This tutorial will quickly get you up and running with the latest Tk from Python, Tcl, Ruby, and Perl on macOS, Windows, or Linux. It provides all the essentials about core Tk concepts, the various widgets, layout, events and more that you need for your application.

Installing Tk

In this chapter, you'll get Tk installed on your machine, verify it works, and then see a quick example of what a Tk program looks like.

Though pretty much all macOS and Linux machines come with Tk installed already, it's often an older version (typically 8.4.x or an early 8.5). You want to make sure you've got at least version 8.5 (preferably 8.6) to use the new widget set, so if that's not already there, you'll want to install the newer version.

You'll need both Tk and bindings for the language you're using it from. Sometimes these are bundled together, sometimes not. Though there are lots of ways to install Tk, often the easiest is to download and install one of the versions provided by ActiveState (www.activestate.com).

Users of recent Python versions can avoid this intermediate step. Starting with Python 3.7, the binary installers available at python.org now include everything you need to use Tk out of the box. If you're using an earlier Python version, or want to compile it yourself, you'll need to install Tcl/Tk on your system to do so. In this case, ActiveState's distributions are still the recommended way to go.

Remember, this tutorial assumes you're using Python 3, not Python 2. There are some significant differences between the two, including module naming, which is the first thing you'll encounter when trying Tkinter.

ActiveState is a company that sells professional developer tools for dynamic languages. They also provide (for free) quality-controlled distributions of some of these languages, and happen to employ a number of core developers of these languages.

Installing Tk on macOS

Install Tk for Python (Tkinter) on macOS

The Easy Way

As noted, the easiest way to get Tk and Tkinter installed on your system is using Python's binary installer, available at python.org. Thanks to work by Python core developer Ned Deily, binary installers starting with version 3.7 include Tcl and Tk.

Remember, we're using Python 3.x here, not 2.x. As of this writing, the latest 3.9 installer (3.9.0rc1) includes Tk 8.6.8.

If, however, you're compiling Python yourself, you'll have more work to do. Read on...

Installing Tcl/Tk

The Tkinter module is included with core Python, of course, but you'll need a version of Tcl/Tk on your system to compile it against. Do yourself a huge favor and get the most recent version.

Whatever you do, do not rely on the Tk versions included in macOS! Older versions included Tk 8.4.x. Even more recent macOS versions include an early 8.5 version (8.5.9, released in 2010), which has several serious bugs that are easily triggered by Tkinter.

While there are several different ways to get Tcl and Tk onto your machine, the easiest and most recommended is to use the ActiveTcl distribution.

In your web browser, visit www.activestate.com/products/activetcl. Download ActiveTcl (as of this writing, it's version 8.6.9). Make sure to download an 8.6.x version, not something older! Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it. After it's downloaded, run the installer to get Tcl and Tk loaded onto your machine.

If you're a masochist and want to read about other Tcl/Tk options and variations and how they interact with Python, see the Mac Tcl/Tk page at python.org If you want to compile Tcl/Tk from source, see www.tcl.tk.

Compiling Python

When compiling Python from source, you may need to tell it where to find the ActiveTcl (or other) distribution. Otherwise, it might not find any Tcl/Tk distribution (so Tkinter won't work), or it could find the (ancient and broken) version of Tcl/Tk supplied with macOS.

If you're using Python 3.9 or newer, the build system will look in /Library/Frameworks, where ActiveState and other custom builds are typically installed.

% ./configure
% make

The initial "%" is the Unix shell prompt; you don't have to type it. The rest of it should all go on one line, without adding line breaks.

When compiling Python versions prior to 3.9, you will need to add two new command-line options to the initial ./configure in the Python build process. The first provides the locations of the Tcl and Tk include files, and the second provides the locations of the Tcl and Tk libraries. These are usually found in two different locations (i.e., Tcl.framework and Tk.framework). You therefore need to provide two locations for the include files and two for the libraries. Note the location of the quotes in the command below and the spaces separating the Tcl and Tk paths.

