Ade Malsasa Akbar contact
Senior author, Open Source enthusiast.
Friday, May 18, 2018 at 23:55

After you have installed Kubuntu 18.04, here's a list of recommended things to reconfigure your KDE Plasma Desktop involving changing theme and click behavior, customizing menu and panel, using workspaces and adding custom shortcut keys; with a short list of recommended applications including internet privacy tools for you. Most things in this list do not need internet connection so you can execute them without worrying. I compile this traditionally released list especially for new users coming from another operating system with the hope this will be useful for all Kubuntu users. Enjoy!

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Read also how to install 18.04 (applicable to Kubuntu), the download links, how to upgrade from 16.04, what to do after installing/upgrading, memory usage comparison, and finally the review.


1. Customize Your Menu
2. Switch Theme
3. Give Me My Single Click Again!
4. Konsole Text Size
5. Have Multiple Workspaces
6. Have A Speed Indicator Panel!
7. Set Favorite Shortcut Keys
8. Setup Cantata Music Player
9. Recommended Applications
10. Learn New Features
11. Disable Taskbar Popup
12. Don't Group My Taskbar!
13. Separate Taskbar on Different Workspaces

1. Customize Your Menu

If you like classical list-based menu (like in KDE 3 or Windows XP), then go for Application Menu. If you like Unity-like whole-screen menu, then go for Application Dashboard.


Classic style: Application Menu Unity style: Application Dashboard

What you need to do is just clicking the menu button > select Alternatives > select a style > press Switch.

Dashboard, Launcher, and Menu styles

2. Switch Theme

Kubuntu Bionic brings both light and dark themes. To change the theme, go to System Settings > Appearance section > Workspace Theme > Look and Feel > choose a theme > press Apply.

Breeze theme Kubuntu theme

By default, there are three themes available you may choose and by clicking the button Get New Looks you can download new themes:

Breeze, Breeze Dark, and Kubuntu themes

Seeing more themes available to download

3. Give Me My Single Click Again!

If you prefer single-click to open a folder, like on the all previous versions of Kubuntu, go to System Settings > Hardware section > Input Devices > Mouse > choose Single click to open files > press OK.

Enable again single-click of Kubuntu old-style

4. Konsole Text Size

The text size is too small so you may want to enlarge it. Go to Settings > Edit Current Profile > a new window appears > select Appearance tab > change the size 17 pt or whatever you love > OK.

Make it look bigger

5. Have Multiple Workspaces

Workspaces means as if you have multiple monitors while you can put different program on different monitor and able to switch between monitors anytime you want, but, with only one real monitor. Amazing, right? Yes, that is workspace and you can have it on Kubuntu.

To add workspaces: go to System Settings > Workspace section > Desktop Behavior > Virtual Desktops > give 4 and 2 respectively for number or desktops and rows > press Apply.

Add more workspaces

6. Have A Speed Indicator Panel!

Kubuntu already has an internet speed indicator built-in. This indicator --called Network Monitor-- can show you upload & download speed with graph. You just need to add it. To do so: right-click on the desktop > Add Panel > Empty Panel > a new black panel added to the top of screen.

Adding new panel...

Play the settings button (the three-lines button) to suit the size of this new panel.

...resizing it...

Then right-click on the desktop again > a Widgets Selection panel showing available widget for you > find Network Monitor > drag and drop it onto the new panel > done!

...add new widget onto it...

Play the settings button again to make all Windows Go Below (no window will cover the panel) like this picture:

...and finally enjoy it!

7. Set Favorite Shortcut Keys

Go to System Settings > Workspace section > Shortcuts > Custom Shortcuts > press Edit button > New > Global Shortcut > Command/URL.

1) To open Terminal: Ctrl+Alt+T

  • Give the name Konsole
  • Give the Trigger tab: Ctrl+Alt+T
  • Give the Action tab: /usr/bin/konsole
  • Press apply

2) To open file manager (like Windows Explorer): Super+E

  • Give the name: Dolphin
  • Give the Trigger tab: Super+E
  • Give the Action tab: /usr/bin/dolphin

3) To show desktop: Super+D

  • Go to Workspace section > Shortcuts > Global Shortcuts > KWin > select Show Desktop > change it into Meta+D by pressing Super+D > press Apply.

4) To switch between workspaces: Ctrl+Alt+<arrow>

Go to System Settings > Workspace section > Desktop Behavior > Virtual Desktops > go to Switching tab > edit the four entries under Global column on the Shortcuts section there (see picture below).

Add workspace switching shortcut keys

8. Setup Cantata Music Player

Cantata, the new audio player included since 17.10, is actually a program that makes use of another program (called mpd). Cantata replacing Amarok, the previous audio player of Kubuntu. This makes you need a different setup in using Cantata. In the first run, the easiest for formerly Amarok user and any newcomer is Basic single user setup (see picture below). Once selected, put your audio files in the Music folder and let Cantata scans them.

Cantata Music Player first setting


9. Recommended Applications

For all 18.04 systems I've written list of 20 recommended programs, list of privacy tools, and how to setup Tor with Firefox.

(The browser which you can use privacy addons and Tor with)
uBlock Origin
(To block ads and protect you against trackers)
(To protect your browsing from wiretapping)

10. Learn New Features

Kubuntu 18.04, compared to 16.04, has a new feature called Plasma Vault. This is a long-awaited feature similar to Folder Lock (third-party, Windows) to protect any folder you want with password only you know. You work with Vault by using your file manager and the Lock icon on your tray.

(1) To begin with Vault, you first Create a New Vault by following all steps it gives you. Find it on the Lock icon.

(2) Then (with file manager) put your secret files and secret folders into the vault folder you have created, and then press Unmount button (from the Lock icon on your tray) to lock your secret files out. Anyone should enter your password to open this vault then.

(3) To open your secret, again, click the Lock icon on the tray and press Mount button and finally enter the password.

"My Secrets" is my protected vault on Kubuntu

11. Disable Taskbar Popup

If you hover your cursor, a running app on taskbar will show a popup. If you dislike it, disable it: right-click on the taskbar > Task Manager Settings > on the Behavior section > deselect Show tooltips option > press OK.

12. Don't Group My Taskbar!

By default, your running applications on taskbar will be grouped if they are the same. For example, if you run three Konsole, then it appears as one application, rather than three. If you dislike this behavior, change it: right-click on the taskbar > Task Manager settings > on the Grouping and Sorting section > select Grouping: Do Not Group > press OK.

13. Separate Taskbar on Different Workspaces

If you work with multiple workspaces, then, having separate taskbar is most convenient. This means apps running on different workspaces are not mixed in the current taskbar, rather, each workspace has its own taskbar. To configure this: right-click on the taskbar > Task Manager settings > deselect all Filters options but give check to Show only tasks from the current desktop > press OK.

This article is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.