This week in KDE: Annotations in Spectacle

This week we landed a feature you’ve been waiting a long time for: Annotations in Spectacle! Nicolas Fella implemented it and it will be available in Spectacle 20.12. There are a few bugs and rough edgs remaining, but we should have them smoothed out in time for the release in a few months. Thanks Nicolas!

Other New Features

The System Settings Bluetooth pages have been merged together into a single fancy new QML-based page with a much better user interface (Nicolas Fella, Plasma 5.20)

KRunner now retains the previously-visible text when closed and re-opened, so you can return super easily to the prior search if it was still relevant. If you find this annoying, you can turn it off, of course. 🙂 (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

Bugfixes & Performance Improvements

Improved the speed and performance of generating thumbnail previews for files and folders (Stefan Brüns, Dolphin 20.12)

Konsole is now quite a bit faster to launch (Martin Tobias Holmedahl Sandsmark, Konsole 20.12)

KRunner is now more reliable when performing mathematical calculations with long numbers when using a locale that assigns periods to separate the thousands (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

The System Settings KWin Scripts page now refreshes its view after a script is uninstalled (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

Canceling installing a new SDDM login screen theme no longer results in an empty dialog box mysteriously popping up (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

Fixed a bug that could prevent widgets installed using the “Get New [Thing]” window to not be updateable in Discover (Alexander Lohnau, Plasma 5.20)

Typing a path in the URL navigators throughout KDE software now automatically appends slashes to the end of the current folder name, as it did before (Noah Davis, Frameworks 5.74)

It’s once again possible to set global shortcuts that use symbols that must be accessed by holding down the shift key (e.g. Meta+! or Meta+&) (Jan Paul Batrina, Frameworks 5.74)

Opening the Tags location (tags:/) in Dolphin no longer eats up a ton of system resources while generating thumbnail preview images (Stefan Brüns, Frameworks 5.74)

Newly-installed or uninstalled items in the “Get New [Thing]” Window now appear or disappear as expected when a filter is applied (Alexander Lohnau, Frameworks 5.74)

User Interface Improvements

The artist and album text in Elisa’s Now Playing view is now clickable and will take you to the page for the clicked-upon artist or album (Stef Lep, Elisa 20.12)

Elisa’s remaining tracks indicator no longer changes the layout of the header area when it appears and disappears, and it smoothly fades in and out when doing so (Shantanu Tuschar, Elisa 20.12)

Dolphin’s “Open Terminal” feature now works on Windows (Alexander Lohnau, Dolphin 20.12)

The default size of Konsole’s main window has been increased a bit (Claudius Ellsel, Konsole 20.12)

The “Configure Desktop” menu item has been moved to the top of the menu and renamed “Configure Desktop and Wallpaper…” to help show you that it’s how you go about changing the wallpaper (me: Nate Graham, Plasma 5.20)

Yes I know this menu is pretty huge. 🙂 Simplifying it a bit is something we’re going to be working on soon.

How You Can Help

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Finally, consider making a tax-deductible donation to the KDE e.V. foundation.

41 thoughts on “This week in KDE: Annotations in Spectacle

    1. Personally, I like it as it is, regardless of the length. It’s clear and besides how often does one see this menu anyway?


    2. Independly from this comment i have the exact same thought. “Desktop & Wallpaper…” much better fits with size – “Configure Desktop and Wallpaper…” is now the only that long name which extends area of the menu for no good reason because its icon + “…” suggests it is all about configuration anyway


    3. We have a blanket policy that all menu items must begin with an action verb. So perhaps we could change “Configure” to something shorter, but we can’t get rid of the verb. Any ideas?


    4. That’s what we had before, but a lot of people didn’t figure out that he led to the place where you change the wallpaper. That’s why we changed it to add the word “wallpaper.”


  1. That’s really great about Spectacle, woo hoo! 🙂

    I was really curious to dig into the details about the improvement for the Dolphin thumbnail generation because it was very slow, and made Linux/KDE look very slow and plodding to my regular users. I see that the fix is a step in the right direction, but I would really love to see thumbnailing use all cores from a thread pool rather than just a single core. Then thumbnailing would fly.


