KDE Dolphin Keyboard Navigation

For the most part since adopting KDE 5 as the primary desktop environment, Dolphin has proven to be a satisfactory and helpful file manager.

Dolphin supports many keyboard shortcuts but there is one set of shortcuts absent from the keyboard shortcut configuration dialog: expanding and collapsing directories in list or tree view.

Coming from several years of using Caja, the keyboard shortcuts to expand and collapse directories are the plus (+) and minus (-) keyboard keys. These are the same shortcuts used in Konqueror in KDE 3.5 and in the current Trinity Desktop Environment (TDE).

Those keyboard shortcuts do nothing in Dolphin. How then to use the keyboard to expand and collapse directories?

Launching KDE 5 Konqueror shed no light on the question. File management elements in Konqueror now are based on Dolphin and the keyboard shortcuts inherit that foundation.

Browsing the Dolphin handbook does not help. Browsing the web found bug reports about Dolphin keyboard navigation. Those discussions revealed the missing keyboard shortcuts are the keyboard Right () and Left () navigation keys. In hindsight this somewhat makes sense because the widgets in the interface are > for a collapsed directory and an upside down caret () for an expanded directory. Another way this seems reasonable is the keyboard navigation Up () and Down () keys respectively move the cursor selection up and down the directory tree.

In the Caja and older Konqueror design, the interface widgets are a plus (+) and minus (-), both of which match the keyboard shortcuts. This design seems more intuitive than the current Dolphin design.

Hopefully the bug reports get resolved.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: KDE

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