Basic controls

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Home icon grey.png   ▶ First time user ▶ Basic controls


Welcome new user! You have finally installed Kodi on your hardware, launched it, and then probably sat there for a few minutes scratching your head thinking "What is this"? This page will describe the commonly used screens and basic navigation around Kodi. Its aim is to allow you to become familiar with Kodi and prepare you for the upcoming setup pages.

This page will not describe how to load your media. That task is covered in subsequent pages. As with most pages of the wiki, this page assumes you are using the default skin Estuary. If you are using another skin, then you have run before learning to walk, so you should change back until you have at least set up Kodi.

Kodi has been designed around the 10 foot interface principle. This means that Kodi is best used with a remote control or keyboard while sitting on your couch watching TV. Mouse support is limited, and disabled in many skins.

Although this guide applies to all parts of Kodi, some portions have been based on the Video/Movies/TV Shows section of Kodi. To see the specific Basic Controls for Music, see Music Navigation & Playback

The following image is a screenshot of the Home Screen when Kodi launches. In this screenshot there is media in the library, but you may not have media in your library yet.

Power Options


Pressing S on the keyboard, or by selecting the Power icon in the top left corner of the home screen calls up the Power Options menu.

Depending on your hardware, the Power Options menu may have more or less options to that shown in the image.

The options on this menu are from top to bottom:

Exits Kodi to your operating system.
Power off system
Powers down your hardware
Custom Shutdown Timer
Kodi will shutdown the hardware at the end of the nominated countdown time. Enter the time interval in minutes.
Suspends your hardware.
Hibernates your hardware.
Restarts your hardware.
Log off <ProfileName> user
If using Profiles, the option to log out the current user and login as a new user is this option. <ProfileName> will display the name of the currently logged in Profile/User.


The Settings Icon in the top left of the screen provides access to the Kodi Settings pages. Most general use settings are contained in these pages. During your travels with Kodi, you will come across mention of the advancedsettings.xml file. This holds advanced Settings for Kodi and can be modified by the user.

For more information on the Settings pages,

See: Settings

For more information on the advancedsettings.xml file,

See: Advancedsettings.xml

Search & Filter


The Global Search function allows you to search your library, add-ons or some on-line sources for information.

Some of the pictured options will require installation of an add-on. Simply confirm the installation of the add-on when prompted.

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

There are also Search and Filter functions inside each of the Main Menu options which are accessible from the Sideblade Menu.

See: Advanced library filtering

Main Menu

All classes of media are separated into their own menu options. The default classes are listed below. Other skins allow you to add additional menu items for, say, Home Movies, Cartoons, Disney etc. See: Custom home items

It is possible to remove unwanted menu options and to re-add them at a later date. Very useful for those options that remain unused in your setup such as Live TV, Radio etc. See: Hiding Menu items

As each Main Menu option is selected, the Home Page will dynamically update with information relevant for the selected menu option. The full list of available menu options are as follows:

  • Movies - Enter the movie library and view "All movies, by title"
  • TV shows - Enter the TV show library and view "All TV shows, by title"
  • Music - Enter the music library and select how to view the library- artists, albums, songs, genre, etc
  • Music Videos - Enter the music video library and select how to view the library- artists, albums, songs, genre, etc
  • Live TV - With a PVR add-on, access Free To Air Television channels with an EPG (Electronic Program Guide) with Pause/Rewind/Fast Forward and Record facilities
  • Radio - With a PVR add-on, access Free To Air Radio Channels with an EPG (Electronic Program Guide)
  • Games - View your games
  • Add-ons - Access installed add-ons, such as 'Video-addons', Music add-ons, Program add-ons, etc
  • Pictures - Shows a basic file-based image viewer, as well as picture-related add-ons.
  • Vidoes - Allows you to access the file system of your video Sources. It includes file views, movie library, TV show library, music video library, playlists, and video related add-ons. Users can also use this to navigate to more nodes in the library, showing movies or TV shows by year, genre, actor, or even custom created nodes for specific people, moods, etc.
  • Favourites - Shows all your media that has been tagged as a Favourite in one easily accessible location.
  • Weather - Install a weather add-on to display weather forecasts for your chosen area

Home Screen

The term Home Screen can be used to mean the entire screen as depicted in the image in Section 1 above. If it is prefixed by a menu item, say Movies Home Screen or TV Show Home Screen, then it refers to the section to the right of the Main Menu. The following information refers to the latter.

The Home Screen contains a dynamic list of media relevant for the selected main menu item. The image above displays the following items:

Categories- also known as Nodes
A quick link to the available Movie Nodes. It allows you to navigate your Movie library via Genres, Title, Year, Country Actors, Directors, Studios, Sets, Tags and Recently added
Poster views
Displays movie titles that fit into the following criteria:
  • In-progress
  • Recently added
  • Unwatched movies
  • Random selection
  • Movie Sets
Quck icon selection of available Genre's in the library.
Quick icon selection of available Studios in the library.

