KDE Visual Design Group/Gestures

Design Work for Gesture-based Input from Touchscreens and Touchpads in Plasma / Applications

Touchscreen gestures in Wayland will need to be implemented to provide user experience on par with that of other DEs and OSs. Keeping with KDE's principles, the default setup should be simple and intuitive, but the customization level should be high. For this reason, touchscreen and touchpad gestures should be identical by default, but can and should be distinguishable if the user wants to.

Keep in mid that here we are talking about "simple" gestures (swipe, pinch, rotate...), not "drawn" gestures (symbols, letters) which anyway are partially already implemented (although they do not seem to work at the moment).

For inspiration, the currently working Linux implementations of custom gesture software are:


Libinput (https://wayland.freedesktop.org/libinput/doc/latest/gestures.html), which is going to be used by Wayland, currently supports pinch and swipe with 2<=fingers<=4 (swipes with 2 fingers are usually reserved for scrolling). Atop of these gestures, additional possible gestures could be (as implemented by other OSs):

  • 5 finger gestures (?)
  • 4 finger tap (1,2,3 finger taps are already implemented)
  • swipes from outside border (Sailfish OS - like, VERY useful!)
  • rotation
  • Multifinger tap
  • Single finger edge drag (like Gnome)
  • Press and hold
  • Flick (like Gnome)

Another possibility is to combine gestures, e.g.: three finger tap, followed by three finger hold, three finger hold + tap. These are implemented by others (Unity, Gnome)

These are the default actions in other systems:


By default, Plasma should be able to assign gestures to Plasma commands (change desktop, present windows, Krunner, close windows, shade window, maximize, change window opacity...), audio commands (next, volume control, stop...) and custom commands/scripts. Shortcut customization based on application is also an important option (either based on the application under the mouse - better - or the active application).


Below are proposals for default Plasma gestures and application gestures, considering only basic gestures, thus excluding e.g.:

  • 5 finger gestures
  • 4-5 finger taps
  • "from outside" gestures
  • ...


Note left/right may need to be switched if one does not want natural scrolling-like behaviour.

Default Gestures for Plasma

Fingers Direction Gesture Action Screen/Pad/Both?
2 Pinch Out Both
2 Pinch In Both
3 Pinch Out Both
3 Pinch In Both
3 Swipe Left Both
3 Swipe Down Both
3 Swipe Right Both
3 Swipe Up Both
4 Pinch Out Desktop grid Both
4 Pinch In Show desktop Both
4 Swipe Left Next window (continuous window switcher, like keeping Alt pressed) Both
4 Swipe Down Both
4 Swipe Right Previous window (continuous window switcher, like keeping Alt pressed) Both
4 Swipe Up Present windows Both

Default Gestures for (Kirigami) Desktop Applications

Fingers Direction Gesture Action Screen/Pad/Both?
2 Pinch Out Continuous zoom out Both
2 Pinch In Continuous zoom in Both
3 Pinch Out Both
3 Pinch In Both
3 Swipe Left Next tab/page/image Both
3 Swipe Down Close tab Both
3 Swipe Right Previous tab/page/image Both
3 Swipe Up New tab Both
4 Pinch Out Both
4 Pinch In Both
4 Swipe Left Both
4 Swipe Down Both
4 Swipe Right Both
4 Swipe Up Both


Available (possibly optional) gesture actions

Window actions that should be available:

  • Change window
  • Close window
  • Present windows
  • Open specific application (krunner, dolphin...)
  • Maximize / minimize window
  • Shade / unshade
  • Fullscreen


Desktop actions that should be available:

  • Change desktop
  • Present desktops


Activity actions that should be available:

  • Change activities


Application actions that should be available:

  • Change tab
  • Open/close tab
  • Previous / next picture
  • Zoom in/out
  • Back / forward
  • Rotate


Audio/video actions available:

  • Next / previous song
  • Go forward / backward in song / video
  • Play / pause / stop


Misc actions that should be available:

  • Show app launcher/menu
  • Show app dashboard

This page was last edited on 19 April 2016, at 07:08. Content is available under Creative Commons License SA 4.0 unless otherwise noted.