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The Plasma Workspace is one of the the flagship products of KDE, and one of the most visible to users. As Plasma treats the user interface differently than a traditional desktop, there may be confusion as to what Plasma is, what it does, and how to perform common tasks. This document attempts to address these problems by providing answers to the most common questions.

The information presented here covers Plasma in KDE 5.10, which is currently in development as KDE 5.9.90. For older versions you can turn to
the KDE 4.4 specific page
the KDE 4.3 specific page,
theKDE 4.2 specific page,
the KDE 4.1 specific page
or the KDE 4.0 one


What does Plasma do?

Plasma is the default workspace (desktop interface) for KDE. It includes an application launcher (start menu), the desktop and the desktop panel (often referred to simply as the task bar). However Plasma is more than just this familiar collection of utilities, it is a common framework for creating integrated interfaces. It is flexible enough to provide interfaces for mobile devices (phones and netbooks), media centres and desktop computers; to support the traditional desktop metaphor as well as well as designs that haven't yet been imagined.

How does Plasma work?

Plasma's main components are widgets called plasmoids. Widgets can take on a variety of functions, ranging from displaying your desktop and associated wallpaper, showing your laptop's battery level, displaying your plugged in devices, and drawing the taskbar: basically, they are small applications that live on the desktop. Additionally, widgets can be grouped together in "containers", like the panel, a "grouping plasmoid," the system and even the desktop itself.

What is Folder View

The default desktop in Plasma 5.10. Folder View is a desktop showing items from a chosen folder. Click on an item to open it. Hover over a folder and click the arrow pointing up to show the folder on the desktop. Folder View can also show a folder, but only the files matching a certain regex expression.

What is the Folder View widget?

Folder View is also a widget with identical behavior to the Folder View desktop, except it has a visible background and borders like other widgets.

What is KRunner?

KRunner is a versatile mini-command line you can activate by pushing "Alt-Space" or by selecting "Run Command" from the desktop contextual menu. It can search for applications, bookmarks, even sessions basing on your input, show system activity and even do simple arithmetic calculations. It can even replace your menu. KRunner's functionality can be extended through the use of plugins ("runners").

What are the "cashews" and "burgers?"

What is commonly referred as "cashew" or "burger" is the Plasma toolbox, the logo you can find on the default desktop, on the panel, on the right hand side (left hand side if you use a Right-To-Left language). By clicking on them, you can access other configuration options. It does not appear if widgets are locked


Whether you like a clean, mean desktop, the Plasma Netbook interface, or a more traditional one, you'll find lots of help on this Configuration page


See the Glossary page.


A page of Screencasts will help you understand Plasma.


  • Everyone who contributed to the KDE 4.4 FAQ
  • Ivan Stanton, who is working to make the KDE docs good.

This page was last modified on 25 March 2017, at 14:02. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.