% ./configure --with-tcltk-includes="-I/Library/Frameworks/Tcl.framework/Headers -I/Library/Frameworks/Tk.framework/Headers" --with-tcltk-libs="/Library/Frameworks/Tcl.framework/Tcl /Library/Frameworks/Tk.framework/Tk"
% make

If you have multiple versions of Tcl/Tk installed on your system (and in the same frameworks), you may need to check inside the framework to ensure the most recent version is marked as the current one. If not, you may need to adjust your paths to point to the specific version (i.e., Versions/8.x/) within each framework.

When everything is built, be sure to test it out. Start Python from your terminal, e.g.

% ./python.exe

This should give you the Python command prompt. From the prompt, enter these two commands:

>>> import tkinter
>>> tkinter._test()

This should pop up a small window; the first line at the top of the window should say "This is Tcl/Tk version 8.6"; make sure it is not 8.4 or 8.5!

Get an error saying "No module named tkinter"? You're probably using Python 2. This tutorial assumes Python 3.

You can also get the exact version of Tcl/Tk that is being used with:

>>> tkinter.Tcl().eval('info patchlevel')

It should return something like '8.6.9'.

Verified install using ActiveTcl 8.6.9.8609.2 and Python 3.90rc1 source code from python.org on macOS 10.15.6.

Install Tk for Tcl on macOS

On macOS, the easiest way to get Tk is to install the "ActiveTcl" distribution from ActiveState, which includes Tcl, Tk, plus a number of other extension libraries.

In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com, and follow along the links to download the Community Edition of ActiveTcl. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it. Make sure you're downloading an 8.6.x version, not an older version.

Run the installer to get everything loaded onto your machine. When you're done, you'll find a shiny new application called "Wish 8.6" inside the Utilities folder of your Applications folder. This is the "wish" shell, an application that includes both Tcl and Tk.

If you launch that application, you'll see two windows popup (see below), one titled "Wish" which will contain your application, and the second titled "Console" which is where you can type in Tcl/Tk commands.

screen shot
The Wish application running on macOS.

For convenient use from the Unix command line, you'll also find a script installed as /usr/local/bin/wish8.6 which will launch the same application.

To verify the exact version of Tcl/Tk that you are running, from the Wish console type the following:

% info patchlevel

We want this to be returning something like '8.6.9'.

Verified install using ActiveTcl 8.6.9.8609.2 on macOS 10.15.6.

Install Tk for Ruby (Ruby/Tk) on macOS

While previous versions of macOS included both Ruby and Tk (albeit older 8.4 versions), since Snow Leopard this has no longer been the case.

Ruby/Tk is a binding that links against an existing but separate Tk library. So, to get the latest version of Tk for Ruby, we're going to have to do first download the latest 8.6.x Tcl/Tk version from ActiveState.

Install ActiveTcl

The "ActiveTcl" distribution from ActiveState contains the latest Tk, as well as the latest version of Tcl (which Ruby's Tk bindings use internally to talk to Tk). In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com, and follow along the links to download the Community Edition of ActiveTcl. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it. Again, make sure you're downloading an 8.6.x version.

Run the installer and everything will be loaded onto your machine.

Install Ruby

Next, you'll want to install Ruby. There are multiple ways to do this, as explained at www.ruby-lang.org. One option is to use a package manager like Homebrew. Once it's been installed (at /usr/local/bin/brew) you can install Ruby from a command prompt (e.g. Terminal) via:

% brew install ruby

The initial "%" is the Unix shell prompt; you don't have to type it.

That should put the Ruby binaries in /usr/local/opt/ruby/bin). You can check this via brew info ruby. Below, where we use gem or irb, make sure you're running the version you just installed. One way to do that is specifying the full path.

