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I'm using KDE Plasma 5 right now, and I noticed that the keyboard shortcut Meta + Tab is used to switch between Activities, and Alt + Tab is obviously used to switch between windows. I would like to know if there's a similar way to switch between virtual desktops, and if so, how I can set Meta + Tab to toggle it. I only have two virtual desktops, each with a bunch of specifically positioned windows in them. I'd like something more efficient than clicking on the Pager widget every time I want to quickly switch. I'm a bit new at this, so I apologize if I'm obviously doing something wrong. Thanks, community!

4 Answers 4

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The default shortcut for changing the desktop on KDE is ctrl + F1 to F4.

meta+F8 will show the grid view.

To change this, you can go to "System Settings" >> "Workspace" >> "Shortcuts" >> "Plasma" and here you can remap "Walk through activities" to something else or disable it

Image of Plasma keyboard settings

Now you can go to the search bar, type "desktop" and choose "Kwin" from the applications list. On the right you should see a list of shortcuts related to desktop switching. if I was you with just two desktops I would choose the "Switch to next desktop" shortcut, click it, and choose add a custom shortcut, don't forget to apply.

Image of KWin keyboard settings

That is it, there are a lot of shortcuts on KDE and it looks quite daunting but is not too bad once you get it down.

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  • 2
    Thanks for this! This is perfect, simple screenshots and everything! Finding the "switch to next desktop" shortcut was all I needed to replace Meta + Tab to simply toggle between my two desktops. Thanks again!
    – Caleb Hawn
    Nov 11, 2020 at 2:06
  • CONTROL+F8 doesn't open any grid view here Feb 18, 2023 at 22:05
  • I figured it out, it's META+F8 for the grid view Apr 19, 2023 at 17:45
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    In German, it's EinstellungenKurzbefehleUmschaltung der Tastaturbelegung ➤ Then search for kwinArbeitsflächen-Raster anzeigen. Bingo! Feb 2 at 19:50
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Other way to change the virtual desktop than with a keyboard shortcut:

Hover you mouse over desktop (no window can be covering the wallpaper in that spot) and use scroll.

I am aware that this is not really an answer to this question, but I don't really see a better place to share this trick.

When I google "how to change desktops in KDE" this is the first result, and others aren't really more appropriate.

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You can use KDE Overview. The default shortcut is Meta+w (Meta is usually windows key)

You can reassign the shortcut to Meta+Tab. This is similar to gnome's overview. The advantage of Overview is that you can create virtual desktops on the fly and also easily move applications between virtual desktops.

Note: It needs to be enabled. Go to Desktop Effects and Enable it. It needs compositor to be enabled (which will be by default)

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I have a additional comment to Mark Kirbys answer but unfortunately I'm not allowed to comment...

After applying Mark Kirbys answer I was not able to cycle through my desktops. When I arrived at my third and last desktop I was not able to go back to desktop 1 by pressing "meta + tab".

In order to enable this behaviour I needed to to the following: System Settings -> Workspace Behaviour -> Virtual Desktops -> enable "Navigation wraps around" at the bottom. Also shown in this Picture. (I'm also not allowed to paste pictures...)

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  • Ah, good tip. Thanks!
    – Caleb Hawn
    Nov 17, 2022 at 0:05

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