Plasma Desktop Scripting

Javascript Interaction With Plasma Shells

It is possible to control and interact with a Plasma user interface shell such as a plasma-desktop, plasma-mobile or plasma-bigscreen using ECMA Script (a.k.a JavaScript). This scripting mechanism exposes containments (Desktop Activities and Panels), widgets and various other aspects of plasma-desktop configuration using the widely known and used Javascript language. The QJSEngine is used for the runtime environment.

This document describes the API that is provided along with how to run such scripts in plasma-desktop.


Visit the examples page for more examples. Here’s a highlight:

Advanced example: Adding a widget to the System Tray

const widgetName = "org.kde.plasma.printmanager";

panelIds.forEach((panel) => { //search through the panels
    panel = panelById(panel);
    if (!panel) {
    panel.widgetIds.forEach((appletWidget) => {
        appletWidget = panel.widgetById(appletWidget);

        if (appletWidget.type === "org.kde.plasma.systemtray") {
            systemtrayId = appletWidget.readConfig("SystrayContainmentId");
            if (systemtrayId) {
               print("systemtray id: " + systemtrayId)
               const systray = desktopById(systemtrayId);
               systray.currentConfigGroup = ["General"];
               const extraItems = systray.readConfig("extraItems").split(",");
               if (extraItems.indexOf(widgetName) === -1) {
                   systray.writeConfig("extraItems", extraItems);

Running Scripts

There are three ways that scripts can be executed in plasma-desktop:

  • on first run: when plasma-desktop is started without any pre-existing configuration, any scripts in $APPDATA/plasma-desktop/init/ with a “.js” suffix are run. If there is more than one script, they are run sequentially in the alphabetical order of the file names.

  • on update: when plasma-desktop is started, it will check in bash $(kf5-config --path data)/plasma-desktop/updates/ with a “.js” suffix for scripts that have not yet been run. If there is more than one script which has not been run yet they will be executed serially in the alphabetical order of the file names.

    A record of which update scripts have been run is kept in the application’s config file in the [Updates] group. This means that if the plasma-desktop configuration file is removed, all the update scripts will be run again.

  • interactively: an interactive scripting dialog can be requested either via the KRunner window (Alt+F2, by default, or via the “Run Command” entry in various desktop menus) by entering “desktop console” as the search term. It can also be triggered directly via dbus with qdbus org.kde.plasmashell /PlasmaShell org.kde.PlasmaShell.showInteractiveConsole

    ECMA Script may be entered directly into this window for execution and output appears in the lower half of the window. Ctrl+E is a shortcut to run scripts, and scripts can be saved to and loaded from disk.

    Scripts from files can also be loaded using KRunner with “desktop console /path/to/file” or via dbus with qdbus-qt5 org.kde.plasma-desktop /MainApplication loadScriptInInteractiveConsole /path/to/file

Update scripts

Update javascript scripts can be added per-shell at the location share/plasma/shells/org.kde.plasma.desktop/updates/.

The API available from those config files is the same available from the normal init.js file. from there is possible to add or remove applets or modify config values.

Global theme dependent default setup for applets

The globale theme (also know as look and feel package) can contain JavaScript files to override the default configuration for applets, if distributions or system integrators want to have a different default setup. The JS files are located under the package folder, for instance /opt/kde5/share/plasma/look-and-feel/org.kde.breeze.desktop/contents/plasmoidsetupscripts/org.kde.plasma.analogclock.js

The API available is the same as the init.js script, with the addition of the global variables applet and containment that point to the instance of the applet and the instance of the containment the applet is in. In the case of a containment, the variables applet and containment will be the same.