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How To Enable Tiling Window Support In KDE Plasma 5

KDE Plasma 5 has one of the best window managers on Linux. It’s highly customizable, configurable and modifiable. Thanks to how easy it is to modify the KDE window manager, users can add features to it. One feature that many Plasma users love is the Tiling Window extension. With it, it’s possible to add tiling window support to KDE Plasma, much like i3 or AwesomeWM).

In this tutorial, we’ll go over how to get the Kwin tiling extension working. We’ll also go over how to use it and configure it to your own specific needs!

Update KDE Plasma 5

The Kwin tiling window extension works with most modern versions of KDE Plasma 5. However, it’s a great idea to get the absolute latest version of Plasma on your Linux desktop before continuing. That way, you’ll be able to experience all of the new features that the window manager has to offer.

Ubuntu

Are you using Ubuntu for your KDE Plasma desktop needs? For the most part, you’ll enjoy reasonably recent versions of KDE Plasma. With that said, it’s not the absolute latest, due to how Ubuntu works. To get a newer version of KDE Plasma, consider switching to KDE Neon. You’ll still be able to enjoy Ubuntu, as it uses it as a base while enjoying a fresher version of KDE.

To get KDE Neon, visit the official website. Currently, Neon uses Ubuntu 18.04 as it’s base.

Debian

Debian users on the Stable branch can install KDE Plasma, though it’s very out of date. While it’s not a requirement to have the absolute latest version of Plasma to enjoy this script, it’s a good idea to upgrade your release. By updating your release of Debian, you’ll get access to better performance and features as well as better compatibility with the Tiling Window extension we cover in this tutorial.

To upgrade your version of Debian, follow our tutorial here!

Arch Linux

Arch Linux users live on the bleeding edge. As a result, they get access to the absolute latest version of KDE Plasma right away.

To ensure your desktop is entirely up to date, open up a terminal and run a system update.

sudo pacman -Syyuu

Fedora

Fedora users, like Arch Linux users, always get the newest software right away.  To ensure your Fedora KDE Plasma desktop is at it’s best, run a system update in the terminal:

sudo dnf update -y

OpenSUSE

Many OpenSUSE users are on LEAP: the stable version of the operating system. All software on LEAP is stable, but somewhat out of date.
To ensure your KDE Plasma release is more recent, consider switching to Tumbleweed. Alternatively, set up one of the SUSE third-party repositories that gives quicker updates.

Generic Linux

Need to get a more recent version of KDE Plasma and not using a version of Linux on this list? Consider switching to KDE Neon! It’s one of the first Linux distributions to deliver the absolute latest version of KDE Plasma, and it uses Ubuntu, which is the most popular Linux operating system on the market today.

Don’t feel like switching to Neon to get a newer version of KDE Plasma 5? It’s OK! Just run a system update and ensure your version of KDE Plasma is at least version 5.10 to enjoy most of the new features.

Install The Tiling Window Extension

The Kwin tiling extension is hosted on GitHub. To install it, you’ll need the Git package on your Linux PC. Open up a terminal and follow the instructions below to get Git working on your operating system.

Ubuntu

sudo apt install git

Debian

sudo apt-get install git

Arch Linux

sudo pacman -S git

Fedora

sudo dnf install git

OpenSUSE

sudo zypper install git

With Git working, installation can begin. Start by grabbing the Kwin Tiling script’s code files from the developer’s GitHub page.

git clone https://github.com/faho/kwin-tiling.git

Move the terminal session into the new kwin-tiling folder with the CD command.

cd kwin-tiling

Install the Kwin Tiling extension to your PC with:

plasmapkg2 --type kwinscript -i .

Enable The Tiling Window Extension

Now that the Kwin Tiling Extension is set up on your Linux system, it’s time to turn it on. To turn on the extension, go to the KDE app launcher, search for “Kwin Scripts” and open it.

Inside the Kwin scripts area, look for “Tiling Extension” and check the box next to it. Then, select the “Apply” button to turn it on.

Need to turn off the Tiling Extension? Repeat the process above, uncheck the box and click “Apply.”

Using The Tiling Window Extension

The Kwin Tiling Extension is refreshingly simple to use, and most tiling is done automatically. As you open up different programs, Kwin should automatically tile and organize them.

To change the tile layout, hold the Windows key and press the PG UP or PG DN key on the keyboard.

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