Discover the Power of Konqueror

Many Linux users have a set of applications – browser, file manager, image viewer – that they’re loyal to. In most cases, these applications correspond to the default setup of a Linux distribution. If you’re a KDE user, you’ve probably heard of Konqueror. It’s a powerful application that has been a part of KDE for years, but it’s often unfairly neglected in favor of newer apps. Did you know you can use Konqueror not only as a file manager, but also as a web browser, PDF viewer and document editor?

If this sounds interesting, you can install Konqueror from the repositories of Ubuntu, Debian, Arch and other distributions, or from the source. Note that you’ll have to install many packages as Konqueror’s dependencies if you don’t already have KDE on your system. I recommend you also install a package called “konq-plugins” which contains browser extensions.

Konqueror looks much like any other browser. Under the hood, it uses KDE’s own rendering engine called KHTML, which is similar to Webkit but sometimes slow when processing Javascript. Konqueror makes it easy to migrate your bookmarks using the Bookmark Editor’s Import function.

konqueror-bookmark-editor

Here you can organize bookmarks, check their status, update favicons and export bookmarks as an XML file. You can also one-click-bookmark all currently opened tabs and open multiple bookmarks at once. There’s also the Session Manager (“File -> Sessions -> Manage”) that lets you load a set of tabs the next time you use Konqueror.

konqueror-adblock

If you installed the “konqueror-plugins” package, your new browser now offers useful extensions. One of them is AdBlock, which comes with predefined filter lists and the manual filtering option. The list of all extensions is under “Settings -> Configure Extensions.” Here you can enable add-ons such as bookmarklets, notifications when a website supports RSS feeds, a search bar with search engines, webpage translation and archiving, HTML & CSS validator, text-to-speech and user agent changer. If you enable the KHTML Settings extension, you’ll be able to quickly toggle AdBlock, Javascript, and image auto-loading from the “Tools -> HTML Settings” menu.

konqueror-user-agent

The UserAgent Changer extension can modify Konqueror’s identification – it can “pretend” to be a different browser. The “Web Browsing” section in the Configure Konqueror dialog lets you enable Do Not Track headers as a part of browser identification. The only essential thing that Konqueror lacks is private browsing, but other features make up for it.

konqueror-web-frames

Split View is one such feature. Accessed via the Window menu or with keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+Shift+L to split vertically, Ctrl+Shift+T horizontally), Split View divides the active tab into as many small frames as you want. You can open new links in separate frames to preview multiple websites at the same time.

The list of cool features doesn’t stop here. Konqueror supports Smart Shortcuts, which can be enabled under “Configure Konqueror -> Web Browsing -> Web Shortcuts.” Use the default shortcuts or write your own. They function as an alias for the full URL of a website, thus saving time and keystrokes. For example, to search for animals on Wikipedia, you would simply type “wp: animals” into the address bar instead of visiting the Wikipedia page.

Another handy tool is the “Enable Access Key activation with Ctrl” option which you can enable under “Configure Konqueror -> Web Browsing.” This is also known as mouseless browsing. Pressing Ctrl while on a website will activate the Access Key, and symbols will appear next to links. To open those links, press the designated symbol(s) – usually numbers and case-sensitive letters. To deactivate this, hit Ctrl again.

Konqueror lets you save web pages for offline viewing thanks to the Web Archiver extension. This option, accessed from “Tools -> Archive Web Page” menu, exports a web page into a .war file which you can later open in Konqueror.

Speaking of file opening, Konqueror can handle several filetypes – you can use it to open PDF files, edit text documents, preview and even convert between basic image formats (JPG, PNG, TIFF, GIF, BMP). It can also display Linux info and man pages in a nice, readable format; just type man:/[name] into the address bar.

konqueror-file-viewer

Konqueror’s versatility is made possible by KParts, a KDE component framework that’s used to manage file types or embed applications into one another. Technically, any KDE application that supports KParts can be embedded into Konqueror, meaning that Konqueror can “take over” its functionality. This is how Konqueror works as a file manager – it embeds Dolphin and offers all its features. Users switching from Dolphin will surely appreciate this.

konqueror-configure

All service menus from Dolphin will be available in Konqueror when you use it in file manager mode. To switch to this mode, simply open a folder in Konqueror. You can customize toolbars and save view profiles (with Detailed List View, big icons or split tabs …) for different purposes. The File Associations dialog is somewhat advanced and lets you define how Konqueror handles various file types.

konqueror-sidebar

The sidebar is toggled by pressing F9, and it can show multiple sections at once (for example, Bookmarks and Root Folder). Konqueror also has a spellchecker and an option to create a HTML image gallery from all or selected images in a folder. It’s possible to use it as an FTP client; for other use cases and advice, consult the official handbook that explains Konqueror in great detail and is perfect for beginners and people new to KDE.

Konqueror’s power derives from the convenience and seamless integration of features that would otherwise require opening several applications. True, you need to have Okular, Dolphin and other apps installed if you want to use Konqueror as anything other than a browser, so some people might consider this embedding as “cheating” or even “useless.” On the other hand, it’s extremely practical when working with multiple files since you can view them all in one window or quickly switch between tabs. Konqueror can act as a container for other apps and eliminate clutter from your workflow, and you can always go back to using it as a lighweight web browser.

What’s your opinion of Konqueror? Have you ever used it? Let us know in the comments.

14 comments

  1. It is also easy to set Konqueror to use WebKit as it’s JavaScript renderer. This speeds it up.

    • Sorry for the inconvenience! I copied that link from the official Konqueror website. I wonder if they know the link is broken…

      Anyway, you can check the website, konqueror.org, they have a link to the git repository where you can access the source. Hopefully that one’s not broken. And thanks for the info! :)

    • A few days old :).

      KDE still ships Konqueror – in fact, it’s being regularly updated and released as part of KDE Applications and Platform. (I believe version 4.14.2 was released last week). And many people are still using it, so it seems that the definition of “obsolete” varies from person to person.

  2. This is a great article. I am a Konqueror fan too. One correction regarding the plugins. I believe it is konq-plugins rather than konqueror-plugins. Thanks again for the in-depth article!

    • You’re right! Thanks for the correction. I hope that users will still be able to find the package in the repositories if they search for “konqueror plugins” or something similar :).

  3. Konqueror is again default browser. Using webkit as the render. No problem closing browser when download is not finished is a plus. Rejecting all cookies or only accepting cookies from originating server speed up page loading over other browsers.

  4. konqueror es una aplicacion muy interesante y lo van a actualizar a las librerias de kde 5 konqueror es una de las aplicaciones mas completas que he visto espero que con kde 5 sea tan versatil que con kde 3 .

  5. Great article! I was using Konquaeror back in 2006-2009 in KDE 3.5.X and I was always amazed by it’s power and flexibility. I was eather dissappointed when Dolphin replaced it because, in my humble opinion it was reinventing the wheel. I’m glad that it is still “alive and well”. This is another reason for me to switch from Unity to KDE Plasma 5…

    • Thanks for your comment! :)

      It’s definitely a good thing that Konqueror still works, and I hope it’ll still be maintained as a part of Plasma 5 (or at least compatible with it). Dolphin is not bad; in fact, it’s one of my favorite file managers, but Konqueror offers so much more despite being an “old” piece of software. I’m glad that you liked my article – it’s always great to hear what other KDE fans and users think! :)

      • Thank you for such a great articles (not just this one)… :)
        I have the same opinion about Dolphin (it’s better than any other file manager I’ve used), but when you have a great program such as Konqueror, you don’t need anything more.

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