Modern Tkinter
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.


A treeview widget displays a hierarchy of items and allows users to browse through it. One or more attributes of each item can be displayed as columns to the right of the tree. It can be used to build user interfaces similar to the tree display you'd find in file managers like the macOS Finder or Windows Explorer. As with most Tk widgets, it offers incredible flexibility so it can be customized to suit a wide range of situations.

screen shot
Treeview widgets.

Treeview widgets are created using the ttk.Treeview class:

tree = ttk.Treeview(parent)

Treeview widgets are created using the ttk::treeview command:

ttk::treeview .tree

Treeview widgets are created using the Tk::Tile::Treeview class:

tree =

Treeview widgets are created using the new_ttk__treeview method, a.k.a. Tkx::ttk__treeview():

$tree = $parent->new_ttk__treeview;

Horizontal and vertical scrollbars can be added in the usual manner if desired.

Adding Items to the Tree

To do anything useful with the treeview, we'll need to add one or more items to it. Each item represents a single node in the tree, whether a leaf node or an internal node containing other nodes. Items are referred to by a unique id. You can assign this id when the item is first created, or the widget can automatically generate one.

Items are created by inserting them into the tree, using the treeview's insert method. To insert an item, we need to know where to insert it. That means specifying the parent item and where within the list of the parent's existing children the new item should be inserted.

The treeview widget automatically creates a root node (which is not displayed). Its id is the empty string. It serves as the parent of the first level of items that are added. Positions within the list of a node's children are specified by index (0 being the first, and end meaning insert after all existing children).

Normally, you'll also specify the name of each item, which is the text displayed in the tree. Other options allow you to add an image beside the name, specify whether the node is open or closed, etc.

# Inserted at the root, program chooses id:
tree.insert('', 'end', 'widgets', text='Widget Tour')
# Same thing, but inserted as first child:
tree.insert('', 0, 'gallery', text='Applications')

# Treeview chooses the id:
id = tree.insert('', 'end', text='Tutorial')

# Inserted underneath an existing node:
tree.insert('widgets', 'end', text='Canvas')
tree.insert(id, 'end', text='Tree')

Inserting the item returns the id of the newly created item.

# Inserted at the root, program chooses id:
.tree insert {} end -id widgets -text "Widget Tour"
# Same thing, but inserted as first child:
.tree insert {} 0 -id gallery -text "Applications"  

# Treeview chooses the id:
set id [.tree insert {} end -text "Tutorial"]       

# Inserted underneath an existing node:
.tree insert widgets end -text "Canvas"     
.tree insert $id end -text "Tree"

Inserting the item returns the id of the newly created item.

# Inserted at the root, program chooses id:
tree.insert('', 'end', :id => 'widgets', :text => 'Widget Tour')
# Same thing, but inserted as first child:
tree.insert('', 0, :id => 'gallery', :text => 'Applications')

# Treeview chooses the id:
item = tree.insert('', 'end', :text => 'Tutorial')

# Inserted underneath an existing node:
tree.insert( 'widgets', 'end', :text => 'Canvas')
tree.insert( item, 'end', :text => 'Tree')

Inserting the item returns an object for the item. This allows us to refer to the item later, e.g., as a parent in an insert call. To retrieve the id for the item, use the item's id method.

# Inserted at the root, program chooses id:
$tree->insert("", "end", -id => "widgets", -text => "Widget Tour");
# Same thing, but inserted as first child:
$tree->insert("", "0", -id => "gallery", -text => "Applications");

# Treeview chooses the id:
$id = $tree->insert("", "end", -text => "Tutorial");

# Inserted underneath an existing node:
$tree->insert("widgets", "end", -text => "Canvas");
$tree->insert($id, "end", -text => "Tree");

Inserting the item returns the id of the newly created item.

Rearranging Items

A node (and its descendants, if any) can be moved to a different location in the tree. The only restriction is that a node cannot be moved underneath one of its descendants for obvious reasons. As before, the target location is specified via a parent node and a position within its list of children.

tree.move('widgets', 'gallery', 'end')  # move widgets under gallery
.tree move widgets gallery end; # move widgets under gallery
tree.move('widgets', 'gallery', 'end'); # move widgets under gallery
$tree->move("widgets", "gallery", "end"); # move widgets under gallery

Items can be detached from the tree. This removes the item and its descendants from the hierarchy but does not destroy the items. This allows us to later reinsert them with move.

.tree detach widgets

Items can also be deleted, which does completely destroy the item and its descendants.

.tree delete widgets

To traverse the hierarchy, there are methods to find the parent of an item (parent item), its next or previous sibling (next item and prev item), and return the list of children of an item (children item).

