How To Completely Customize Your KDE Wallpaper [Linux]

Danny Stieben 25-07-2011

<firstimage=”//” />customize kde desktopIn case I haven’t made it very clear in the past, KDE for Linux comes with plenty of customization options that exist on all distributions, adding to the uniform beauty of KDE. All of the great customization options can be found in the System/Desktop Settings area, where you can quite literally tweak everything without needing to install a separate program to do the job, as is often necessary with the GNOME desktop.


Today we’ll be looking at very small portion of the possible options: the desktop.

Smaller Options

The desktop options are reachable by right-clicking in an empty space on your desktop and choosing Desktop Settings. Once inside you’ll see there are only two tabs, one for the wallpaper and one for mouse actions. The mouse actions tab provides configuration settings for what the middle button, right button, and vertical scroll do while on the desktop. You can also add more actions in addition to those three, or remove any of the three at any time when you no longer want an action to be associated with a certain mouse action.

Desktop Modes and Wallpapers

customize kde desktop
Under the view tab, you’ll find a surprisingly large amount of options for your desktop layout and wallpaper. The different layout settings allow you to choose how you would like to use your screen. Aside from the default desktop, you can choose to have a grid desktop, grouping desktop, full-screen folder view of your home folder, newspaper layout, and a full-screen search-and-launch function.

Wallpaper Types

The next option allows you to choose the different types of wallpapers that you can use. Not only can you display a simple image as your wallpaper, but you can also choose to show a pattern (as shown in first screenshot), “Mandelbrot” (a self-generated fractal design), a “virus” effect (as shown in second screenshot), a simple color, and the weather.

kde desktop themes
You can choose from a number of patterns when selecting that option (New Orleans, anyone?), as well as the foreground and background colors. For “Mandelbrot” you can choose different designs (provided you aren’t using the folder view widget), or import/export parameters for the current fractal design that you have. Here you can also choose which colors you would like to use.


customize kde desktop
My personal favorite is the virus effect. In this mode you can select a wallpaper, and some parameters such as amount of “viruses” and their speed. Then sit back and watch as the little viruses eat away at your wallpaper and change the colors. I’ve noticed that the “viruses” thrive on light-colored areas of the wallpaper while they die when they hit a completely black spot. After a certain amount of time the wallpaper resets and the viruses eat away once again. Note that setting quicker refresh times and higher amount of maximum viruses will increase CPU load.

Feature Combination

Note that these wallpaper settings can be used with the Activities technique I described in this article Make Use Of KDE's Desktop Features: Activities, Widgets & Dashboard [Linux] It hasn't been too long ago (since the beginning of this month, in fact) that I switched from using a GNOME desktop to a KDE desktop for my Linux system. Now, I'm not trying to... Read More , so you can have a completely customized workspace and wallpaper for each virtual desktop if you wish.


Being able to escape from the simple “one-image” model for the wallpaper is a great way to make your desktop truly yours with a lot of fun. How your desktop will look like is up to you, as you can customize your KDE desktop it as you wish. Just remember that KDE offers options to do this and plenty more.

Related topics: KDE, Linux Distro, Wallpaper.

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  1. jahid65
    July 25, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Nice feature of kde.. :D