Install Ruby/Tk

Next, you'll need to download and install Ruby's Tk module, which is packaged as a Ruby gem. To do so, from the command prompt, run:

% /usr/local/opt/ruby/bin/gem install tk

The Tk gem will look for installed versions of Tcl and Tk in /Library/Frameworks, which is where ActiveTcl puts them.

To verify that everything worked, start up /usr/local/opt/ruby/bin/irb and type:

% require 'tk'
% Tk::TK_PATCHLEVEL

The first line should load Ruby/Tk; typically if there was a problem with finding Tcl/Tk it would show up here. The second line will return the version of Tk that you're running, which should be something like "8.6.9".

Verified install using ActiveTcl 8.6.9.8609.2 and Ruby 2.7.1 via Homebrew on macOS 10.15.6.

Install Tk for Perl (Tkx) on macOS

For modern Tk programming using Perl, the "Tkx" module is highly recommended, and we'll be using that here. It links against an existing but separate Tk library. So, to get the latest version of Tk for Perl, we're going to have to do first download the latest 8.6.x Tcl/Tk version from ActiveState.

This tutorial used to rely on the ActivePerl distribution from ActiveState, which bundled a full Tcl/Tk installation, as well as the Tkx module. Unfortunately, as of this writing, there is not a macOS version of ActivePerl available.

Install ActiveTcl

The "ActiveTcl" distribution from ActiveState contains the latest Tk, as well as the latest version of Tcl (which Perl's Tk bindings use internally to talk to Tk). In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com, and follow along the links to download the Community Edition of ActiveTcl. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it. Again, make sure you're downloading an 8.6.x version.

Run the installer and everything will be loaded onto your machine.

Install Perl

Next, you'll want to install Perl. There are multiple ways to do this, as explained at www.perl.org. One option is to use a package manager like Homebrew. Once it's been installed (at /usr/local/bin/brew) you can install Ruby from a command prompt (e.g. Terminal) via:

% brew install perl

The initial "%" is the Unix shell prompt; you don't have to type it.

That should put the Perl binaries in /usr/local/opt/perl/bin). You can check this via brew info perl. Below, where we use perl, make sure you're running the version you just installed. One way to do that is specifying the full path.

Install Tkx

Next, you'll need to download and install Perl's Tkx module. We can grab it from CPAN. Unfortunately, at present it will not install correctly due to errors in its tests. We can bypass the tests and install it anyway. To do so, from the command prompt, run:

% /usr/local/opt/perl/bin/perl -MCPAN -e "CPAN::Shell->notest('install','Tkx')"

The Tkx module will look for installed versions of Tcl and Tk in /Library/Frameworks, which is where ActiveTcl puts them.

To check that this worked, run this from the Unix command line:

% /usr/local/opt/perl/bin/perl -MTkx -e 'print Tkx::info("patchlevel");'

This will return the version of Tcl/Tk that it found. It should be something like "8.6.9".

Verified install using ActiveTcl 8.6.9.8609.2 and Perl 5.32.0 via Homebrew on macOS 10.15.6.

Installing Tk on Windows

Install Tk for Python (Tkinter) on Windows

Tkinter (and, since Python 3.1, ttk, which is the interface to the newer themed widgets) is included in the Python standard library. We highly recommend installing Python using the standard binary distributions from python.org. These will automatically install Tcl/Tk, which of course, is needed by Tkinter.

If you're instead building Python from source code, the Visual Studio projects included in the "PCbuild" directory can automatically fetch and compile Tcl/Tk on your system.

Once you've installed or compiled Python, test it out to make sure Tkinter works. From the Python prompt, enter these two commands:

>>> import tkinter
>>> tkinter._test()

This should pop up a small window; the first line at the top of the window should say "This is Tcl/Tk version 8.6"; make sure it is not 8.4 or 8.5!

Get an error saying "No module named tkinter"? You're probably using Python 2. This tutorial assumes Python 3.

