Make KDE 4 More User-Friendly by Changing Window Behavior

Jack Wallen
Dec 31, 2008
Updated • Jul 8, 2014

If you are using a distribution that now ships with KDE 4 you might notice the desktop is less than user-friendly. From the main menu to the panel, KDE 4 has a way to go before it fits the bill for every-day production use. But there are ways to make your KDE 4 desktop much better. Once portion of the desktop you can change for the better is the default window behaviour. These behaviors can be changed quickly in order to make KDE 4 much more user-friendly.

The default behaviors we are going to change are:

  • Focus
  • Auto-raise
  • Title Bar double click

These behaviors are configured in the System Settings window. To get to the System Settings window go to the main menu and select System Settings in the Favorites tab. Once the System Settings window opens click on the Window Behavior and you'll see a number of tabs.

Window Behavior Settings
Window Behavior Settings

The first configuration is the Policy. From the Policy drop-down select "Focus Follows Mouse" (The window directly under the mouse has focus). Now click the Auto Raise option (When a window has focus it raises above all other windows). If you want to configure an delay for the auto raise you can enter a value (in milliseconds) in the Delay text area.

Now click on the Titlebar Actions tab. In this tab you will want to take a look at the Titlebar Double-Click action. One of the best options is the Shade option. When you enable the Shade option your window will roll up into the titlebar on a titlebar double click.

Once you have made the changes click the Apply button and the changes will be in place.

Shaded Windows
Shaded Windows

Above you can see how a grouping of shaded windows can help to keep your desktop organized. Need to use one of your windows...double click it to unshade it.

There are plenty of options to configure in KDE 4. But for some quick and simple configurations that will make your desktop workspace much easier to use, you can't be these Window Behavior settings.


Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. Cameron said on April 26, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Thanks for documenting what KDE doesn’t.
    It seems our IT department gave me an incomplete KDE install. “System settings” doesn’t do anything. No dialog box.
    I wonder if there’s a way to get focus-follows-mouse window behavior without the GUI dialog.

  2. Al Nonymous said on August 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    Please add a line that indicates the date that you write each of your blog entries. It’s really frustrating to read OLD information but not see any clue as to how OLD it is!

  3. Michael said on January 16, 2009 at 4:47 am

    Is it possible to set the focus policy (to follow cursor) and NOT move the contents when a window is moved in KDE4.1 for Solaris10 ?


  4. Dotan Cohen said on January 2, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    > i tend to line up windows so when they are shaded
    > their title bars sit in horizontal rows.

    Try the Task Bar plasmoid :)

    You will really love KDE, especially if you are using the 4.2 betas. And it comes with so much software preinstalled, I hardly ever venture out to non-KDE apps.

  5. Paul. said on December 31, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    I realy think the office part is very fast. And i like the PIM-suite, KStars and Kig, etc. I realy like that it is not hard to use. Nice clear graphics to.
    Thank you for pointing out this software to me.

  6. jack said on December 31, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    i have been using the Shade option in all of my Linux desktops since the days I used AfterStep. I guess for me it’s an easy way to keep all of my opened windows organized. i tend to line up windows so when they are shaded their title bars sit in horizontal rows. maybe i should attach a pic so it better shows what i am talking about.

  7. What is KDE? said on December 31, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Thanks. I have noticed that KDE 4 has similar windows behaviour to MS Windows, for better or for worse. Note that when using the Shade option (which was default in KDE 3) when apps are maximized, often one gets the appearance that the shown titlebar belongs to the window below it! I really do not like the shade option and see no real-world use for it.

    I cannot wait for KDE 4.2 (a new dot-point release comes out about every six months). I have been testing the betas and filing bugs, and it really looks like the future of desktop computing. It is easy for Windows user to use in it’s default configuration, yet has in ingenious new Desktop idea that takes completely redefines what the area under your open windows is used for.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.