After desktop hopping for many years, I’m fairly settled on KDE Plasma 5. It’s a lightweight (yes these days it really is lightweight) and responsive desktop which is full-featured and beguiling to the eye. In my opinion, one of the aspects that stands KDE Plasma head and shoulders above its desktop peers is extensibility. Plasma lets you configure the desktop to your specific preferences.
KDE Plasma widgets (also known as plasmoids) are a smart way of customizing the desktop. There’s an abundance of widgets available that act like building blocks, constructing a desktop that’s perfect for your needs and requirements. I’ve tried the vast majority of KDE Plasma widgets.
In this updated article, I recommend 24 of my favorites. There should be something for everyone. And there’s a few fun widgets along the way!
The vast majority of my recommendations can be installed using the Plasma Add-On Installer (see image below). There’s one or two that need a bit of effort to install, with a few additional packages needed. Widgets can also be installed via the Discover application, or installed from a local file.
There’s also a few widgets (like Playbar2 and Time Keeper) that I’ve used over the years which sadly no longer work with recent Qt releases. All the widgets were tested with Arch or Manjaro.
1. Event Calendar
I’m fairly content with the default Plasma 5 calendar widget, but it’s certainly bereft of functionality. And lots of colleagues badgered the virtues of Event Calendar, so I’ve switched a year or two ago. It’s an extended calendar with daily weather forecasts and syncs with events from Google Calendar. The calendar plugins include astronomical events, and national holidays.
There’s an agenda that can be shown as a single column, or two columns.
There’s also a handy timer with 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minute and 10 minute options.
If you need the additional functionality offered by this polished calendar widget, you’ll love this!
2. Advanced Radio Player
This is another must-have widget for anyone who loves listening listening to radio stations.
There’s so many redeeming qualities for this widget. The stand-out feature is the widget’s search functionality which lets you search for radio stations using the radio-browser.info API. It makes finding and adding new stations really easy and quick. You can search for stations by name, country, language, and tags.
In the image to the left, we’ve added a selection of stations.
You can change the order of stations. There’s even import and export functionality. Perfectomundo!
3. Simple Menu
This article wouldn’t be complete without an application launcher. There’s a fair few good ones to choose from. But I’ve plumped for only one, even though there’s a few great alternatives.
The one that floats my boat is Simple Menu. It’s simple to use, fast in operation, and works similar to the full screen Application Dashboard. There’s support for favorites and basic system actions.
It’s compatible with touchscreens too. Great stuff.
Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Introduction / Event Calendar, Advanced Radio Player, Simple Menu
Page 2 – Redshift Control, Active Window Control, Qalculate
Page 3 – Dictionary, KDE Connect, Notes
Page 4 – GitLab Issues, Weather Widget, Win7 Volume Mixer
Page 5 – TodoList, Translator, YapStocks
Page 6 – Comic Strip, Simple System Monitor, Color Picker
Page 7 – Thermal Monitor, Kargos, RSS Indicator
Page 8 – Netspeed Widget, Panon, Bouncy Ball
Read our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. The collection covers all categories of software.
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