How to Set Special Window Settings with KWin

KWin is a free and open source window manager and is the default in KDE. It is a powerful, highly customizable window manager with a plethora of both aesthetic and nuts and bolts features. With the release of KDE 4, the developers added 3D desktop effects, but they also carried over many customization features from KDE 3. Here are some of the window-specific settings that you can use in KWin.

There are two ways to access Window Specific Settings. One is to right click on the title bar of the window you want to configure, click “Advanced“, and click “Special Window Settings“. The other is to start System Settings, click the “Window Behavior” button, and then click “Window-Specific“. From there just click “New…” to make a new rule.  In the second method you will have to manually specify the name of the window or click “Detect Window Properties” and click on the window you want to configure.



You can set the exact size, position, desktop, and state of your window. For example, when you start Konsole, you might want it to always be a window of  “800,600” size and want it to start on Desktop 2.

1.Tick the “Size” box and from the drop-down menu, select “Apply Initially“.

2. Tick the “Desktop” box, select “Apply Initially“, and then select “2:Desktop 2“.

3. Click OK.

There numerous possibilities just under the geometry tab. Play around with them and let us know your results.



Keep above allows you to set a window to always be above other windows. Skip taskbar means that your window will not appear in the taskbar like normal windows.  With Closeable,  you can enable the close button on a window that might not normally allow it.



These settings override some default settings for your specific window. They are useful if you experience problems in a particular application because of global settings. For example, “Ignore requested geometry” will cause KWin to ignore the X geometry that an application expects. “Maximum size” will prevent a window from getting any larger than the size you specify, something that might be useful for a netbook. “Block global shortcuts” is handy if you have an application (especially a non-KDE one) that has shortcuts that conflict with KDE global settings.


Here is an example of how you can put all of these features together. If you have children, run a library or run some other public place with computer terminals, you might want Firefox or another application to start fullscreen without any window manager features.

1. Right click on the window’s title bar, select Advanced, and click “Special Application Settings…

2. Select the “Geometry” tab.

3. Tick “Fullscreen” and select “Force“.

4. Click the “Preferences” tab.

5. Tick “Skip taskbar” and select “Force“.

6. Tick “No border” and select “Force“.

The result will be a borderless, fullscreen window that is not accessible from the taskbar. If you do need to access the window’s settings, simply press “Alt-F3” to bring up the window manager menu. KWin will let you select whole classes or types of windows to configure. If you want all dialogs to have the same functions, you can customize it to follow your whims.

Aside from these window-specific settings, KWin has a broad range of generation settings for focus stealing prevention, shading, shortcuts, desktop effects, and much more. Try them out, find what you like, and enjoy!

Tavis J. Hampton

Tavis J. Hampton is a freelance writer from Indianapolis. He is an avid user of free and open source software and strongly believes that software and knowledge should be free and accessible to all people. He enjoys reading, writing, teaching, spending time with his family, and playing with gadgets.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox