spinbox(n) Tk Built-In Commands spinbox(n)
spinbox - Create and manipulate spinbox widgets
spinbox pathName ?options? -activebackground -highlightthick-
ness -repeatinterval -background -insertbackground -selectback-
ground -borderwidth -insertborderwidth -selectborderwidth -cur-
sor -insertontime -selectforeground -exportselection -inser-
twidth -takefocus -font -insertofftime -textvariable -fore-
ground -justify -xscrollcommand -highlightbackground -relief
The background color to be used for the spin buttons. The cursor to be
used when over the spin buttons. If this is empty (the default), a
default cursor will be used. The relief to be used for the upper spin
button. The relief to be used for the lower spin button. Specifies a
Tcl command to invoke whenever a spinbutton is invoked. The command
recognizes several percent substitutions: %W for the widget path, %s
for the current value of the widget, and %d for the direction of the
button pressed (up or down). Specifies the background color to use
when the spinbox is disabled. If this option is the empty string, the
normal background color is used. Specifies the foreground color to use
when the spinbox is disabled. If this option is the empty string, the
normal foreground color is used. Specifies an alternate format to use
when setting the string value when using the -from and -to range. This
must be a format specifier of the form %.f, as it will format
a floating-point number. A floating-point value corresponding to the
lowest value for a spinbox, to be used in conjunction with -to and
-increment. When all are specified correctly, the spinbox will use
these values to control its contents. This value must be less than the
-to option. If -values is specified, it supercedes this option. Spec-
ifies a script to eval when validateCommand returns 0. Setting it to
an empty string disables this feature (the default). The best use of
this option is to set it to bell. See Validation below for more infor-
mation. A floating-point value specifying the increment. When used
with -from and -to, the value in the widget will be adjusted by -incre-
ment when a spin button is pressed (up adds the value, down subtracts
the value). Specifies the background color to use when the spinbox is
readonly. If this option is the empty string, the normal background
color is used. Specifies one of three states for the spinbox: normal,
disabled, or readonly. If the spinbox is readonly, then the value may
not be changed using widget commands and no insertion cursor will be
displayed, even if the input focus is in the widget; the contents of
the widget may still be selected. If the spinbox is disabled, the
value may not be changed, no insertion cursor will be displayed, the
contents will not be selectable, and the spinbox may be displayed in a
different color, depending on the values of the -disabledforeground and
-disabledbackground options. A floating-point value corresponding to
the highest value for the spinbox, to be used in conjunction with -from
and -increment. When all are specified correctly, the spinbox will use
these values to control its contents. This value must be greater than
the -from option. If -values is specified, it supercedes this option.
Specifies the mode in which validation should operate: none, focus,
focusin, focusout, key, or all. It defaults to none. When you want
validation, you must explicitly state which mode you wish to use. See
Validation below for more. Specifies a script to evaluate when you
want to validate the input in the widget. Setting it to an empty
string disables this feature (the default). Validation occurs accord-
ing to the value of -validate. This command must return a valid Tcl
boolean value. If it returns 0 (or the valid Tcl boolean equivalent)
then the value of the widget will not change and the invalidCommand
will be evaluated if it is set. If it returns 1, then value will be
changed. See Validation below for more information. Must be a proper
list value. If specified, the spinbox will use these values as to con-
trol its contents, starting with the first value. This option has
precedence over the -from and -to range. Specifies an integer value
indicating the desired width of the spinbox window, in average-size
characters of the widget's font. If the value is less than or equal to
zero, the widget picks a size just large enough to hold its current
text. Must be a proper boolean value. If on, the spinbox will wrap
around the values of data in the widget.
The spinbox command creates a new window (given by the pathName argu-
ment) and makes it into a spinbox widget. Additional options,
described above, may be specified on the command line or in the option
database to configure aspects of the spinbox such as its colors, font,
and relief. The spinbox command returns its pathName argument. At the
time this command is invoked, there must not exist a window named path-
Name, but pathName's parent must exist.