The other classes in the main menu have a similar selection but designed and named to be most relevant for their class of media.

Sideblade Menu

EstuarySideBarMenu small.gif

The Sideblade Menu is central to browsing and organising your media, and is accessible from most screens in Kodi.

Note: The direction you need to press — or — is indicated by the Options arrow in the bottom left corner of the screen.

To invoke the sideblade, either:

  • press the key on your remote control
  • press the key on a keyboard
  • bring the mouse cursor to the left border of the screen

Available Options

The options in the Sideblade Menu vary. Shown below are options for the Movies section.

Change current library view.
Sort by
Select how the list of Movies/TV Shows/Episodes are sorted: e.g. Title, PlayCount etc
Once the Sort by is selected, choose the order: Ascending or Descending
Allows you to filter your list on certain criteria: e.g. Director, Actor, Ratings, Tags etc See: Advanced library filtering
All Videos / Watched / Unwatched
Global toggle that allows you to select what is shown in the list: All Videos, Watched or Unwatched videos only
Update library
Scans the library for newly added Movies, TV Shows, Episodes and Music Videos in the Video Library.
Go to playlist
Will open the currently playing Party Mode playlist
Bottom Icons- From Left to right
  • Pause
  • Stop
  • Skip to next video
  • Open Fullscreen mode: for video this returns you to the playing video, and for music this opens the Now Playing/Visualisation window.

Context Menu

The Context Menu is a critical menu that holds numerous options. It is available in most locations.

The Context Menu allows quick access to a limited set of functions relevant for the currently selected item.

After highlighting an item (eg a movie) the Context Menu can be invoked by:

  • long press the OK key on your remote control
  • Press letter C on a keyboard
  • right-clicking with the mouse

References to Context Menus are scattered throughout the wiki on relevant pages and can be found easily enough in Kodi. As there are many, many types of context menus, it would be uneconomical to list them all here.

The following are a few examples of the context menu.

Information Page


The Information Page is available for each title in the movies, TV show and Music Video library, and for each artist, album and song in the music library. An Information Page may also be available for each recording in the PVR library.

This screen will display the metadata for the title. A number of options are available along the bottom of the page. What is displayed will depend on the skin in use and which class of media is displayed (Movie, TV Show, Music Video, Music, PVR)

This is a Library only feature and will not work on titles not in the library. Attempting to perform this in the File Browser using Videos>Files will commence the scrape process for that individual title. See: Update Video Library

To access the Information Page, navigate to, and highlight the required title. Once highlighted use one of the following methods to view the Information Page:

  • Press i on a remote control
  • Press i on a keyboard
  • Using the Context Menu, select Information

Available option buttons. Requires scrolling left/right to access all buttons

Actors image
Clicking on the image of an actor will bring up a listing of other titles, in your library, the actor appears in
Pressing will provide additional information from online sources. If the ExtendedInfo add-on is not installed, you will be asked to install it
Commence playback of the title
Your Rating
Use this option to apply your personal rating to your media. The display of the User Rating depends upon the library view in use. It is displayed at the top of the Poster as a blue star containing the rating in Poster View. Each type of view displays it differently.
Commence playback of the Trailer. If no trailer is available, either the button will not be displayed or you will be offered to install the YouTube add-on to view online trailers.
Show Fanart
Full screen display of the fanart attached to the title
Same director
Displays a listing of other titles in the library from the same director
Movie Set
Open the Movie Set that the current movie belongs to. Only visible when the movie is part of a set.
Choose art
Settings page that allows the manual selection of Artwork
Allows you to rescan or rescrape the title. Useful if you have modified information in the NFO File, or you would like to re-scrape updated information from the site of the Information provider. See: Update Video Library
Highlighting this button will also display the path to the playable file that Kodi has recorded in the library database. Useful to track down duplicate entries.

Now Playing Controls

The Now Playing Controls are covered in more detail in the following two sections...

Music Player Controls
See: Music Navigation & Playback
Video Player Controls
See: Video Playback

On Screen Keyboard


When required, Kodi will display an on-screen keyboard to facilitate data entry. No special selection is required by the user as the keyboard will appear where required.

The on-screen keyboard can be used in the following ways:

  • Remote control
  • Physical keyboard
  • Mouse presses

Remote Controls

Kodi is best used with a Remote Control. Many types of Remote Controls can be used as listed on the following page.

See: Remote controls

Keyboard Controls

If you are using a physical keyboard, the following page lists available keystrokes to control Kodi.

See: Keyboard controls

Return to top

Next step: Video Library Main Menu

Next step: Music Library Main Menu