Adding a scrollbar to a group of widgets in Tkinter


You can only associate scrollbars with a few widgets, and the root widget and Frame aren’t part of that group of widgets.

There are at least a couple of ways to do this. If you need a simple vertical or horizontal group of widgets, you can use a text widget and the window_create method to add widgets. This method is simple, but doesn’t allow for a complex layout of the widgets.

A more common general-purpose solution is to create a canvas widget and associate the scrollbars with that widget. Then, into that canvas embed the frame that contains your label widgets. Determine the width/height of the frame and feed that into the canvas scrollregion option so that the scrollregion exactly matches the size of the frame.

Why put the widgets in a frame rather than directly in the canvas? A scrollbar attached to a canvas can only scroll items created with one of the create_ methods. You cannot scroll items added to a canvas with pack, place, or grid. By using a frame, you can use those methods inside the frame, and then call create_window once for the frame.

Drawing the text items directly on the canvas isn’t very hard, so you might want to reconsider that approach if the frame-embedded-in-a-canvas solution seems too complex. Since you’re creating a grid, the coordinates of each text item is going to be very easy to compute, especially if each row is the same height (which it probably is if you’re using a single font).

For drawing directly on the canvas, just figure out the line height of the font you’re using (and there are commands for that). Then, each y coordinate is row*(lineheight+spacing). The x coordinate will be a fixed number based on the widest item in each column. If you give everything a tag for the column it is in, you can adjust the x coordinate and width of all items in a column with a single command.

Object-oriented solution

Here’s an example of the frame-embedded-in-canvas solution, using an object-oriented approach:

import tkinter as tk

class Example(tk.Frame):
    def __init__(self, parent):

        tk.Frame.__init__(self, parent)
        self.canvas = tk.Canvas(self, borderwidth=0, background="#ffffff")
        self.frame = tk.Frame(self.canvas, background="#ffffff")
        self.vsb = tk.Scrollbar(self, orient="vertical", command=self.canvas.yview)

        self.vsb.pack(side="right", fill="y")
        self.canvas.pack(side="left", fill="both", expand=True)
        self.canvas.create_window((4,4), window=self.frame, anchor="nw",

        self.frame.bind("<Configure>", self.onFrameConfigure)


    def populate(self):
        '''Put in some fake data'''
        for row in range(100):
            tk.Label(self.frame, text="%s" % row, width=3, borderwidth="1",
                     relief="solid").grid(row=row, column=0)
            t="this is the second column for row %s" %row
            tk.Label(self.frame, text=t).grid(row=row, column=1)

    def onFrameConfigure(self, event):
        '''Reset the scroll region to encompass the inner frame'''

if __name__ == "__main__":
    example = Example(root)
    example.pack(side="top", fill="both", expand=True)

Procedural solution

Here is a solution that doesn’t use a class:

import tkinter as tk

def populate(frame):
    '''Put in some fake data'''
    for row in range(100):
        tk.Label(frame, text="%s" % row, width=3, borderwidth="1", 
                 relief="solid").grid(row=row, column=0)
        t="this is the second column for row %s" %row
        tk.Label(frame, text=t).grid(row=row, column=1)

def onFrameConfigure(canvas):
    '''Reset the scroll region to encompass the inner frame'''

root = tk.Tk()
canvas = tk.Canvas(root, borderwidth=0, background="#ffffff")
frame = tk.Frame(canvas, background="#ffffff")
vsb = tk.Scrollbar(root, orient="vertical", command=canvas.yview)

vsb.pack(side="right", fill="y")
canvas.pack(side="left", fill="both", expand=True)
canvas.create_window((4,4), window=frame, anchor="nw")

frame.bind("<Configure>", lambda event, canvas=canvas: onFrameConfigure(canvas))



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