Working with Listboxes, Comboboxes, and Dropdown Menus in Python GUI - tkinter

Python GUI (Graphical User Interface) allows developers to create interactive desktop applications with ease. It simplifies the process of designing and implementing GUI elements such as listboxes, comboboxes, and dropdown menus. In this article, we will explore how to work with these elements using the tkinter library in Python.


A listbox is a GUI widget that displays a list of items from which users can select one or more options. Let's see how to create and work with listboxes in tkinter.

Creating a Listbox

To create a listbox in tkinter, we need to import the necessary modules and instantiate a tkinter window object. Then, we can use the Listbox() function to create the listbox.

import tkinter as tk

window = tk.Tk()

# Create a Listbox widget
listbox = tk.Listbox(window)


Adding Items to the Listbox

To populate the listbox with items, we can use the insert() method. The insert() method takes two arguments: the index position at which to insert the item and the item itself.

# Add items to the Listbox
listbox.insert(0, "Apple")
listbox.insert(1, "Banana")
listbox.insert(2, "Orange")

Retrieving Selected Items

To retrieve the selected items from the listbox, we can use the curselection() method. This method returns a tuple containing the indices of the selected items. We can then iterate over the indices and use the get() method to retrieve the corresponding item.

# Get selected items from the Listbox
selected_items = [listbox.get(index) for index in listbox.curselection()]


A combobox, also known as a dropdown list or a drop-down menu, is a GUI element that combines features of both listboxes and entry widgets. Users can select an option from a list or enter a custom value. Here's how to work with comboboxes in tkinter.

Creating a Combobox

To create a combobox in tkinter, we need to import the necessary modules and instantiate a tkinter window object. Then, we can use the Combobox() function from the ttk module to create the combobox.

import tkinter as tk
from tkinter import ttk

window = tk.Tk()

# Create a Combobox widget
combobox = ttk.Combobox(window)


Adding Items to the Combobox

To populate the combobox with items, we can use the ['values'] attribute. This attribute takes a list of items as its value.

# Add items to the Combobox
combobox['values'] = ["Red", "Green", "Blue"]

Retrieving Selected Value

To retrieve the selected value from the combobox, we can use the get() method.

# Get selected value from the Combobox
selected_value = combobox.get()

Dropdown menus are commonly used GUI elements that allow users to choose an option from a list. In tkinter, we can create dropdown menus using the Menu() function. Let's see how to work with dropdown menus in tkinter.

Creating a Dropdown Menu

To create a dropdown menu in tkinter, we need to import the necessary modules and instantiate a tkinter window object. Then, we can use the Menu() function to create the dropdown menu.

import tkinter as tk

window = tk.Tk()

# Create a dropdown menu
dropdown_menu = tk.Menu(window)


Adding Options to the Dropdown Menu

To add options to the dropdown menu, we can use the add_command() method. This method takes the label and command as arguments.

# Add options to the dropdown menu
dropdown_menu.add_command(label="Option 1", command=callback_function)
dropdown_menu.add_command(label="Option 2", command=callback_function)

Handling Selection

To handle the selection of an option from the dropdown menu, we need to define a callback function. This function will be executed when an option is selected.

# Define a callback function
def callback_function():
    print("Option selected")

Working with listboxes, comboboxes, and dropdown menus in Python GUI - tkinter provides us with powerful ways to create user-friendly applications. By understanding the basics of these GUI elements, we can enhance the interactivity and functionality of our desktop applications using Python.

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