  2. Wow, thank you for the spectacle annotations! I wanted it for a long time, and even today I again used ksnip instead of spectacle because of possibilities to mark some areas in a screenshot.


  3. Always looking forward to these wonderful posts! Thanks for all the great work.

    Btw, how does one install Dolphin on Windows? I don’t seem to be able to find a way.


  4. Please accept my (hopefully) constructive critique about new position of “Configure Desktop” and it’s prolonged title.
    1) “Configure Desktop” shouldn’t be on top. IMO it’s not the most frequent action for this menu, “Create New” is. So I guess it should be at the closest position for a user (on top). This it will match Dolphin’s menu more closely.
    My perfect order of menu items in separated sections (from top to bottom):
    – “Filemanager actions”: Create New, Paste, Paste Clipboard content, Undo, Refresh Desktop (maybe change icon style to match other)
    – “Direct desktop configuration: Icons (maybe rename it to “Icons layout”?), “Configure Desktop”, “Add widgets”, “Customize Layout” (not sure if we need separate actions “Add widgets”, “Configure Desktop” since “Customize Layout” panel also has them), Activities (again, it’s duplicated in “Customize Layout”)
    – “Other actions”: Show KRunner, Open with Dolphin
    – “Session actions”: Lock Screen, Leave
    2) With “Configure Desktop and Wallpaper” you’re “trying to hard” 🙂 Wallpaper is used only at desktop so for most use it’s probably obvious that you can change it in “Configure Desktop”.


    1. Same here!

      I prefer the “Create New” first and then the “Icons” settings and Paste something as it it is right now.
      The Desktop and wallpaper settings I use it so rarely that I would prefer it to be last as in other DEs or OSes like MATE or Windows.


    2. I also really dislike the new location of ‘configure desktop,’ for the same reason – ‘create new’ is something I use way more often and so IMO is better placed at the top. Don’t want to sounds whingey; so many great improvements landing all the time.


    3. The problem we were trying to solve is that a lot of users couldn’t figure out how to change the wallpaper. Evidently you weren’t one of them. 🙂 But you would be surprised at how many people don’t make the connection that changing the wallpaper is done in the desktop settings. That’s why we wanted to add the word “Wallpaper” to the menu item.


  5. Nice!!! Spectacle finally getting the annotation feature, that was the main and if I remember correctly, the only reason why I installed about 2 years ago Flameshot, but I stayed with it instead of Spectacle about 1 month, it’s nice, but Spectacle is much more complete (which is normal, given the work behind both of them), this will made of Spectacle a much better and more complete screenshot tool to me.

    The matter of its still malfunction under Wayland session is quite annoying, it still persists on Spectacle 20.08.1, sadly, but I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to fix it really soon, maybe for 20.12 as well? That would be awesome.

    What can I say apart of this? You’re really rocking so hard, specially with Plasma 5.20, I don’t remember an upcoming Plasma version release having me this excited and I become quite excited with every new release of Plasma (as you may already know, because I usually comment here every week on the new goodies and features you’re landing on the next stable Plasma release. Only a bit more than a month to have this really really promising new Plasma 5.20 released.

    As always, give huge thanks to everyone who make this amazing software possible and a special mention to you Nate, you really become such a figure on this amazing community that KDE is :).

    Hoping you’re everyone fine and healthy, both you and your beloved ones, families, friends, etc, take care, because that’s really really important, obviously.

    Receive a huge, sincere, fresh and virtual hug ^^.


    1. Yes, Spectacle not working right with HiDPI on Way’and drives me crazy too. It’s being actively worked on, but it turns out to be a hard problem to solve.

      Hope you’re well too!


  6. Simple by default, powerful when needed.

    Now that we have the “Powerful when needed”, how are you going to fit the “simple by default” in Spectacle GUI?

    Same question about the desktop menu, it has a ton of options but even changing the wallpaper is something I presume that most people do from time to time.

