There is a variety of "notebook" widgets available for Tcl/Tk.

The term "notebook" can mean many things, but in TCL world it particularly refer to a kind of widget. A notebook widget has a row of tabs, like a card index. When one of the tabs is clicked, it is "raised", and the page associated with the tab is displayed. This type of widget is very popular in GUI applications (e.g. the tabbed web browser Firefox).

The notebook widget shipped with TK since 8.5 is ttk::notebook. Besides that, many other GUI packages also offer notebook widgets. Please read below for details.

There is also a Personal Wiki application called Notebook: see Notebook App.

Docs can be found at and

  • The IWidgets command "notebook" is slightly different:

See docs at and

  • MegaWidget package, by Jeff Hobbs contains one. Jeff reports on the MegaWidget package page that this package is not yet 100% updated for changes in Tcl/Tk 8.4.
  • The Tkcon application, also by Jeff Hobbs, uses a simple but effective notebook format for displaying multiple consoles. The notebook is not provided as standalone code: you will need to extract it from the Tkcon source yourself.
  • obTcl for Tcl 7.[456] has one
  • rnotebook has one in pure Tcl/Tk with with full resizability

A recent article on comp.lang.tcl gave a comparison by the author, who was looking for some specific features. Sure wish it was easier to reference Google group articles

Rohan Pall Wow, this page is popular ;) So here's my two cents: I keep examples of each little Tcl/Tk component. This way I don't forget how to do something. Here is my BWidgets NoteBook example. If I remember correctly, I think I learnt this from Bryan Oakley in a comp.lang.tcl newsgroup posting.

BWidget is an excellent package.

The code has been tested with BWidget 1.4.1 on

  • Windows98 the first release, not second edition
  • a custom version of Linux (means I don't remember what I did to it ;)
  package require BWidget

  set nb [NoteBook .nb -side top]
  $nb insert 0 foo -text "foo"
  $nb insert 1 bar -text "bar"

  set pane [$nb getframe foo]
  label $pane.hello -text "hello world"
  pack $pane.hello -fill both -expand 1

  set pane [$nb getframe bar]
  button $pane.fizz -text testing
  pack $pane.fizz -fill both -expand true

  pack $nb -fill both -expand 1
  $nb raise foo

Michael Jacobson Oct 8, 2002 ~ I was trying to get the BWidget NoteBook to work with a popup menu displayed on the active tab when you right clicked on the tab. I thought I would document how to do it below.

 package require BWidget

 ## create a notebook with 2 text panes
 NoteBook .n
 .n insert 0 text1 -text Text1
 .n insert 1 text2 -text Text2
 foreach panel {text1 text2} {
        set pane [.n getframe $panel]
        text $pane.t
        pack $pane.t -fill both -expand 1
 pack .n
 .n raise text1

 ## make a popup menu for the tabs (just add commands)
 menu .popup -tearoff 0 -activeborderwidth 0
 .popup add command -label "mess 1" -command [list puts "in mess 1"]
 .popup add command -label "mess 2" -command [list puts "in mess 2"]
 .popup add separator
 .popup add command -label "mess n" -command [list puts "in mess n"] 

 ## bind right mouse button to the popup menus
 .n bindtabs <Button-3> [list popup .popup %X %Y]

 proc popup {win X Y pane} {
        # check to see if current click is on the top tab
        if {[string equal [.n raise] $pane]} {
                tk_popup $win $X $Y

The Tile notebook provides a <<NotebookTabChanged>> virtual event, to be followed typically by [pathname index current] to determine the specific tab selected.