We can control whether or not the item is open and shows its children by modifying the open item configuration option.

tree.item('widgets', open=TRUE)
isopen = tree.item('widgets', 'open')
.tree item widgets -open true
set isopen [.tree item widgets -open]
tree.itemconfigure('widgets', 'open', true); # or item['open'] = true
isopen = tree.itemcget('widgets', 'open');   # or isopen = item['open']
$tree->item("widgets", -open => "true");
$isopen = $tree->item("widgets", "-open");

Displaying Information for each Item

The treeview can display one or more additional pieces of information about each item. These are shown as columns to the right of the main tree display.

Each column is referenced by a symbolic name that we assign. We can specify the list of columns using the columns configuration option of the treeview widget, either when first creating the widget or later on.

tree = ttk.Treeview(root, columns=('size', 'modified'))
tree['columns'] = ('size', 'modified', 'owner')
ttk::treeview .tree -columns "size modified"
.tree configure -columns "size modified owner"
tree = {columns 'size modified'}
tree['columns'] = 'size modified owner'
$tree = $parent>->new_ttk__treeview(-columns => "size modified");
$tree->configure(-columns => "size modified owner");

We can specify the width of the column, how the display of item information in the column is aligned, and more. We can also provide information about the column's heading, such as the text to display, an optional image, alignment, and a script to invoke when the item is clicked (e.g., to sort the tree).

tree.column('size', width=100, anchor='center')
tree.heading('size', text='Size')
.tree column size -width 100 -anchor center
.tree heading size -text "Size"
tree.column_configure( 'size', :width => 100, :anchor => 'center')
tree.heading_configure( 'size', :text => 'Size')
$tree->column("size", -width => 100, -anchor => "center");
$tree->heading("size", -text => "Size");

What to display in each column for each item can be specified individually by using the set method. You can also provide a list describing what to display in all the columns for the item. This is done using the values item configuration option. It takes a list of values and can be provided when first inserting the item or changed later. The order of the list must be the same as the order in the columns widget configuration option.

tree.set('widgets', 'size', '12KB')
size = tree.set('widgets', 'size')
tree.insert('', 'end', text='Listbox', values=('15KB', 'Yesterday', 'mark'))
.tree set widgets size "12KB"
set size [.tree set widgets size]
.tree insert "" end -text Listbox -values [list "15KB" "Yesterday" "mark"]
tree.set('widgets', 'size', '12KB'); # or item.set('size', '12KB')
size = tree.get('widgets', 'size');  # or item.get('size')
tree.insert('', 'end', :text => 'Listbox', :values => ['15KB','Yesterday','mark'])
$tree->set("widgets", "size", "12KB");
$size = $tree->set("widgets", "size");
$tree->insert("", "end", -text => "Listbox", -values => "15KB Yesterday mark");

Item Appearance and Events

Like the text and canvas widgets, the treeview widget uses tags to modify the appearance of items in the tree. We can assign a list of tags to each item using the tags item configuration option (again, when creating the item or later on).

Configuration options can then be specified on the tag, applied to all items having that tag. Valid tag options include foreground (text color), background, font, and image (not used if the item specifies its own image).

We can also create event bindings on tags to capture mouse clicks, keyboard events, etc.

tree.insert('', 'end', text='button', tags=('ttk', 'simple'))
tree.tag_configure('ttk', background='yellow')
tree.tag_bind('ttk', '<1>', itemClicked)  
# the item clicked can be found via tree.focus()
.tree insert "" end -text button -tags "ttk simple"
.tree tag configure ttk -background yellow
.tree tag bind ttk <1> "itemclicked"
# the item clicked can be found via [.tree focus]
tree.insert('', 'end', :text => 'button', :tags => ['ttk','simple'])
tree.tag_configure('ttk', :background => 'yellow')
tree.tag_bind('ttk', '1', proc{itemclicked})
# the item clicked can be found via 'tree.focus_item'
$tree->insert("", "end", -text => "button", -tags => "ttk simple");
$tree->tag_configure("ttk", -background => "yellow");
$tree->tag_bind("ttk", "<1>", sub{itemClicked});
# the item clicked can be found via $tree->focus

The treeview will generate virtual events <<TreeviewSelect>>, <<TreeviewOpen>>, and <<TreeviewClose>>, which allow us to monitor changes to the widget made by users. We can use the selection method to determine the current selection (the selection can also be changed from your program).

Customizing the Display

There are many aspects of how the treeview widget is displayed that we can customize. We've already seen some of them, such as the text of items, fonts and colors, names of column headings, and more. Here are a few additional ones.

  • Specify the desired number of rows to show using the height widget configuration option.
  • Control the width of each column using the column's width or minwidth options. The column holding the tree can be accessed with the symbolic name #0. The overall requested width for the widget is based on the sum of the column widths.
  • Choose which columns to display and the order to display them in using the displaycolumns widget configuration option.
  • You can optionally hide one or both of the column headings or the tree itself (leaving just the columns) using the show widget configuration option (default is "tree headings" to show both).
  • You can specify whether a single item or multiple items can be selected by users via the selectmode widget configuration option, passing browse (single item), extended (multiple items, the default), or none.