Four Smart Things to do with the ALT+F2 Run Command in KDE

Four Smart Things to do with the ALT+F2 Run Command in KDE


One of the first things that newcomers to GNU/Linux learn to do is to bypass big Start menus and blank screens (like Fluxbox) and use ALT+F2 to launch an application by simply typing in its name. Every desktop ecosystem has its own way of implementing this feature and I was pleasantly surprised, after a long absense from the KDE desktop, to see how it could be used to do some really clever things. Here's five of them.

Create a desktop shortcut

Yes, you can start software from the menu (once you've found it) or create an application launcher which will take even longer. It's much easier and quicker to just drag the item to the desktop once the entry appears in the ALT+F2 box.

Figure 1: Just type and drag it onto the desktopFigure 1: Just type and drag it onto the desktop

Because it remembers input history, as soon as you start typing you will get a match in a below. Now, just drag it onto the desktop. You can't make it any simpler.

Create and run web shortcuts

The way to discover what else it can do is to click on the wrench icon on the left-hand side of the run dialogue and scroll down the list. You can resize the screen for convenience.

Figure 2: Seventeen activities to choose fromFigure 2: Seventeen activities to choose from

You will see one for using Konqueror web shortcuts. You can of course create your own but Konqueror has many built in. You can view them from the web shortcuts section of Konqueror's Configure Settings menu.

Figure 3: Check the shortcuts you want to useFigure 3: Check the shortcuts you want to use

I checked one for the Kdelooks website.Now, when it type kdel:plasma Konqueror searches for that item in KDELooks website.

Figure 4: The kdel shortcut directs Konqueror to search kdelooks for plasmaFigure 4: The kdel shortcut directs Konqueror to search kdelooks for plasma

You can of course add as many as you like and turn KDE's ALT+F2 into a really powerful tool.

Use ALT+F2 as your desktop search tool

Who knew? I know I wrote a piece on purging memory in Chromium. So, I start typing "How to purge...." and it pops up in a list. Click on it and it opens in text editor.

Figure 5: Searching for files is so easyFigure 5: Searching for files is so easy

Check running applications and set priority

As if these features weren't enough, ALT+F2 can also monitor and control system process and running applications. Click on the icon next to the wrench (or just do CTRL+ESC without even doing ALT+F2). Filter the output and right click to set priority.

Figure 6: Filter running processes and prioritize themFigure 6: Filter running processes and prioritize them
Figure 7: Scheduling the GUI wayFigure 7: Scheduling the GUI way
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Biography

A retired but passionate user of free and open source for nearly ten years, novice Python programmer, Ubuntu user, musical wanabee when "playing" piano and guitar. When not torturing musical instruments, rumoured to be translating Vogon poetry into Swahili.