Tiled Menu in Plasma - A Windowsy Linux experience

Updated: June 2, 2021

Would you like to have a tiled menu in Plasma? Maybe. Yes? Well, read on! As it happens, a few weeks ago, I tried to make the Plasma desktop look like Windows 10. One of the ingredients needed to bake this delightful cookie was Tiled Menu, available as an optional extra to Plasma users when it comes to the system menu look & feel. By default, Plasma users get three choices - menu, launcher, dashboard. Now, there be a fourth way.

Tiled Menu lives as a widget in Discover. It ain't always easy to find, but it's there, and it's available to anyone on Plasma 5.12 and above. It offers a Windows 10 behavior, and if this be your thing, you can have it. Boom. The widget comes with tons of options, so I thought, perchance we can have an entire article dedicated to it, to go over the different settings and tweaks. All right, onwards then!

Teaser

Install and configure

Open Discover, search for "Tiled Menu", locate it, install it. Then, right-click on your system menu icon, Alternatives, and select Tiled Menu. By default, the menu will show a list of applications as well as several tiles. If you're not happy with any one tile, you can unpin it, just as would do in Windows 10. But this is only the first step.

Switch

Default looks

Tiled Menu Settings

Once again, right-click > Tiled Menu Settings... This will open a rather detailed window, where you can change various options. You can choose whether to have the menu open as is or as a full-screen overlay. You can also configure the number of columns in the tile grid, and the desired width in pixels. Then, you can also choose the icon you want for the widget.

Settings

Next, you can configure the tiles - or skip this section altogether. You have the option to choose color and transparency. Sidebar corresponds to the vertical strip to the left of your displayed applications and icons. You can set its width as well as define what elements it should show, like say Documents, Downloads, Movies, etc. Think of it as a super-shortcut strip for things that you always want visible or accessible.

Settings, more

By default, Tiled Menu also offers an inline search field. Like the other elements, it's set to 48px by default. You can change this to any value you want. I found the best solution to match its height to the panel (and the sidebar). You don't need to display the search field - you can start typing, and it will auto-reveal itself. Very handy.

But there's more. Next, you can define how your applications are listed. In fact, you have a great deal of leeway, including the width of the application list, whether to show descriptions, how to sort the applications, icon size, categories, and if you want a list of recently or commonly used applications at the top of the menu, you can do this, too. This allows you to get a feel that's very similar to how Windows 10 does it.

Finally, you can always import/export menu settings, so you can carry the look & feel over to other computers, restore your own installation, or just go back to a desired configuration if something goes wrong, or if you just want to try something else. A whole package, replete with goodies. Wanna tweak? Go ahead. No? Leave things as they are. Wunderbar.

No tiles shown

Search

Conclusion

Tiled Menu is a fantastic little widget. It's simple yet powerful. You can tweak to your heart's desire. Anything goes really. Every setting can be edited and changed, you can use tiles - or not, there's integrated search, everything. Even if you are not aiming to transform your Plasma desktop into a Windows 10 clone, you can still enjoy this menu on its own. It uses system settings, so it won't override your theming or look out of place, whether you use Breeze or something else. Sweet.

Well, hopefully, this little tutorial will spur you to give it a go, and perhaps delve into Discover, and look for other useful widgets and decorations. Plasma comes with a mindboggling arsenal of tools and tweaks, and the greatest downside is that they aren't always easy to discover [sic]. But looking back at my different Plasma desktop transformation guides, I have always found something new and cool and fun to try and enjoy. A whole wealth of great ideas and concepts. So there. Try this one, and then start exploring.

Cheers.

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