Setting up the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment on Arch Linux

Learn how to set up Arch Linux with KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment: update packages, install core and additional packages, configure the desktop, and customize it. Enhance your experience with common applications and explore optional customizations for a personalized workflow.

Setting up the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment on Arch Linux


Arch Linux is a popular and lightweight distribution known for its simplicity and customizability. If you're a fan of clean and modern desktop environments, KDE Plasma 5 is an excellent choice. In this blog post, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of setting up Arch Linux with the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment. Let's dive in!


Before we begin, ensure that you have the following prerequisites:

  1. A computer or virtual machine with Arch Linux installed.
  2. Basic knowledge of the GNU/Linux command line.


Update existing packages

To start, update your system packages and repositories by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo pacman -Syu

This ensures that your system is up to date with the latest software versions.

Install core packages

To install KDE Plasma 5, use the pacman package manager:

sudo pacman -S plasma-desktop

This command will install the core KDE Plasma 5 desktop packages.

Install display manager package

A display manager allows you to log in and manage your graphical desktop environment. Install the SDDM (Simple Desktop Display Manager) package:

sudo pacman -S sddm

Enable the display manager to start on boot by running:

sudo systemctl enable sddm.service

Reboot your system, and you should see the login screen for SDDM.

Install additional packages

To enhance your KDE Plasma 5 experience, you can install additional packages such as the KDE applications and utilities:

sudo pacman -S plasma-meta

This command installs a collection of recommended KDE packages, including various applications and utilities.

Configure desktop environment

After installing KDE Plasma 5, you may want to customize its appearance and behaviour. Access the KDE System Settings by clicking on the "K" menu icon and selecting "System Settings." Here, you can configure various aspects of your desktop environment, including themes, desktop effects, window behaviour, and more.

Install common applications

To make your KDE Plasma 5 setup complete, you may want to install some commonly used applications. Here are a few examples:

  • Web browser: sudo pacman -S firefox
  • Office suite: sudo pacman -S libreoffice-fresh
  • File manager: sudo pacman -S dolphin
  • Multimedia player: sudo pacman -S vlc

Make optional customizations

Arch Linux provides a highly customizable environment. If you want to explore further customizations, you can install additional themes, icon sets, and widgets from the KDE Store or other external sources. Visit the KDE Store website to discover a wide range of community-created themes and extensions.


You have successfully set up Arch Linux with the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment. Arch Linux offers a powerful and minimalistic foundation, while KDE Plasma 5 provides a feature-rich and visually appealing desktop experience. With this combination, you can create a personalized and efficient workflow that suits your needs. Enjoy exploring the vast world of Arch Linux and KDE Plasma 5!