file browser to navigate to /usr/share/applications.

From here, select the app you’d like to launch.

Alternatively, set the shortcut to open a custom URL by writing the following in the “Command/URL” box.

Note: if the xdg-open command doesn’t work, try kde-open.

xdg-open https://website.com

With the command set up, move on to the “Trigger” tab. Inside of the “Trigger” tab, click the “none” button. Selecting this button will allow the user to assign a button combo for the new custom keyboard shortcut.

Opening Shell Scripts

To set KDE Plasma 5 up to launch shell scripts from a keyboard shortcut, do the following.

First, open “Custom Shortcuts,” by searching for it in the app menu.

Once there, click “Edit,” followed by “New,” then “Global shortcut”.

Highlight “New Action” and select it. Next, click the Action” tab, and write the following in the box underneath.

sh /path/to/shell/script.sh

To complete the custom shortcut, select “Trigger” and assign a keyboard combination.


  1. With my previous distro, I had a shortcut Alt+G that was inserting my email address into an input field.
    How can I do that in KDE Neon Plasma 5.20.3

    Thank you

    • You should be able to add in that shortcut by following the custom shortcut instructions I’ve outlined in this post.

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