A spinbox is an extended entry widget that allows he user to move, or
spin, through a fixed set of ascending or descending values such as
times or dates in addition to editing the value as in an entry. When
first created, a spinbox's string is empty. A portion of the spinbox
may be selected as described below. If a spinbox is exporting its
selection (see the exportSelection option), then it will observe the
standard protocols for handling the selection; spinbox selections are
available as type STRING. Spinboxes also observe the standard Tk rules
for dealing with the input focus. When a spinbox has the input focus
it displays an insertion cursor to indicate where new characters will
Spinboxes are capable of displaying strings that are too long to fit
entirely within the widget's window. In this case, only a portion of
the string will be displayed; commands described below may be used to
change the view in the window. Spinboxes use the standard xScrollCom-
mand mechanism for interacting with scrollbars (see the description of
the xScrollCommand option for details). They also support scanning, as
Validation works by setting the validateCommand option to a script
which will be evaluated according to the validate option as follows:
none Default. This means no validation will occur.
focus validateCommand will be called when the spinbox receives or
focusin validateCommand will be called when the spinbox receives
focusout validateCommand will be called when the spinbox loses focus.
key validateCommand will be called when the spinbox is edited.
all validateCommand will be called for all above conditions.
It is possible to perform percent substitutions on the validateCommand
and invalidCommand, just as you would in a bind script. The following
substitutions are recognized:
%d Type of action: 1 for insert, 0 for delete, or -1 for focus,
forced or textvariable validation.
%i Index of char string to be inserted/deleted, if any, otherwise -1.
%P The value of the spinbox should edition occur. If you are config-
uring the spinbox widget to have a new textvariable, this will be
the value of that textvariable.
%s The current value of spinbox before edition.
%S The text string being inserted/deleted, if any. Otherwise it is
an empty string.
%v The type of validation currently set.
%V The type of validation that triggered the callback (key, focusin,
%W The name of the spinbox widget.
In general, the textVariable and validateCommand can be dangerous to
mix. Any problems have been overcome so that using the validateCommand
will not interfere with the traditional behavior of the spinbox widget.
Using the textVariable for read-only purposes will never cause prob-
lems. The danger comes when you try set the textVariable to something
that the validateCommand would not accept, which causes validate to
become none (the invalidCommand will not be triggered). The same hap-
pens when an error occurs evaluating the validateCommand.
Primarily, an error will occur when the validateCommand or invalidCom-
mand encounters an error in its script while evaluating or validateCom-
mand does not return a valid Tcl boolean value. The validate option
will also set itself to none when you edit the spinbox widget from
within either the validateCommand or the invalidCommand. Such editions
will override the one that was being validated. If you wish to edit
the value of the widget during validation and still have the validate
option set, you should include the command
%W config -validate %v in the validateCommand or invalidCommand
(whichever one you were editing the spinbox widget from). It is also
recommended to not set an associated textVariable during validation, as
that can cause the spinbox widget to become out of sync with the
The spinbox command creates a new Tcl command whose name is pathName.
This command may be used to invoke various operations on the widget.
It has the following general form: pathName option ?arg arg ...?
Option and the args determine the exact behavior of the command.
Many of the widget commands for spinboxes take one or more indices as
arguments. An index specifies a particular character in the spinbox's
string, in any of the following ways:
number Specifies the character as a numerical index, where 0 cor-
responds to the first character in the string.
anchor Indicates the anchor point for the selection, which is set
with the select from and select adjust widget commands.
end Indicates the character just after the last one in the
spinbox's string. This is equivalent to specifying a
numerical index equal to the length of the spinbox's
insert Indicates the character adjacent to and immediately follow-
ing the insertion cursor.
sel.first Indicates the first character in the selection. It is an
error to use this form if the selection isn't in the spin-
sel.last Indicates the character just after the last one in the
selection. It is an error to use this form if the selec-
tion isn't in the spinbox window.
@number In this form, number is treated as an x-coordinate in the
spinbox's window; the character spanning that x-coordinate
is used. For example, ``@0'' indicates the left-most char-
acter in the window.
Abbreviations may be used for any of the forms above, e.g. ``e'' or
``sel.f''. In general, out-of-range indices are automatically rounded
to the nearest legal value.