You can also get the exact version of Tcl/Tk that is being used with:

>>> tkinter.Tcl().eval('info patchlevel')

It should return something like '8.6.9'.

Verified using Python 3.9.0rc1 binary installer from python.org (containing Tcl/Tk 8.6.9) on Windows 10 version 1809.

Install Tk for Tcl on Windows

On Windows, the easiest way to get Tcl/Tk onto your machine is to install the "ActiveTcl" distribution from ActiveState, which includes Tcl, Tk, plus a number of other extension libraries.

In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com, and follow along the links to download the Community Edition of ActiveTcl for Windows. Make sure you're downloading an 8.6.x version. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it.

Run the installer, and follow along. You'll end up with a fresh install of ActiveTcl, usually located in C:\ActiveTcl. From a command prompt, you should then be able to run a Tcl/Tk 8.6 shell via:

% C:\ActiveTcl\bin\wish

This should pop up a small window titled "wish", which will contain your application. A second, larger window titled "Console" is where you can type in Tcl/Tk commands. To verify the exact version of Tcl/Tk that you are running, type the following:

% info patchlevel

We want this to be returning something like '8.6.9'.

Type "exit" in the console window to exit. You may also want to add C:\ActiveTcl\bin to your PATH environment variable.

Verified install using ActiveTcl 8.6.9.8609-2 on Windows 10.

Install Tk for Ruby (Ruby/Tk) on Windows

Ruby/Tk is the binding for Tk. In the distant past, installing it on your Windows machine used to be pure hell, involving installing a separate version of Tcl/Tk, downloading a development environment like Visual Studio, downloading the Ruby source code, carefully compiling Ruby, ...

Luckily, it is now only mildly painful, thanks to the good folks behind RubyInstaller for Windows.

The one-click installer used to include everything you needed to run Ruby/Tk, including the underlying Tcl/Tk libraries. Unfortunately, Tk was removed from the Ruby standard library (stdlib) in version 2.4, and made available as an external gem. RubyInstaller followed suit.

Install ActiveTcl

First, you'll need to install Tcl/Tk.

On Windows, the easiest way to get Tcl/Tk onto your machine is to install the "ActiveTcl" distribution from ActiveState, which includes Tcl, Tk, plus a number of other extension libraries.

In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com, and follow along the links to download the Community Edition of ActiveTcl for Windows. Make sure you're downloading an 8.6.x version. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it.

Run the installer, and follow along. You'll end up with a fresh install of ActiveTcl in C:\ActiveTcl.

Install Ruby

Next, go to rubyinstaller.org. Download and run the installer, which will install everything into the directory you choose, e.g. C:\Ruby26.

Install Ruby/Tk

Next, you'll need to download and install Ruby's Tk module, which is packaged as a Ruby gem. To do so, open a command prompt and run:

% gem install tk

The initial "%" is the Unix shell prompt; you don't have to type it.

Tell Ruby Where to Find ActiveTcl

You're not done yet. If you try to use Tk from Ruby, it will complain that it can't find the underlying Tcl/Tk libraries. We'll need to do a couple of things to fix that.

First, Ruby needs to find the tcl86t.dll and tk86t.dll shared libraries. These are located in C:\ActiveTcl\bin. Make a copy of them somewhere Ruby can find them, e.g. C:\Ruby26\bin.

Second, the Tcl and Tk shared libraries will look for a bunch of initialization and other scripts which were installed as part of ActiveTcl. The best way to specify where to find them is to set the TCL_LIBRARY and TK_LIBRARY system environment variables.

This can be done in the Windows control panel (or search for "system environment variables" from the taskbar). In Windows 10, you'll find a button labelled "Environment Variables..." in the "Advanced" tab of "System Properties". Add these system variables:

TCL_LIBRARY     C:\ActiveTcl\lib\tcl8.6
TK_LIBRARY      C:\ActiveTcl\lib\tk8.6

If you're running a shell via command prompt you'll need to restart it to see those new additions.

