Kodi’s interface and controls

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Revision as of 14:03, 30 July 2020 by RobbieGibson (talk | contribs) (Re-added 'intro', 'SidebladeMenu', 'ContextMenu' and 'InformationPage' section tags)
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Home icon grey.png   ▶ First time user ▶ Basic controls

Kodi is designed to have a 10-foot interface. For best results, use Kodi on a TV operated from a couch with a remote control, not with a keyboard and mouse.

This page explains how to use Kodi’s menu and home screen, using the default skin, Estuary. If you are using a different Kodi skin, you can change back. The interface for the music library and video libraries have their own pages.

1 Kodi’s home screen and menu

When you first run Kodi, you will see the Power, System and Search buttons in the top-left corner. Kodi’s main menu is under these buttons. When a library is highlighted in the main menu, content of that kind is shown on the home screen to the right.

If you are not at the main menu, you can usually make a sideblade menu appear by pressing on a remote control or keyboard, or by moving the mouse cursor to the left edge of the screen.

1.1 Power


Click the Power button or press S on the keyboard to bring up the Power options. The options available here will vary depending on your device.

Close Kodi and return to the operating system.
Power off system
Turn off your computer.
Custom Shutdown Timer
Turn off your computer after waiting a set time (in minutes).
Put your computer to sleep.
Tell your computer to hibernate.
Restart your computer.
Log off <username> user
If you log in to Kodi with a profile, this will log you out.

1.2 System

Main Page: System

Most of Kodi’s system settings are found here. Advanced users can create and modify Kodi’s advancedsettings.xml file for more options.

1.3 Search


Click the Search button to search in your library or your add-ons. You can also search on YouTube and The Movie Database.

Some of the search options will ask you to allow Kodi to download and install an add-on.

See: Add-on:Global Search
See: Add-on:YouTube
See: Add-on:ExtendedInfo Script

You can search within one library, by typing in the Filter field in the sideblade menu. The sideblade menu is not available when the main menu is open - you must click to select the library first.

  • The Filter will only filter the selected class of media, so using the filter in Movies will only return results in the Movies library.
  • The Filter only works when you have a list of media displayed. If you do not have a list of media to filter, then the filter will return a Not Found result.
See: Advanced library filtering

1.4 The main menu

Open Kodi’s settings and different media libraries from the main menu. Some custom skins let you add extra menu items.

You can remove menu items and add them again later. See: Hiding menu items.

When a library, like Movies or Music, is selected, the home screen on the right will show that kind of content. You can browse movies and categories of movie on the home screen, or you can click the menu item to see a list of all content of that type. Menu options are:

  • Movies – See all movies in the video library, sorted by title.
  • TV shows – See all TV shows in the video library, sorted by title.
  • Music – See all music in the music library. You can sort by genre, artist, album, song, or year.
  • Music Videos – See all music videos in the video library. You can sort by genre, artist, album, song, director, studio, or tag.
  • Live TV – With a Personal Video Recording (PVR) add-on, you can watch free-to-air TV with an Electronic Program Guide (EPG). Live TV can pause, record, rewind, and fast forward.
  • Radio – With a Personal Video Recording (PVR) add-on, you can listen to free-to-air radio with an Electronic Program Guide (EPG).
  • Games – Only available in Kodi v18 Leia and later. See your games in the file manager.
  • Add-ons – See a list of installed add-ons, sorted by type (Video add-ons, Music add-ons, Program add-ons). Here you can install add-ons from the official Kodi repository. See: Add-ons
  • Pictures – See your picture albums in an image viewer, and any related add-ons.
  • Vidoes – See all videos and video add-ons. This item has even more nodes to filter content – for example, by year or actor – and you can make custom nodes and playlists.
  • Favourites – Show all items tagged as favourite.
  • Weather – See the weather forecast for your chosen area.

1.5 The home screen

The home screen dynamically changes to show results for the highlighted menu item, and lets you browse different categories. As an example, here is what you will see when the Movies library is selected.

