Creating Custom Input Dialogs and Message Boxes with Python GUI - tkinter

As a Python developer, you may often need to incorporate user interaction into your applications. One of the most common ways to achieve this is through the use of input dialogs and message boxes. While tkinter, the standard Python GUI library, provides built-in options for these dialogs and boxes, you can also create custom ones to suit your specific needs. In this article, we will explore how to create custom input dialogs and message boxes using tkinter.

Input Dialogs

An input dialog is a popup window that prompts the user to enter some value or information. By default, tkinter provides the simpledialog module, which includes the askstring, askinteger, and askfloat functions to create basic input dialogs for string, integer, and float inputs, respectively. However, if you require a more customized input dialog with additional fields or validation checks, you can create your own.

To create a custom input dialog, follow these steps:

  1. Import the necessary modules: tkinter and simpledialog.
  2. Create a new class that inherits from simpledialog.dialog.Dialog.
  3. Define the body() method to create the layout and fields of the dialog.
  4. Implement any validation checks in the validate() method.
  5. Return the entered value(s) in the apply() method.

Here's an example of a custom input dialog that prompts the user to enter their name and age, with some basic validation:

import tkinter as tk
from tkinter import simpledialog

class CustomInputDialog(simpledialog.Dialog):
    def body(self, master):
        tk.Label(master, text="Name:").grid(row=0)
        tk.Label(master, text="Age:").grid(row=1)

        self.name_entry = tk.Entry(master)
        self.age_entry = tk.Entry(master)

        self.name_entry.grid(row=0, column=1)
        self.age_entry.grid(row=1, column=1)

    def validate(self):
        name = self.name_entry.get()
        age = self.age_entry.get()

        if not name:
            tk.messagebox.showerror("Error", "Name field cannot be empty.")
            return False

        if not age.isdigit():
            tk.messagebox.showerror("Error", "Age must be a numeric value.")
            return False

        return True

    def apply(self): = self.name_entry.get()
        self.age = int(self.age_entry.get())

# Usage:
dialog = CustomInputDialog(root)
name =
age = dialog.age

In this example, we create a new class CustomInputDialog that inherits from simpledialog.Dialog. The body() method creates two labels and two entry fields (one for name and one for age) in a grid layout. The validate() method checks if the name field is empty and if the age field contains a numeric value. If the validation fails, an error message is displayed using tk.messagebox.showerror(). The apply() method gets the entered values and assigns them to the respective variables (name and age).

Message Boxes

Message boxes are popup windows that display information or prompt the user to make a decision. tkinter provides the messagebox module, which includes functions such as showinfo, showwarning, showerror, askquestion, askyesno, and many more, to create different types of message boxes. However, if you have specific requirements that are not met by the provided functions, you can create custom message boxes as well.

To create a custom message box, you can follow a similar approach as for input dialogs:

  1. Import the necessary modules: tkinter and messagebox.
  2. Create a new class or function to define the custom message box behavior and layout.
  3. Utilize the tkinter widgets and methods to create the desired message box design.
  4. Implement any necessary functionality based on your requirements.

Here's an example of a custom message box that asks the user to confirm their action:

import tkinter as tk
from tkinter import messagebox

class CustomMessageBox(tk.Toplevel):
    def __init__(self, parent, message):

        tk.Label(self, text=message).pack(pady=20)

        yes_button = tk.Button(self, text="Yes", command=self.yes_clicked)
        yes_button.pack(side=tk.LEFT, padx=10)

        no_button = tk.Button(self, text="No", command=self.no_clicked)
        no_button.pack(side=tk.LEFT, padx=10)

        self.result = False

    def yes_clicked(self):
        self.result = True

    def no_clicked(self):
        self.result = False

# Usage:
def delete_file():
    confirmation = CustomMessageBox(root, "Are you sure you want to delete this file?")
    if confirmation.result:
        # Perform the deletion

In this example, we create a new class CustomMessageBox that inherits from tkinter.Toplevel. The __init__() method sets the window title and size, and creates a label with the provided message. Two buttons, "Yes" and "No", are also created. Clicking the respective button sets the result attribute and closes the message box using self.destroy().

To use the custom message box, we define a function delete_file() that triggers the message box when called. If the user clicks "Yes", the file deletion operation can be performed.

Creating custom input dialogs and message boxes allows you to tailor the user interaction in your applications to fit your specific needs. With tkinter's powerful widgets and methods, you can create highly customized and user-friendly dialogs and boxes to enhance your Python applications.

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