To verify the version of Tk, start up your newly installed copy of 'irb' (which would have been installed in C:\Ruby26\bin), and type:

% require 'tk'
% Tk::TK_PATCHLEVEL

The first line should load Ruby/Tk. The second line will return the version of Tk that you're running, which should be something like "8.6.9".

Verified install using ActiveTcl 8.6.9.8609-2, RubyInstaller Ruby+DevKit 2.6.6-1 on Windows 10 version 1809.

Install Tk for Perl (Tkx) on Windows

For modern Tk programming using Perl, the "Tkx" module is highly recommended, and we'll be using that here. The easiest way to get set up is to use the "ActivePerl" distribution from www.activestate.com.

The "ActivePerl" distribution from ActiveState includes not only Perl, but also recent versions of Tk and Tcl (which Tkx uses internally to talk to Tk). In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com, and follow along the links to download the Community Edition of ActivePerl. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it.

Run the installer and everything will be loaded onto your machine. On our machine, perl.exe was installed at "C:\Perl64\bin"

To find out what version of Tk Perl and Tkx are using, run this from the Windows command prompt:

% perl -MTkx -e "print Tkx::info("patchlevel");"

We want this to be returning something like "8.5.13".

Versions of ActivePerl prior to 5.10 (and some of the first 5.10 builds) included earlier versions of Tcl/Tk (8.4.x rather than 8.5.x). Use a more recent version, and and verify that you do have Tk 8.5 or newer.

Verified install using ActivePerl 5.28 on Windows 10 version 1809.

Installing Tk on Linux

Install Tk for Python (Tkinter) on Linux/X11

Tkinter (and, since Python 3.1, ttk, which is the interface to the newer themed widgets) is included in the Python standard library. It relies on Tcl/Tk being installed on your system. Depending on how you install Python, this may not happen automatically.

Remember, we're using Python 3.x here, not 2.x.

You have several different options to get Python and Tkinter onto your machine. We'll show you two, using your distro's package manager, or compiling from source.

Option 1. Your Linux Distribution's Package Manager

Currently supported Linux distributions usually install a recent version of Python 3.x by default. If not, they have a package (.deb, .rpm, etc.) that you can install using their package manager. This is usually the easiest way to install Python.

However, after you're done installing Python, you should verify that Tkinter works correctly. Start up a Python shell (e.g. /usr/bin/python3) and verify the install (see below).

You may find that when you try to import tkinter that you get an error. Sometimes it will tell you that you need to install another package. If so, follow the instructions, and try again. It may also just give you Python's standard error message: "ModuleNotFoundError: No module named 'tkinter'".

If you're getting an error saying "No module named tkinter" (without the single quotes around the module name), you're probably using Python 2. This tutorial assumes Python 3.

Sometimes Linux distributions separate out their Tkinter support into a separate package. That saves installing the Tcl/Tk libraries for people who are using Python but not Tkinter. If so, you'll need to find and install this package, which will also ensure that an appropriate version of the Tcl/Tk libraries are installed on your system.

For example, running Ubuntu 20.04LTS, Python 3.8.2 is already installed. However, to use Tkinter, you need to install a separate package, named python3-tk:

% sudo apt-get install python3-tk

In this case, that package provides Tcl/Tk 8.6.x libraries to be used with Python.

Option 2. Install Tcl/Tk and Compile the Standard Python Distribution

If you'd like to use the standard source distribution from python.org, you can certainly do that.

But to do so, you'll need to get the Tcl and Tk include files and libraries loaded on your machine first. Again, while there are several ways to do that, the easiest is to download and install ActiveTcl.

Another option would be to install the Tk development package, e.g. tk8.6-dev via your package manager.

In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com/products/activetcl. Download the latest version of ActiveTcl for Linux. Make sure you're downloading an 8.6 or newer version. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it. After it's downloaded, unpack it, run the installer (sudo ./install.sh), and follow along. You'll end up with a fresh install of ActiveTcl, located in e.g. /opt/ActiveTcl-8.6.

