Desktop Integration

Qt applications behave well in the user's desktop environment, but certain integrations require additional, and sometimes platform specific, techniques.

Useful Classes

Various classes in Qt are designed to help developers integrate applications into users' desktop environments. These classes enable developers to take advantage of native services while still using a cross-platform API.


Methods for accessing common desktop services


Access to screen information on multi-head systems


Icon for an application in the system tray

Opening External Resources

Although Qt provides facilities to handle and display resources, such as common image formats and HTML, it is sometimes necessary to open files and external resources using external applications.

QDesktopServices provides an interface to services offered by the user's desktop environment. In particular, the openUrl() function is used to open resources using the appropriate application, which may have been specifically configured by the user.

System Tray Icons

Many modern desktop environments feature docks or panels with system trays in which applications can install icons. Applications often use system tray icons to display status information, either by updating the icon itself or by showing information in "balloon messages". Additionally, many applications provide pop-up menus that can be accessed via their system tray icons.

The QSystemTrayIcon class exposes all of the above features via an intuitive Qt-style API that can be used on all desktop platforms.

Desktop Widgets

On systems where the user's desktop is displayed using more than one screen, certain types of applications may need to obtain information about the configuration of the user's workspace to ensure that new windows and dialogs are opened in appropriate locations.

The QDesktopWidget class can be used to monitor the positions of widgets and notify applications about changes to the way the desktop is split over the available screens. This enables applications to implement policies for positioning new windows so that, for example, they do not distract a user who is working on a specific task.

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