Categories (or Nodes)
A quick link to the available categories, or nodes. View your movie library by genre, title, year, country, actor, director, studio, set, tag, and date added.
Movie posters
See movies that fit certain labels:
  • In progress
  • Recently added
  • Unwatched
  • Random
See movies of a particular genre.
See movies by studio.

2 The sideblade menu

EstuarySideBarMenu small.gif

The sideblade menu is accessible from most screens in Kodi except the main menu. You can make it appear by pressing on a remote control or keyboard, or by moving the mouse cursor to the left edge of the screen.

The sideblade menu is divided into View options and Actions.

As an example, here is what you will see on the Movies sideblade menu.

View options
Choose how Kodi shows the selected media.
Sort by
Choose how the list is sorted.
Choose if the list is ascending or descending.
Lets you filter the list to search for items.
All Videos / Watched / Unwatched
Choose if Kodi shows all items, watched items, or unwatched items.
Update library
Scan the video library for new items.
Go to playlists
Open the party mode playlist.
Player icons
  • Pause
  • Stop
  • Go to next item
  • Open the Now playing screen.

3 The context menu

The context menu gives you quick access to a few key functions. The context menu items change, depending what you have selected.

To see the context menu:

  • on a remote control, long press the OK key
  • on a keyboard, press C
  • right-click with the mouse

Here are some example context menus.

4 Information


Every music video, TV show, and movie has an Information page, which shows the title’s metadata. There are several options on the bottom of the page, depending on your chosen skin, and the type of video selected.

NOTE: This feature only works for files that have been added to a library. Choosing the Information page for a file in the file browser that has not been added to a library, will perform a data scrape for that title.

See: Updating a video library.

To open a title’s Information page, highlight the title, then:

  • Press i on a remote control or a keyboard
  • Open the context menu and choose Information

Some of the options available are:

Actor’s portrait
Show other titles in the library with the same actor.
Installing the ExtendedInfo add-on will show extra actor information from online sources.
Play the title.
Your Rating
Rate the title.
Play the Trailer from The Movie Database. If no trailer is found, either the button will not be displayed or you will be offered to install the YouTube add-on to view online trailers.
Show Fanart
View full screen fanart for the title.
Same director
Show other titles in the library with the same director.
Movie Set
Show any movie sets (series) that the movie is part of. Only shown if the movie is part of a series.
Choose art
Choose Artwork for the title.
Re-scan or re-scrape the title. Useful if you have changed information in the NFO File, or if you want to re-scrape for updated information from the Information provider.
See: Updating video libraries.
Highlighting this button will display the path to the playable file in Kodi's library database. Useful to find duplicate entries.

5 Playback controls

For playback controls, see the relevant wiki page.

See: Music navigation
See: Video playback

6 On-screen keyboard


Kodi shows an on-screen keyboard when needed, which can be used to type by clicking with a remote control or mouse.

If a physical keyboard is connected, you can still type with that.

7 See also

7.1 Remote controls

Kodi is primarily designed for the home theatre using the 10-foot user interface principles controlled with a remote control. Alternatively a (wireless) keyboard can be used.

7.2 Keyboard controls

Kodi can be controlled with a keyboard using hotkeys. This page tells you what hotkey commands can be used, and where they can be used.

7.3 Favourites

Favourites is a simple, but useful feature that allows you to gather a selection of different items into one easily accessible location on the Main Menu. It allows quick access to commonly used items.

7.4 File Manager

The File Manager allows the maintenace of files from within Kodi on platforms that have no underlying and easily accessible operating system. It will allow you to perform functions such as Move, Copy and Delete to name a few.

7.5 Profiles

Profiles allow users to save all of settings as a profile and change them at the touch of a button. It also allows you to grant access to specific folders and network shares based on the profile being used. This is ideal for systems that have multiple users. It works much the same as setting up individual users on your home computer.

Return to top

Next step: Video Library Main Menu

Next step: Music Library Main Menu