HaO 2015-06-30: One may also use the managed widget path [pathname select]:

pack [::ttk::notebook .n] -fill both -expand true
foreach tabs {Edit Check Close} {
    ::ttk::entry .n.[string tolower $tabs]
    .n add .n.[string tolower $tabs] -text $tabs
# bind after tabs are created to avoid calls in creation
bind .n <<NotebookTabChanged>> tabChanged
proc tabChanged {} {
    if {[.n select] eq ".n.edit"} {
        # If edit page raised, always clear the entry widget
        .n.edit delete 0 end
        .n.edit selection clear

Do any notebook implementations allow interaction with sub-elements of the tabs? For example the "Eclipse" IDE organizes its editing tabs with a grey X which turns red when the mouse moves over it, and on which you can click to kill that tab. Alternatively, Firefox has a red X on the far right hand side of the tab area, but separate from the tabs themselves. You can click on that to close the frontmost tab. (escargo 29 Nov 2006 - I believe this was true for Firefox up to version 1.5, but changed in version 2.0.)

It appears as if the Tile notebook doesn't support either of these approaches.

It also does not handle what happens when there is not enough room for all the tabs Firefox allows multiple rows or scrolling buttons (BLT tab widget allows dragging of the tabs with the middle button).

Would it not be possible to change the style for individual tabs rather than for the notebook as a whole ?

2011/05/22 Aud – Actually, I think it might be possible to code something like this. If you modify the Notebook.Tab layout to include a 'close button' element, then you can modify the code binded to <Button-1> on the TNotebook class to detect a click on the close element with the help of %W identify %x %y. This wasn't immediately obvious to me, but when I went snooping around the binds for a few Ttk classes, I discovered a gem that made it click, (try info body ttk::scrollbar::Press in wish :). Of course, I haven't tested this yet, though I really hope it works.

Aud So I was too curious to just leave it. Turns out it works. :) Here's an example:

set image [image create photo -format gif -data {R0lGODlhBwAHAIABAP8AAP///
ttk::style element create close_button image $image -height 14 -width 14 -sticky e

ttk::style layout TNotebook.Tab { -sticky nswe -children {
        Notebook.padding -expand 1 -sticky nswe -children {Notebook.label
        -expand 1 -sticky nesw -side left close_button -side right}}}

ttk::notebook .test
ttk::frame .test.frame_a
ttk::frame .test.frame_b
.test add .test.frame_a -text "Frame A"
.test add .test.frame_b -text "Frame B"
pack .test

set script {
        if {[%W identify %x %y] == "close_button"} {
                puts "Hurrah! Close tab [%W index @%x,%y] plz."

bind TNotebook <Button-1> "$script\;[bind TNotebook <Button-1>]"

See also A tiny notebook

LV So, does anyone have an example of the Tile notebook widget? In particular, something that runs a command when the tab is selected.

ET Here is small BWidget notebook program that was a response to a post on clt. It is an example where tabs have a close box right side image, a popup menu for the tabs (with close and move tab commands), and uses the mouse wheel to scroll between tabs (put the mouse pointer over any tab and use the wheel). The close1 image now has an alpha channel. It makes the area around the X transparent, so it shows the canvas color behind it (image built using gimp tool). This code needs BWidget 1.9.13 or later (circa 2018).

Edit: changed to include a nested notebook in the 7th tab and a proc to set the bindings, and changed improper use of a proc called close - to closetab

Here's a screenshot:


package require Tk
package require BWidget 1.9.13 ;# for right side images in tabs
wm geom . 877x161+92+213
catch {console show ; console eval {wm geom . 69x24+15+6}}

