Editing the KDE-4 K-Menu

With KDE 3 it was a common feature, that users could arbitrarily edit their K-Menu, which is the Linux equivalent of a Windows 7, etc., Start Menu. But what frequently took place, is that users would change their K-Menu in ways that resulted in poor organization, or in deleted entries which were almost-impossible to un-delete. One undesirable side-effect of this sort of menu-editing was, that if we added a custom-launcher into the middle of an existing, default sub-menu, and if we then installed packages from the package-manager, then the K-Menu positions of the more-recently-added entries, would come before anything the user had inserted in his custom-editing. Hence, the default K-Menu would lose control, over the order of entries.

The more-recent Linux computers which I’ve been operating, are based on KDE 4, which is also the final, most-complex version of KDE, and as I had installed them, they also had a K-Menu, with no obvious way to customize its entries.

What I had not understood until recently, is that under KDE-4, there is a separate package we may install, which is called ‘kmenuedit’, which gives us the ability to edit our KDE-4, K-Menu, once more, as it was with KDE-3.

Apparently, the version of Linux I generally subscribe to has been ‘Kanotix‘, and the versions that I downloaded from them have been KDE-4-based versions, but with a suggested set of packages pre-installed, that correspond to the best-possible, initial configuration of a Linux computer, according to the Kanotix devs. And their approach may well have been, that having a K-Menu-Editor, under KDE-4, might only encourage some people to mess up their desktop-arrangements. What KDE-4 has, and what KDE-3 did not have, was a separate category in the K-Menu, which is the Favorites category.

Under KDE-4, we can add or remove applications to and from the Favorites category, for quick access, easily, and without having ‘kmenuedit’ installed. And the way 99% of my own desktop-activity has taken place, being able to do so has completely made up, for what the ability would once have given me in the past, actually to edit the K-Menu ad-hoc. So it seems to be a wise decision from ‘Kanotix’ devs.

However, some desire may exist on the part of certain users, to modify their K-Menu after all. And if we want to do that, then to install the named package would be the way to achieve it. If we do so, as an apparent, added safeguard, this GUI-based utility does not add itself to the actual K-Menu. This could prevent less-knowledgeable users on the same computer from running it accidentally, and from messing up their K-Menus. We run it for the first time, from the command-line. And, when it is installed, of course the task should be trivial, either to wake up this utility by adding it to the K-menu itself, or by way of a Global Hot-Key-Combination. This is what it looks like:



If the reader does decide to start altering his KDE-4, K-Menu, then my advice to him would be, Create Only One Sub-Menu, with All your custom entries and launchers. That way, if you install more packages from the package-manager, their place in the default K-Menu sub-menus, will not be interfered with. And then, you may obtain a desktop which is free from the clutter of custom-launchers.

One item which has always been useful to me, is a (somewhat large) Folder Widget, which by default, displays the ‘~/Desktop’ Folder. But unlike how I was used to organizing desktops in the past, this Desktop Folder Widget is a place into which I drop small file-projects of some kind, which seemed important temporarily-there, but not a place to put launchers by default.

I have two custom-launchers left on the desktop above, because

  • One of those launchers does something, when an image-file is dragged on top of it,
  • In the case of an HTML URL, ‘kmenuedit’ might still work, or it might not, but I felt that an HTML URL, would have been out-of-place in my customized K-Menu.

Otherwise, if the order of default entries does get messed-up, then the KDE-4 Version of ‘kmenuedit’ has a feature which the KDE-3 system did not have: A Sort button! The way to use this, is to select one sub-menu, and then from the Sort-button drop-down-list, to select either ‘Sort Selection By Name’, or ‘Sort Selection By Description’. The system-default was actually to ‘Sort By Description’. And so chances are good, that we could take over the arrangement of one sub-menu completely, and then to duplicate what the default order would have been, just using ‘Sort Selection By Description’. I do not recommend, to tell the utility to Sort Everything… , because most-probably, doing so would also change the order of all the sub-menus.

Also I should add, that If the reader wishes to do this, he may also wish to make sure, that he’s installing a Version 4.x of ‘kmenuedit’, and not a version 3.y , since only the KDE-4 Package-Versions will be compatible with KDE-4.