From KDE UserBase Wiki

    KWin is the window manager of the KDE workspace. This application is responsible for placing and managing windows, managing virtual desktops and many important actions like the shortcut alt+tab to change the active window.


    KWin's global shortcuts can be configured via "Systemsettings -> Keyboard & Mouse -> Global Keyboard Shortcuts". There you have to select KWin in "KDE component". The following table lists the most important shortcuts with their default settings.

    Shortcut Action
    Ctrl+F1 Switch to desktop 1
    Ctrl+F2 Switch to desktop 2
    Ctrl+F3 Switch to desktop 3
    Ctrl+F4 Switch to desktop 4
    Alt+Tab Walk through windows
    Alt+Shift+Tab Walk through windows (reverse)
    Alt+F3 Window Operations Menu
    Alt+F4 Close window
    Ctrl+Alt+Esc Kill window
    Ctrl+Alt+A Activate window demanding attention
    Ctrl+Print Desktop screenshot to clipboard
    Alt+Print Window screenshot to clipboard
    Alt+Shift+F12 Suspend compositing
    Ctrl+F8 Show desktop grid
    Ctrl+F9 Toggle present windows (current desktop)
    Ctrl+F10 Toggle present windows (all desktops)
    Ctrl+F11 Desktop cube

    Manage windows

    The following sections will present many mouse and key combinations. That is always the default configuration. Each of these combination can be changed. That is described in section configuration.

    Change size

    The size of a window can be changed most easily with the maximize button. This button is by default the second button from right side in the titel bar. By clicking it with the left mouse button the window will be both horizontally and vertically maximized or the original size is restored. By clicking the button with the middle mouse button the window will be vertically maximized and by clicking with the right mouse button the window will be horizontally maximized. By double clicking the title bar with the left mouse button the window will be maximized as well.

    If the window is not maximized the window size can be changed individually. Therefore you move the mouse to the window border. Now a size-change mouse cursor will be shown. By pressing the left mouse button and simultaneous moving of the mouse (dragging) the size of the window will be changed. If it is difficult to reach one of the borders, you can press the alt-key in combination with the right mouse button to change the size. There is also a option in the useraction menu available.


    A window can be moved via the title bar. Therefore you have to click with the left mouse button on any place of the title bar and move the mouse while keeping the mouse button pressed. If you cannot reach parts of the window, because the title bar borders to the top of the screen you can use the combination of alt and left mouse button on any place of the window and move the window by moving the mouse. Another possibility is to use the desktop grid effect or the pager to move the window.

    The useraction menu offers the possibility to move the window as well. In that case you can move the window by just moving the mouse without pressing a key or mouse button. The moving ends as soon as there is an event such as a mouse click or enter key.


    A window can be hidden by clicking the minimize button. This is by default the third button from the right in the title bar. The window can be minimized as well by clicking the entry in the tasks applet or by using the useraction menu. The window can be unminimized via walk through windows (alt+tab) or via the entry in the tasks applet. If compositing is activated the (un)minimizing will be animated.


    The function shade reduces a window to the title bar. By default this function is only available via the useraction menu. Since KDE 4.2 there is a button available which can be added to Oxygen/Ozone window decoration.

    Keep window above/below others

    KWin is able to keep a window always above/below all other windows. That is, there is a window which always covers other windows or is always covered by other windows, no matter which window is the active one. The option can be find in the submenu "Advanced" of the useraction menu.

    Move window to different desktop

    It is possible to move single windows to different virtual desktops. Therefore there is a submenu "To desktop" in the useraction menu containing an entry for each desktop and one for keeping the window on all desktops. If active desktop borders are activated the window can be moved to a different desktop by just moving the window to the border of the screen. It is also possible to move a window to a different desktop by moving its pictograph in the pager or using the desktop grid effect.

    Walk through windows

    Via shortcut alt+tab or alt+shift+tab you can walk through the window list. By pressing the tab key again the next entry in the list will be selected. You can even use your mouse to select an item in the list. This is even possible in animated effects like CoverSwitch.

    If compositing is activated by default the boxswitch effect is used to animate walk through windows. This effect displays window thumbnails instead of a window list. There are more effects available and it is also possible to deselect the effect at all.