Kate’s Tab Bar Plugins

If you check Kate’s plugin list, you will recognize that there are two different tab bar plugins available. The first one is Tabify. This plugin adds a standard KDE tab bar to the top of Kate’s main window:

The plugin shows the same entries as the “Documents” tool view on the left. With drag&drop, the tabs can be moved around. In KDE SC <= 4.6.2 this plugin is called Tabify. In KDE SC >= 4.6.3 the name is simply “Tab Bar”.

There is another plugin, called Tab Bar Extension in KDE SC <=4.6.2 (and Multiline Tab Bar in KDE SC >=4.6.3) that also adds a tab bar to Kate’s mainwindow:

As can be seen, this tab bar can be configured to span multiple lines in order to show more documents at the same time. Further, there are features like tab highlighting so that a document can quickly be found when working on a huge list of documents. There are more options in the configure dialog of this plugin (click small configure button on the right). In KDE 4.7, it is possible to change to highlight a tab by clicking on it with the middle mouse button and clear the highlight with CTRL+middle-click.

There have been requests to remove the non-standard plugin from Kate and just provide the standard conform Tabify plugin. I was about to do that, but then, we do have users that use the multiline tab bar. And as it works well and provides some features the default tab bar does not have, I’ve finally decided to keep it.

It is worth to mention that there were quite a lot of voices in the past requesting a tab bar. It was even requested to remove the “Documents” tool view, listing all the documents. However both tab bar plugins are not able to provide easy access to the opened documents, if you have e.g. 50 documents opened. Hence, the Documents tool view will remain the default, just as it always was in Kate’s life :)

24 thoughts on “Kate’s Tab Bar Plugins

  1. > There have been requests to remove the non-standard plugin
    > from Kate and just provide the standard conform Tabify plugin.
    > I was about to do that, but then, we do have users that use
    > the multiline tab bar.

    That’s right ;-)

    > And as it works well and provides some features the default
    > tab bar does not have, I’ve finally decided to keep it.

    And also, it’s more space-efficient, even if you just use a single row.

  2. I’d love to be able to pin some documents from the document list to the tabbar ! Some kind of favorites or frequently used documents in a project (css file in a web project, etc)… And many thanks for this great editor :)

  3. From the first time I used Kate I thought that the document list eats many space in the window. It’s opened by default and one doesn’t have an option to hide it by default. I love the tabbar, but you are right about it’s not appropiate for many opened documents. But all people don’t have many documents opened in Kate. Maybe a pop-up menu would be better, in my humble opinion.

  4. This triggers another interesting discussion: the visibility of non official plugins. How about creating an official place to showcase kate plugins? Can be as simple as a wiki where each developer can link their own webpages/repos?

    1. Yes, right now, Kate does not have platform where everyone can upload plugins. The only official places are
      1. the Kate git module
      2. kde-apps.org

  5. I’ve been using Kate for a long time and I’m currently using Tab Bar for its multi-line setup and extra configuration options.

    One thing that has bugged me for a long time is that, regardless of the tab plugin, I have not been able to assign keyboard shortcuts to switching tabs, so I always need to select the tab manually with the mouse to change it. Currently, ctrl-tab and ctrl-shift-tab just handle indentation instead of switching tabs (like every other tabbed application). Am I missing how to get this set up or am I the only one that wants this functionality?

      1. thank you for your great work so far, but PLEASE give us the option to use ctrl + tab to change tabs.. it’s standard everywhere and it is very efficient to change tabs that way. also there is the “alt + 1” or “alt + 2” or any other number which also switches tabs.. i just tried kate and thought wow what a great editor, and then I found out I cannot change tabs efficiently =(

      2. oh, it can be done through shortcuts.. at least the part of it (ctrl + tab). sorry for that. but it would still be nice though if we could switch between tabs with “alt + [number]”

  6. Would be great if Tabify allows browsing the next/previous tab using the tab order, not the file opening order.

  7. Can you make the next-previous buttons switching tabs in the order they are arranged, not in the order they were opened. Thanks :-)

  8. You can cycle through the multiline TabBar in Kate using the keyboard combinations Alt + → and Alt +←.

    This may be a feature of the KDE window manager, rather than within Kate itself. I’m not smart enough to know whether that is true though. In any event, when I saw this post, I started pressing keyboard combinations to see whether any existed that could cycle through the tabs in Kate. Lo and behold, when I pressed the aforementioned keys, the magic happened.

    I’m using Kate version 3.12.3 on PCLinuxOS 2014 with kernel 3.12.18 PAE.

    1. The cycle order can be changed using the left side tab ‘Documents’, there you can right click and change the sort by ‘opening order’.

      1. Now, ‘opening order’ is NOT what we want. We want the option to change the sort order to ‘tab alignment’ or whatever.

  9. I really like the tree-style “Documents” side-bar (in the “File Tree” plugin). It makes it easy to see exactly where my open files are and enables quick, intuitive, stable navigation between open files. This tree view of my documents has been nice and stable since I first started using Kate around the beginning of the KDE4 era.

    Before everything changed with the post-KDE4 upgrades (whatever collective term there is for it), the File Tree was a plugin and, after setting up Kate almost a decade ago, I never had to worry about other views of my open documents. Other views either didn’t exist or were disabled, and I was happy with my Kate setup.

    With the post-KDE4 changes, there’s suddenly a new tab bar. While it’s nice to add new features, this one really doesn’t work for me. For my purposes, the new tab bar is redundant (I already have the perfect document switcher with the File Tree plugin), confusing (Can anyone tell me how it orders tabs? It seems to be doing something unstable depending on file name, location, and opening order), and inflexible (stuck at a minimum of 160 pixels per tab, can’t be moved, can’t rearrange tabs, etc).

    Does anyone know how I can disable the new tab bar and stick with the plugin I’ve been using for years? I couldn’t find it anywhere in the plugins or Kate’s settings. I’m using Kate version 15.12.1.

    If this is the wrong place to ask, can someone kindly point me to the right place? Thanks!

    1. In Kate: Settings > Show Tabs. This way, you can hide the tabbar. In addition, just enable the Documents sidebar, and you are back to the behavior you always had. You may want to do a Sessions > Save Session, to make it the default (for unnamed sessions).

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