Plasma application launchers

From KDE UserBase Wiki

List of alternative start menus

There are alternative "start menu" style Plasma application launchers in the KDE platform, including:

Application Launcher
The default application launcher that provides a click-through interface for finding and launching applications. Kickoff has a search facility, allowing you to type the name of the application or its description to find it.
Application Dashboard
Application Dashboard is a fullscreen launcher with content applications sorted categories.
Application Menu
This speedy and intuitive application launcher provides a classical hierarchical menu that is easily customized to give quick access to various useful applications and services.
Excalibur is a simple application launcher with two columns and a search bar on top and a session control (logout, restart, shutdown) on the bottom.
Tiled Menu
This is a "Windows 10"-style application menu that allows you to use tiles similar to the way it is done in Windows 10.
There is also KRunner, which replaces the "run command" dialog, blurs the lines between task manager, desktop search, application launcher and command executor and provides a quick way to run applications or open documents among other things.

The KDE 4 application menus Lancelot[1] and Homerun[2] are now outdated. However, Lancelot can be replaced by the similar style Excalibur and Homerun can be replaced by the similar style Application Dashboard.

How to change the application launcher

To change the application launcher, right click on your current launcher and select Alternatives…

Next, choose the launcher you want to use.


Some settings of the currently used launcher might be reset to defaults when switching back

In case the desired application launcher is not in the list, you need to install it first. You may do that by using Discover or search for your launcher on the KDE Store. At the KDE Store you will also find several other application launchers to be tested.

How do I change which key opens the application launcher?

It's possible to do that in two ways: you may right click on your current launcher and select Configure Application Launcher…, selecting the tab Keyboard Shortcuts, clicking on the button and then typing the combination you want to use as keyboard shortcut.

You can also use System SettingsShortcutsGlobal ShortcutsPlasmaActivate Application Launcher Widget.

And if you ever want to restore the default Meta key, you can use the combination Alt+F1, which serves this exact purpose.

I can't bind the Meta key to open the Application Launcher anymore!

This issue may occur because of the way KWin binds keys. Please refer to this section.