    Going back to simple by default powerful when needed, right now the desktop menu is again super powerfull (you can access almost everything from it) but is lacking on the simple.

    I was watching akademy and during the consistency talk the word simplicity (or similar) appeared quite often, yet the last few months have been all about adding powerfulness, for example by allowing to filter the devices in the device notifier.

    Cheers and awesome work!


  7. Nicolas Fella on fire this week! Great updates, I am looking forward to this!

    I for one quite like the “Configure Desktop and Wallpaper” one. I am sure there was a at least once where I wanted to change a wallpaper and it took me a little while until it clicked.
    Just out of curiosity I looked at how Windows called it and apparently, if you right click on Windows it’s called “Personalize”. I guess that would also be an option for it to be short and already familiar with folks coming from windows. For me personally I kind of like “Configure Desktop and Wallpaper”


  8. Thanks a lot for the new annotations feature which was something missing in Spectacle, and a reason for me to use Ksnip instead. I hope this new feature will be no less than Ksnip, including the ability to open and annotate existing image files as well, so that I won’t need two apps for the same task any longer.


    1. Opening existing images is something provided by ksnip, not the kImageAnnotator which just takes a image that the parent has provided and annotates it. I guess spectacle needs to provide an option to open an existing image which then can be edited in kImageAnnotator.


    2. Maybe this would be better if implemented in Gwenview, since Spectacle is to take screenshots and not to edit image files


  9. Great, as usually. Congrats. 🙂

    But… Could Elisa be able to read more, not all and every one, of course, just the most relevant, ID3 and vorbis tags?
    I guess that most of us use Kid3 and maybe Picard to tag our music, and I think that tags like “COMPOSER”, “WORK” (title of the work, when pertinent, not of individual songs, sections, movements, whatever), “PERFORMER” or “CONDUCTOR” are important enough in a music catalogue to be taken into account. Strawberry, for instance, does it; at least COMPOSER and PERFORMER, not sure about the rest, I dont have it at hand now.
    Would be too much work to improve Elisa’s tags support?


  10. Hello, Nate.

    Recently moved to Kubuntu 20.40 where I found mouse pointer size, yakuake and krunner fixed under Wayland. But one very important thing is still not fixed: it is keyboard layout tray indicator which is not displaying current keyboard layout.

    Here is but report:

    Also some very old movement on phabricator:

    Any chance to get the process off the ground, please? I just want to start working under Wayland at last very much.



  11. I’d want to comment something for KDE’s goals. Sorry if this is not the proper medium, but I have not an accountin KDE’s bug tracker, and besides, this is not about a bug nor failure but a plea.
    I’d like to *beg* you, KDE devs, to improve, in serious, the voice synthesizer. Visually impaired people like me rely a lot in screen and document readers. I specially miss good TTS for Okular, Falkon (I use a great TTS plugin in Firefox) and Akregator. The current one is awful, sounds like Stephen Hawking’s synthesizer in the 80s. Is very, very, disagreeable having to use it several hours a day almost every day. Please try it for yourselves during a couple of weeks if don’t believe me.
    Please take accessibility seriously, I know we are a tiny minority of users and we can’t ask for much but we are one of the most vulnerables. There are great solutions for Windows an Android, the voice synthesizer in Android is the same for Google Maps, maybe it sounds a bit artificial still, but we all must agree that it’s perfectly understandable and bearable. If you want to test in diverse texts, please try the addon Read Aloud in Firefox -uses Google’s voices- in webpages like newspapers, blogs, Wikipedia, etc, and tell me if you don’t agree 200% with me.
    I think most of the people like me would have enough with something like that. But if you don’t have enough manpower or think that impaired users are too few to invest on us the necessary work to develop a decent voice synthesizer, could at least it be possible to install in some way Google’s or IBM’s (these are almost perfect) voices, like in Android, even if we had to download them manually, so that KDE’s TTS would use those synthesizers instead of the native one?

    Thanks for your reading, and please, don’t abandon impaired people.

    Liked by 1 person

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