One of KDE’s aims is to provide users with a consistent integrated desktop. KDE provides its own window manager (KWM), file manager (Dolphin), program manager, and desktop and panel (Plasma). You can run any other X Window System–compliant application, such as Firefox, in KDE, as well as any GNOME application. In turn, you can also run any KDE application, including the Dolphin file manager in GNOME. The KDE 4 desktop features the Plasma desktop shell with new panel, menu, and widgets, and adds a dashboard function. Keyboard shortcuts are provided for many desktop operations, as well as plasmoid tasks.
The desktop supports drag-and-drop and copy-and-paste operations. With the copy-and-paste operation, you can copy text from one application to another. You can even copy and paste from a Konsole terminal window.
You can place access to any directories on the desktop by simply dragging their icons from a file manager window to the desktop. A small menu will appear with options for Folder View or Icon. To create just an icon on the desktop select the Icon entry. The Folder View option sets up a Folder View plasmoid for the folder, similar to the Desktop Folder shown. Items in the folder are displayed within the folder plasmoid as a menu from which you can make a selection.
To configure your desktop, you use the Workspace Appearance and Behavior tools in the System Settings window (Favorites | System Settings). These include Workspace Appearance, Desktop Effects, Desktop Search, Default Applications, Accessibility, and Window Behavior. Workspace Appearance lets you choose themes and window decorations. Desktop Effects is where set window effects and animation. Windows Behavior controls window display features like taskbars, virtual desktops, title bar actions, and screen edge actions. Fonts and Icons are set in the Applications Appearance dialog located in the Common Appearance and Behavior section.