Part of the free software experience is having the freedom to setup your workspace the way you want it. KDE, the popular free software compilation for Linux and other Unix-like operating systems, offers a plethora of configuration and customization options. Among those options are a number of methods for accessing files quickly and easily.
The most traditional way of accessing files in KDE is to go directly to the location of the file. The most obvious approach for direct location access is to use the file manager – Dolphin. By clicking on the breadcrumb location bar anywhere after the last letter, Dolphin will give you the option to edit the location manually by typing it into the location bar. You can also do this in all KDE file dialogs.
All KDE location bars support traditional Unix paths, including “~” for the home folder. By using the “.”, it is also an easy way to access hidden folders. If you type in the full path of a file, KDE will open the file with the appropriate helper application.
KDE’s kio-slave protocols are also accepted in the location bar. For example, if you type, “remote:/” you will see the available networks and network folders you have created. If you type “programs:/”, you will see the categories for all applications in your menu.
“Places” in KDE are a set of shortcuts to folders and removable media on your computer. By default, the Places panel is found on the left-hand side of Dolphin. You can add folders to Places by dragging them over to the panel or by right clicking and then clicking “Add Entry”.
In addition to Dolphin, KDE file dialogs also use the same Places, making it easy to access the files you want to open or save. The Kickoff and Lancelot menus also display the same places, and the shelf widget can be configured to show them as well.
Like the rest of KDE, Places support shortcuts to kio-slaves. Therefore, you can have quick access to network folders, the trash, Nepomuk searches, and much more.
One of the file access features that is not immediately apparent in KDE is the “bookmark” tool. With it, you can easily create additional shortcuts to locations you frequently use in addition to those listed in Places.
Bookmarks is primarily available in KDE file dialogs, allowing you to configure quick access bookmark folders for specific applications. Like a web browser, you can bookmark any location in the KDE file dialog by clicking the star icon and “Add Bookmark”, or by pressing Ctrl+B. From then on, anytime you want to quickly access a frequently used location not listed in Places, you can click on the star and bring up your list of bookmarks.
Just as Locations and Places can make use of kio-slaves, Bookmarks can use them too. This means you can quickly save to remote network locations, something particularly useful for using applications like Kate to edit remote scripts and websites.
With the breadcrumbs feature enabled in Dolphin, you can drag and drop files into any one of the breadcrumb spots to easily copy or move files. If you drag and drop into a text editor, it will display the full path to the location in text form.
Another helpful way to easily copy files is to right click on any file and move your mouse pointer to “Copy to”. This will open a sub-menu, giving you the ability to choose the location you want. When you find the folder you want, click “Copy Here”. If this feature is not enabled by default, simply open the Dolphin preferences, click “General”, choose the “Context Menu” tab, and then tick the “Show ‘Copy To’…” checkbox.
With any location, you can access it with Krunner by pressing Alt+F2 and then typing in the location. This includes remote network locations and even website URLs.
KDE supports dragging and dropping of files, folders, and even remote locations across its own applications and even works with some non-KDE applications. With full control over how you access your files and folders, you should be able to use KDE exactly the way you want.