Tips and tricks to tune up KDE 4.1

Launch defaults

Another annoying aspect of Konqueror is that it often seems to have a mind of its own when it comes to launching applications. For example, text files will default to opening in KWrite rather than the better specified and faster Kate editor.

Thankfully, the solution for this problem applies to both Konqueror and Dolphin, and resides within the System Settings application. Choose File Associations from the Advanced page. This displays a window with various file types grouped into types in a panel on the left.

Selecting a file type, such as '.text.', opens a panel on the right that presents the options for that file type. For text files, you'll see there are two common file extensions (*.asc and *.txt), along with a list of applications that are launched when the user clicks on a corresponding file.

For text files, you should see that KWrite takes top priority, followed by the bloated KWord and, finally, Kate. To put Kate in its rightful place as the first application to be launched, select it and click on the Move Up button until it's at the head of the list. As soon as you click on Apply, KDE will launch Kate in preference to any other text editor.

Another great feature is file embedding. KDE 4 seems to have abandoned this space-saving ability in favour of launching a new window when you click on a file, but we prefer to see the embedded version for certain file types – text and PDF documents in particular.

Switch from the General page to Embedded in the text file type editor. This presents you with options for how to tackle file embedding. Select Show File In Embedded Viewer and make sure the Embedded Advanced Text Editor is top of the Services Preference Order. Now, when you click on a text file you'll see the contents within the same file manager window, rather than an external app.

We'd recommend making the same change for image and PDF files, though these will only work with Konqueror.

First published in Linux Format, Issue 122

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