5 Best Ways to Get Rid of the Python Tkinter Root Window

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πŸ’‘ Problem Formulation: When working with Tkinter in Python to create GUI applications, developers often need to either temporarily hide or permanently destroy the main window (root window) without ending the program. This requirement arises in scenarios where we may want to display a splash screen or navigate to a different part of the application. This article outlines five methods to manage the visibility or existence of the Tkinter root window effectively.

Method 1: Utilize the withdraw() method

The withdraw() method is a simple way to hide the root window temporarily without destroying it, which allows the window to be displayed again later using the deiconify() method. This is particularly useful when you need to hide the main window while a dialog is active or when creating a splash screen.

Here’s an example:

import tkinter as tk

root = tk.Tk()
# Code to set up widgets goes here

# Hide the root window
root.withdraw()

# More application logic can go here

# And later, to show the root window again:
root.deiconify()

root.mainloop()

Output: The root Tkinter window becomes invisible when the script runs, and reappears when deiconify() is called.

This code first creates a Tkinter window and sets it up with widgets, if any. It then hides the window using withdraw(), which makes the root window disappear from the screen without closing the program. Later, you can restore the window with deiconify(), allowing the application to continue interacting with the user.

Method 2: Apply the iconify() method

The iconify() method minimizes the root window to the system’s taskbar. This can be useful when you want to temporarily remove the window from view but still indicate to the user that the application is running and can be restored to full size.

Here’s an example:

import tkinter as tk

root = tk.Tk()
# Code to set up widgets goes here

# Minimize the root window
root.iconify()

root.mainloop()

Output: The root Tkinter window minimizes to the taskbar.

By using iconify(), the window is not fully hiddenβ€”it’s just minimized, which enables the user to maximize it by interacting with the taskbar. This is less discreet than withdraw() but still keeps the main window out of the way without closing the application entirely.

Method 3: Destroy the root window with destroy()

The destroy() method completely terminates the root window and ends the Tkinter main event loop. This is the method to use when you want to close the window and release all the resources associated with it, typically when the application is being closed.

Here’s an example:

import tkinter as tk

root = tk.Tk()
# Code to set up widgets goes here

# Destroy the root window and exit
root.destroy()

# Application logic that does not require the GUI

Output: The root Tkinter window closes and the program terminates (unless there are non-GUI parts still running).

In this snippet, destroy() is called to close the root window, which normally would end the entire application if mainloop() was running. However, if there’s more program logic that doesn’t depend on the GUI, it can continue to run. This method is final and does not allow the window to be shown again.

Method 4: Overriding the close button

In some cases, you want to prevent the default behavior when the user presses the close button, instead providing a custom task like hiding or minimizing the window. This can be done by overriding the close button’s functionality with a custom command.

Here’s an example:

import tkinter as tk

def on_close():
    print("The window will not close, but you could hide or minimize it here.")
    # root.withdraw() # Hide the window
    # root.iconify() # Minimize the window

root = tk.Tk()
# Code to set up widgets goes here

# Override the close button
root.protocol("WM_DELETE_WINDOW", on_close)

root.mainloop()

Output: When the user attempts to close the window, it remains open and a message is printed to the console.

Overriding the close button using root.protocol() allows for custom behavior. The on_close() function is where you can define what happens when the close button is pressed. The example illustrates how the withdraw() and iconify() methods may be incorporated into this override.

Bonus One-Liner Method 5: Use quit() as an alternative to destroy()

The quit() method terminates the mainloop and is an alternative to destroy(). It’s less commonly used but can be handy when dealing with multiple windows or when you need to stop the mainloop without destroying widgets.

Here’s an example:

import tkinter as tk

root = tk.Tk()
# Code to set up widgets goes here

# Exit the application
root.quit()

# Continued program logic that doesn't require a GUI

Output: The main event loop ends, but unlike destroy(), the root window is not terminated immediately.

This snippet shows the use of quit(). While it ends the mainloop, unlike destroy(), it does not destroy the widgets and windows immediately, so the program can end them later in an organized fashion, if necessary.

Summary/Discussion

  • Method 1: withdraw(). Strengths: Hides the window temporarily, allowing it to be shown again. Weaknesses: Does not end the main event loop, window remains in memory.
  • Method 2: iconify(). Strengths: Minimizes the window, indicating the program is still running. Weaknesses: The window can still be restored by the user, providing less control to the program.
  • Method 3: destroy(). Strengths: Closes the window and terminates the main event loop, useful for ending the program. Weaknesses: Cannot be reversed once called.
  • Method 4: Overriding the close button. Strengths: Provides custom control over the window close operation. Weaknesses: Requires additional logic to define custom behavior.
  • Method 5: quit(). Strengths: Ends the main event loop without immediately destroying the window. Weaknesses: Less commonly used, can lead to confusion if not handled properly.