Next, download the current Python 3.x source distribution from python.org, and unpack it. On your configure line, you'll need to tell it how to find the version of Tcl/Tk you installed. Then build as usual:

% ./configure --with-tcltk-includes='-I/opt/ActiveTcl-8.6/include'
       --with-tcltk-libs='/opt/ActiveTcl-8.6/lib/libtcl8.6.so /opt/ActiveTcl-8.6/lib/libtk8.6.so'
% make
% make install

If you installed tk8.6-dev via your package manager instead of using ActiveTcl, the include files should be found in /usr/include/tcl8.6, and the libraries libtcl8.6.so and libtk8.6.so should be in /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu.

Make sure to verify your install (see below).

Didn't work? There may have been an error compiling Python's tkinter code. To check, from the main Python source directory, try touch Modules/_tkinter.c (note the underscore) and then make to recompile it. Watch closely for error messages.

The most common thing is that the way you specified the Tcl/Tk include and libraries needs to be changed somehow. Or if you get messages that certain include files can't be found (e.g. X11/Xlib.h) you may need to install additional packages on your Linux distribution (e.g. apt-get install libx11-dev). Once you get it to compile without errors, don't forget to make install.

Verifying your Install

At the Python command prompt, enter these two commands:

>>> import tkinter
>>> tkinter._test()

This should pop up a small window; the first line at the top of the window should say "This is Tcl/Tk version 8.6"; make sure it is not 8.4!

If it gives you an error when you try to import tkinter (e.g. "If this fails your Python may not be configured for Tk"), something hasn't been set up correctly. If you compiled Python yourself, see above to check for compile errors.

Get an error saying "No module named tkinter"? You're probably using Python 2. This tutorial assumes Python 3.

You can also get the exact version of Tcl/Tk that is being used with:

>>> tkinter.Tcl().eval('info patchlevel')

It should return something like '8.6.9'.

Verified install using ActiveTcl 8.6.9.8609.2 and Python 3.90rc1 source code from python.org on Ubuntu 20.04LTS.

Install Tk for Tcl on Linux/X11

Using a Package Manager

Pretty much all Linux distributions have Tcl/Tk packages available via their package managers, e.g., apt. Usually there are a variety of packages, providing libraries, command-line tools, development options if you're building extensions, and many more. On Ubuntu and many other distributions, apt install tk8.6 should be enough to install /usr/bin/wish8.6, which you'll use to run your Tcl/Tk programs.

Using ActiveTcl

Another option is to install the "ActiveTcl" distribution from ActiveState, which includes Tcl, Tk, plus a number of other extension libraries.

In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com, and follow along the links to download the Community Edition of ActiveTcl for Linux. Make sure you're downloading an 8.6.x version. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it.

Unpack it, and run the installer (sudo ./install.sh), and follow along. You'll end up with a fresh install of ActiveTcl, located in /opt/ActiveTcl-8.6. You should then be able to run a Tcl/Tk 8.6 shell via:

% /opt/ActiveTcl-8.6/bin/wish8.6

This should pop up a window titled "wish8.6". To verify the exact version of Tcl/Tk that you are running, from the Wish prompt (in the terminal window) type the following:

% info patchlevel

We want this to be returning something like '8.6.9'. Type a control-D at the prompt in the terminal window to exit. You may also want to add /opt/ActiveTcl-8.6/bin to your Unix path.

Verified install using ActiveTcl 8.6.9.8609.2 on Ubuntu 20.04LTS.

Install Tk for Ruby (Ruby/Tk) on Linux/X11

To get Ruby/Tk working on Linux, we'll rely on your distribution's package manager. The package names and commands shown here are for Ubuntu, and may be different on your system.