#normal and active, must be same size right side images

#here's with an alpha channel
set close1 [image create photo -data {

set close2 [image create photo -data {

proc main {} {
    global nb close1 close2
    set ::Widget::_theme 1 ;# undocumented feature ??, will use ttk::frame for tab container frame
    set nb [NoteBook .nb1 -side top -bd 1  -font {{consolas bold italic} 17} -homogeneous 0 -arcradius 8 -bg grey45]
    bindings $nb 1  ;# create context menu and mousewheel bindings
    foreach tab {notebook tiletable dragdrop2 ver extra1 extra2 notebook2} { ;# generate 7 tabs, a text and 5 buttons + nested notebook
        $nb insert end $tab -text "   $tab.tcl  " -rimage $close1 -ractiveimage $close2 \
                -rimagecmd [list closetab $nb] -activeforeground red -createcmd [list created $tab] -raisecmd [list raised $nb $tab]
    set pane [$nb getframe notebook] ;# this one gets a text widget in the frame
    text $pane.hello  -font {{comic sans MS} 20}
    $pane.hello insert end  "hello notebook\nhere is some text"
    pack $pane.hello  -fill both -side top -expand 1
    foreach {tab fill} {tiletable both   dragdrop2 y   ver x   extra1 none   extra2 both} { ;# rest are just some buttons
        pack [ttk::button [$nb getframe $tab].foo -text "$tab-button" \
                -command [list puts "$tab button pushed"]]  -fill $fill -expand true
    $nb raise notebook 
# add a nested NoteBook inisde notebook2 
    set pane [$nb getframe notebook2]
    set nb2 [NoteBook $pane.nb -side top -bd 1  -font {{consolas bold italic} 12} -homogeneous 0 -arcradius 8 -bg grey45]
    bindings $nb2 2
    foreach tab {a b c d e f g h i j} { ;# generate some tabs
        $nb2 insert end $tab -text "   $tab.tcl  " -rimage $close1 -ractiveimage $close2 \
                -rimagecmd [list closetab $nb2] -activeforeground red -createcmd [list created $tab] -raisecmd [list raised $nb2 $tab]
        pack [label [$nb2 getframe $tab].label -text "this is tab $tab"] -fill both -expand true
    $nb2 raise a


proc bindings {nb n} {
    catch {bind ${nb}.c <MouseWheel> [list wheel $nb %D]
        bind    ${nb}.c <Button-4>         [list wheel $nb 1]  ;# on linux, mousewheel maps to but 4 and 5
        bind    ${nb}.c <Button-5>         [list wheel $nb -1]
    } ;# if this fails, well no mouse wheel support bind to .c canvas with tabs
    pack $nb -fill both -expand 1
    #       make a popup menu for the tabs
     menu .popup$n -tearoff 0 -activeborderwidth 0
    .popup$n add command -label "close tab"           -command [list closetab $nb]
    .popup$n add separator
    .popup$n add command -label "move tab to front"   -command [list moveit $nb 0]
    .popup$n add command -label "move tab to end"     -command [list moveit $nb end]
    #       bind right mouse button to the popup menus
    $nb bindtabs <Button-3> [list popup $nb .popup$n %X %Y]

proc wheel {args} {
    lassign $args nb dir
    set cur [$nb raise]
    set index [$nb index $cur]
    if { $dir >= 0 } {
        if { [incr index -1] >= 0 } {
            $nb raise [$nb pages $index]
            $nb see [$nb  raise]
    } else {
        if { [incr index] < [llength [$nb pages]] } {
            $nb raise [$nb pages $index]
            $nb see [$nb  raise]
proc created {args} {
#   puts "created args= |$args| " ;# first time (only) it's raised
proc raised {pathname args} {
    if [catch {
        foreach page [$pathname pages] {
            if { [$pathname raise] eq $page } {
                $pathname itemconfigure $page -background white
            } else {
                $pathname itemconfigure $page -background grey85
    } err_code] {
        puts $err_code

proc popup {pathname win X Y pane} {
#   also raise on right click
    $pathname raise $pane
    tk_popup $win $X $Y
proc closetab {pathname args} {
    set pane [$pathname raise] ;# current pane
    set index [$pathname index $pane]
    $pathname delete $pane
    if { [incr index -1]  < 0} {
        set index 0
    if [catch {
        $pathname raise [$pathname pages $index] ;# activate and see first one to left or first one
        $pathname see [$pathname pages $index  ] ;# This will fail if < 0
    } err_code] {
        puts "$err_code $index"
proc moveit {pathname where args} {
    set pane [$pathname raise] ;# current pane
    $pathname move $pane $where
    $pathname see $pane