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.