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Configuring Element Desktop

Element Desktop is a Matrix client for desktop platforms with Element Web at its core.

You can download Element Desktop for Mac, Linux or Windows from the Element downloads page.

See for the Element Web and Desktop documentation.

Aligning Element Desktop with your ESS deployed Element Web

By default, Element Desktop will be configured to point to the homeserver, however this is configurable by supplying a User Specified config.json.

As Element Desktop is mainly Element Web, but packaged as a Desktop application, this config.json is identical to the config.json ESS will configure and deploy for you at https://<element_web_fqdn>/config.json, so it is recommended to setup Element Desktop using that file directly.

How you do this will depend on your specific environment, but you will need to ensure the config.json is placed in the correct location to be used by Element Desktop.

  • %APPDATA%\$NAME\config.json on Windows

  • $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/$NAME/config.json or ~/.config/$NAME/config.json on Linux

  • ~/Library/Application Support/$NAME/config.json on macOS

In the paths above, $NAME is typically Element, unless you use --profile $PROFILE in which case it becomes Element-$PROFILE.

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Customising your desktop configuration

You may wish to further customise Element Desktop, if the changes you wish to make should not also apply to your ESS deployed Element Web, you will need to add them in addition to your existing config.json.

You can find Desktop specific configuration options, or just customise using any options from the Element Web Config docs.

Using the Element Desktop MSI

The Element Desktop MSI can be used to install Element Desktop to all desired machines in your environment, unlike the usual installer, you can customise it's install directory (which now defaults to Program Files).

You can customise the installation directory by installing the MSI using, or just generally configuring the APPLICATIONFOLDER:

msiexec /i "Element 1.11.66.msi" APPLICATIONFOLDER="C:\Element"

MSI and config.json

Once users run Element for the first time, an Element folder will be created in their AppData profile specific to that user. By using Group Policy, Logon Scripts, SCCM or whatever other method you like, ensure the desired config.json is present within %APPDATA%\Element. (The config.json can be present prior to the directories creation.)