Manjaro Linux has several default desktop environments available for download. The official site's download page lists Xfce as the top recommendation, although KDE Plasma is among those on the list available for download.

If you currently have Manjaro installed and aren't using KDE Plasma as your default desktop environment, it's easy enough to install it and start using it. There's no need to install Manjaro all over again with the Manjaro + KDE Plasma ISO file.

In this guide, we'll show you how to install KDE Plasma on the Manjaro Linux distribution and begin using it as an alternative or a replacement to your current desktop environment.

In this tutorial you will learn:
  • How to insall KDE Plasma on Manjaro
  • How to install KDE application packages
  • How to set SDDM display manager for KDE
  • How to install Manjaro configuration and themes for KDE
Manjaro with KDE Plasma desktop environment
Manjaro with KDE Plasma desktop environment
Software Requirements and Linux Command Line Conventions
Category Requirements, Conventions or Software Version Used
System Manjaro Linux
Software KDE Plasma
Other Privileged access to your Linux system as root or via the sudo command.
Conventions # - requires given linux commands to be executed with root privileges either directly as a root user or by use of sudo command
$ - requires given linux commands to be executed as a regular non-privileged user

Install KDE Plasma

To install the core KDE Plasma environment, open a terminal and type the following command:

$ sudo pacman -S plasma kio-extras

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If you want to get the full KDE experience and install additional applications, you have two options. The first option is you can install a full set of K* applications, which is a ton of packages packed with all the desktop apps you could need, with this command:

$ sudo pacman -S kde-applications

If you don't want the full suite of applications, you can install the more minimal base package by executing this command:

$ sudo pacman -S kdebase

This will install only the most essential desktop apps.

Set SDDM display manager for KDE

After Manjaro has finished installing KDE Plasma and the additional application packages, it's time configure SDDM as the system's display manager, as it's the recommended display manager for KDE. Then, reboot your system for all of the changes to take effect.

$ sudo systemctl enable sddm.service --force
$ reboot

When your system finishes starting up, you'll be greeted by the KDE Plasma desktop environment at the login screen.

Login screen with KDE Plasma loaded
Login screen with KDE Plasma loaded

Notice that you can select between your new KDE desktop environment and the previous one or more desktop environments that were already installed on your system. Select the one you'd like to use before logging in.

Install Manjaro configuration and themes for KDE

KDE is installed and we're loaded into our new desktop environment, but it doesn't have that same Manjaro feel to it. See?

KDE Plasma freshly installed on Manjaro
KDE Plasma freshly installed on Manjaro

That's because we're still missing the Manjaro theme packages for KDE. These packages are purely optional, as KDE functions fine without them, but it will insert the Manjaro logo in various places (like the taskbar) and give you some additional configuration options for KDE.

The themes and configuration are broken up into various packages, so this command gets a little lengthy. Being that these packages are optional, you can choose not to include some of them if you'd like:

$ sudo pacman -S manjaro-kde-settings sddm-breath-theme manjaro-settings-manager-knotifier manjaro-settings-manager-kcm breath2-icon-themes breath2-wallpaper plasma5-themes-breath2 sddm-breath2-theme

If you get an error about conflicting files that mentions .xinitrc, such as this one:



error: failed to commit transaction (conflicting files)
manjaro-kde-settings: /etc/skel/.xinitrc exists in filesystem (owned by manjaro-xfce-settings)

You'll just need to use the mv command to rename that file so the manjaro-kde-settings package can install without conflicting with any other desktop environment that's already installed.

$ sudo mv /etc/skel/.xinitrc /etc/skel/.xinitrc.old

Open the Plasma Style settings app to change KDE over to a more Manjaro looking theme.

Open Plasma Style to change KDE's theme
Open Plasma Style to change KDE's theme

Select any theme you'd like. In this screenshot, we're using Breath2 Dark.

Select the Plasma Style you would like to use
Select the Plasma Style you would like to use

If you want to change the wallpaper, right click in any blank area on the desktop and click on "Configure Desktop."

Select Configure Desktop from the right click context menu
Select Configure Desktop from the right click context menu

Select your wallpaper and click OK. The default Breath2 wallpaper makes your desktop look very Manjaro themed again.

Select from any of the default wallpapers or add your own
Select from any of the default wallpapers or add your own

Conclusion

KDE provides a slick interface and all the desktop applications you could possibly need. In this guide, we learned how to install the KDE Plasma desktop environment on Manjaro Linux. We also saw various options for installing KDE applications, how to configure the desktop manager, and how to install additional Manjaro configuration and theming for KDE.

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