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Plasma activities are a way of separating different workflows or types of operations with the computer depending on various factors (is it reading or writing? surfing the internet or watching videos? studying or playing? history or language? Latin or German? etc etc).

Each activity can have its own desktop widgets, wallpaper etc.

It would be interesting to be able to separate between applications, windows and files by opening them by default in different activities, instead of the present behavior where each is opened only in the current activity.

For example, at the present I have 4 different activities, depending on my present interests. I want some applications to be available in all activities (Firefox, Dolphin), some in just one activity (the terminal), and I would also like that some files are opened in a different activity, even if opened with the same application.

I am posting this in order to provide an answer, but I will edit the answer over time, because there are different degrees of complexity that I haven't yet completely mastered.

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  • To open an application (e.g. Firefox) in all activities is very simple. By default Plasma windows have a top-left button with the program logo named "More actions for this window" (if absent, it can be added in Window decoration settings). Open Firefox, right click that button and select "More actions" - "Configure special application settings"

enter image description here

Alternatively, that can be achieved directly in Settings - Window management - Window rules (type "rules" in Application launcher or Krunner) by creating a new rule, with a new property called "Activities" added with "All activities" option selected. Anyway, you should double-check in the rules list there so that the result should look like this:

enter image description here

  • Open an application (Konsole terminal) in just one activity: do the same as above but just select one activity. Select more than one if that's what you want for that application.

  • Open a certain file (e.g. an odt file, that should be opened in LO Writer) only in specific activity:

    • create a new rule, rename it to show the name of the file
    • add two new properties: Activities (setting the activity or activities you want, but with "Force" setting) and Window title, with "exact match" setting and the name of the window/file, like this:

enter image description here


Oddities and limitations:

  • Once an application or window is opened in a different activity than the current one, the switch to that activity is not done automatically, you have to go there yourself

  • When setting a window rule per-file (like odt, opened in LO) or per-address (like for a Firefox window), which in fact means "per window-title" but involves the use of a specific application, that should not contradict a rule relating to that application (Firefox, LO Writer) that applies to all windows of that kind. For example, to open a certain odt file in a specific activity, no rule should exist saying that the Writer should open in all or other activities; or: a window rule that opens a certain location in Dolphin into a specific activity will work only if tabs are not used in Dolphin or when the tab for that location is detached.

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