Because Ruby/Tk is an add-on gem, it needs to be compiled on your system. That means we're going to need to install the development versions of the Tcl/Tk libraries (tk8.6-dev) as well as Ruby (ruby2.7-dev plus ruby2.7 for the command-line tools like irb and gem]). This will also ensure we have the necessary compilers, dependent libraries like X11, and so on.

% sudo apt install tk8.6-dev ruby2.7 ruby2.7-dev

The initial "%" is the Unix shell prompt; you don't have to type it.

Finally, you can install the Ruby/Tk binding with:

% sudo gem install tk

To verify that everything worked, start up irb and type:

% require 'tk'
% Tk::TK_PATCHLEVEL

The first line should load Ruby/Tk; typically if there was a problem with compiling it would show up here. The second line will return the version of Tk that you're running, which should be something like "8.6.10".

Verified install using tk8.6-dev 8.6.10-1, ruby2.7.0 on Ubuntu 20.04LTS.

Install Tk for Perl (Tkx) on Linux/X11

For modern Tk programming using Perl, the "Tkx" module is highly recommended, and we'll be using that here. The easiest way to get set up is to use the "ActivePerl" distribution from www.activestate.com.

The "ActivePerl" distribution from ActiveState includes not only Perl, but also recent versions of Tk and Tcl (which Tkx uses internally to talk to Tk). In your web browser, go to www.activestate.com, and follow along the links to download the Community Edition of ActivePerl. Note that you will need to create an account with ActiveState (no cost) to download it.

Run the installer and everything will be loaded onto your machine, in e.g. /opt/ActivePerl-5.28.

To find out what version of Tk Perl and Tkx are using, run this from the command line:

% perl -MTkx -e 'print Tkx::info("patchlevel");'

We want this to be returning something like "8.5.13".

Versions of ActivePerl prior to 5.10 (and some of the first 5.10 builds) included earlier versions of Tcl/Tk (8.4.x rather than 8.5.x). Use a more recent version, and and verify that you do have Tk 8.5 or newer.

Verified install using ActivePerl 5.28.1 on Ubuntu 20.04LTS.

The Obligatory First Program

To make sure that everything actually did work, let's try to run a "Hello World" program in Tk. While for something this short, you could just type it in directly to the interpreter, instead use your favorite text editor to put it in a file.

from tkinter import *
from tkinter import ttk
root = Tk()
ttk.Button(root, text="Hello World").grid()
root.mainloop()

Save this to a file named "hello.py". From a command prompt, type:

% python hello.py

Couldn't find hello.py? You might be looking in the wrong directory. Try providing the full path to hello.py.

package require Tk
grid [ttk::button .b -text "Hello World"] 

Save this to a file named "hello.tcl". From the wish shell, type:

% source hello.tcl

Couldn't find hello.tcl? You might be looking in the wrong directory. You can either give the full path to hello.tcl, or use Tcl's pwd and cd commands to see what directory you're in, and change to a different one.

require 'tk'
require 'tkextlib/tile'
root = TkRoot.new() 
button = Tk::Tile::TButton.new(root) {text "Hello World"}.grid
Tk.mainloop()

Save this to a file named "hello.rb". Start up [tk::inl "irb"], and from the command prompt, type:

% source "hello.rb"

Couldn't find hello.rb? You might be looking in the wrong directory. You can either give the full path to hello.rb, or use Ruby's Dir.pwd and Dir.chdir commands to see what directory you're in, and change to a different one.

use Tkx;
Tkx::grid( Tkx::ttk__button(".b", -text => "Hello, world" ) );
Tkx::MainLoop();

Note that there are two underscores between "ttk" and "button".

Save this to a file named "hello.pl". From a command prompt, type:

% perl hello.pl

Couldn't find hello.pl? You might be looking in the wrong directory. Try providing the full path to hello.pl.

Not working? Are you sure you're using an 8.5 or newer version of Tcl/Tk? See the install chapter...

screen shot
Our first program. Some work left to do before the IPO.