Maxing Out Kate

little Kate
what I mean by Kate isn’t this little Kate

This is my personal notes to get the max out Kate (text editor) which basically comes down to two things: 1. get to know some features of Kate(which is obvious thing to do) 2. activate some plugins (which comes preinstalled with Kate).

1. Some Kate features I use a lot:

Code completion

The completion uses language keyword and previously typed words. You can hit Ctrl + Space to invoke code completion (in majority cases you won’t need to).

code completion in CSS
code completion in CSS script
it's even smart enough to code complete for CSS property.
it’s even smart enough to code complete for CSS property.


Sessions is how Kate lets you keep more than one list of files and GUI configuration around. You can have as many named sessions as you want, and you can use unnamed or anonymous sessions for files you want to use only once. Kate can save the list of open files, and the general window configuration in the session. With sessions, Kate also allows you to open any number of instances of the application instead of just one as it used to do as the default behavior.


The bookmarks feature allows you to mark certain lines, to be able to easily find them again. Right-click on the line > Bookmarks > Set Bookmarks. Alternatively click on the line and hit Ctrl + B


It will provides lookup definition with Ctags. Requires Ctags (or Exuberant Ctags) to be available in your system, of course. Ctags is a programming tool that generates an index (or tag) file of names found in source and header files of various programming languages. The GUI window atm is a bit strange to use, I think. I never generate the tags using this plugin. Usually I generate the tags in console, from there I use that generated index(tags) using this plugin.

Ctag window
Ctag plugin window in Kate


Emmet -previously known as Zencoding -is text expanding feature for HTML and CSS stuff. It’s very useful if you’re doing web development. In the menu bar can be accessed via Tools > Scripts > Emmet. By default don’t have keyboard shortcut attached to them. In my case, I assign it to Ctrl + Alt + Return(Enter) to expand abbreviation and Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Return(Enter) for wrap the abbreviation with tag. Hit Emmet link above if you want to know more about Emmet.

Split view

You can split the Kate editor as many times as you like and in either vertical/horizontal direction. Each frame has its own status bar and can display any open document.

Just choose View -> Split View -> Split [ Horizontal | Vertical ] or

Ctrl + Shifl + L to split vertically and Ctrl + Shift + T to split horizontally

Terminal toolview

It’s a built-in terminal or console in Kate. Hit Terminal (blackbox) icon in Kate to activate. It automatically ‘cd’ to the location of the opened file. I think it’s nice not having to leave the text editor to just opening command-prompt.

Kate's Terminal toolview
The built in Terminal Emulator is a copy of the KDE Konsole terminal application

Document toolview

The documents list displays a list of all documents currently open in Kate. Modified files will have a small floppy disk icon on their left to indicate that state.


File system browser plugin

The Filesystem Browser is a folder viewer, allowing you to open files from a displayed folder in the current frame.


Commenting/uncommenting out code

Select the codes and hit Ctrl + D for commenting/uncommenting code. Kate is smart enough to adjust which syntax to use to comment out your code based on code language you use.

Quick open document

Ctrl + Alt + O to bring up screen that list all opened file and then click file you want to open.


Save all

Ctrl + L for save all document in Kate

Open with any application

You can choose to open file that you already open in Kate to be opened using another program. In menu click File > Open with > choose program to open the file.

open with any application

2. Activating some plugins

Kate default setting is kinda meh (like not enabling tab etc etc). Activate these plugins below to make it better. You can do this activation in Setting > Configure Kate > Application > Plugins > then checkmark the plugin you want to activate.

Multiline Tab Bar plugin

By default or at least that’s how I remember it, Kate doesn’t tab bar(facepalm). This plugin will add a tab bar with multiple rows in Kate’s main window. It’s slightly better IMO than Tab Bar (similar plugin in Kate to add tab bar)

Snippets toolview

It’s a code snippet management thingy


Symbol viewer

this plugin extract and show reference symbols from source code.

Kate's symbol viewer window

Python plugins

This actually collection of various Kate plugins written in Python. One of plugins I like in this collection is Jedi autocompletion (the completion is only for Python script; very useful for coding in Python).


KDE Help Center Handbook


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