The following commands are possible for spinbox widgets:
pathName bbox index
Returns a list of four numbers describing the bounding box of
the character given by index. The first two elements of the
list give the x and y coordinates of the upper-left corner of
the screen area covered by the character (in pixels relative to
the widget) and the last two elements give the width and height
of the character, in pixels. The bounding box may refer to a
region outside the visible area of the window.
pathName cget option
Returns the current value of the configuration option given by
option. Option may have any of the values accepted by the spin-
pathName configure ?option? ?value option value ...?
Query or modify the configuration options of the widget. If no
option is specified, returns a list describing all of the avail-
able options for pathName (see Tk_ConfigureInfo for information
on the format of this list). If option is specified with no
value, then the command returns a list describing the one named
option (this list will be identical to the corresponding sublist
of the value returned if no option is specified). If one or
more option-value pairs are specified, then the command modifies
the given widget option(s) to have the given value(s); in this
case the command returns an empty string. Option may have any
of the values accepted by the spinbox command.
pathName delete first ?last?
Delete one or more elements of the spinbox. First is the index
of the first character to delete, and last is the index of the
character just after the last one to delete. If last isn't
specified it defaults to first+1, i.e. a single character is
deleted. This command returns an empty string.
Returns the spinbox's string.
pathName icursor index
Arrange for the insertion cursor to be displayed just before the
character given by index. Returns an empty string.
pathName identify x y
Returns the name of the window element corresponding to coordi-
nates x and y in the spinbox. Return value is one of: none,
buttondown, buttonup, entry.
pathName index index
Returns the numerical index corresponding to index.
pathName insert index string
Insert the characters of string just before the character indi-
cated by index. Returns an empty string.
pathName invoke element
Causes the specified element, either buttondown or buttonup, to
be invoked, triggering the action associated with it.
pathName scan option args
This command is used to implement scanning on spinboxes. It has
two forms, depending on option:
pathName scan mark x
Records x and the current view in the spinbox window;
used in conjunction with later scan dragto commands.
Typically this command is associated with a mouse button
press in the widget. It returns an empty string.
pathName scan dragto x
This command computes the difference between its x argu-
ment and the x argument to the last scan mark command for
the widget. It then adjusts the view left or right by 10
times the difference in x-coordinates. This command is
typically associated with mouse motion events in the wid-
get, to produce the effect of dragging the spinbox at
high speed through the window. The return value is an
pathName selection option arg
This command is used to adjust the selection within a spinbox.
It has several forms, depending on option:
pathName selection adjust index
Locate the end of the selection nearest to the character
given by index, and adjust that end of the selection to
be at index (i.e. including but not going beyond index).
The other end of the selection is made the anchor point
for future select to commands. If the selection isn't
currently in the spinbox, then a new selection is created
to include the characters between index and the most
recent selection anchor point, inclusive. Returns an
pathName selection clear
Clear the selection if it is currently in this widget.
If the selection isn't in this widget then the command
has no effect. Returns an empty string.
pathName selection element ?element?
Sets or gets the currently selected element. If a spin-
button element is specified, it will be displayed
pathName selection from index
Set the selection anchor point to just before the charac-
ter given by index. Doesn't change the selection.
Returns an empty string.
pathName selection present
Returns 1 if there is are characters selected in the
spinbox, 0 if nothing is selected.
pathName selection range start end
Sets the selection to include the characters starting
with the one indexed by start and ending with the one
just before end. If end refers to the same character as
start or an earlier one, then the spinbox's selection is
pathName selection to index
If index is before the anchor point, set the selection to
the characters from index up to but not including the
anchor point. If index is the same as the anchor point,
do nothing. If index is after the anchor point, set the
selection to the characters from the anchor point up to
but not including index. The anchor point is determined
by the most recent select from or select adjust command
in this widget. If the selection isn't in this widget
then a new selection is created using the most recent
anchor point specified for the widget. Returns an empty
pathName set ?string?
If string is specified, the spinbox will try and set it to this
value, otherwise it just returns the spinbox's string. If vali-
dation is on, it will occur when setting the string.
This command is used to force an evaluation of the validateCom-
mand independent of the conditions specified by the validate
option. This is done by temporarily setting the validate option
to all. It returns 0 or 1.
pathName xview args
This command is used to query and change the horizontal position
of the text in the widget's window. It can take any of the fol-
Returns a list containing two elements. Each element is
a real fraction between 0 and 1; together they describe
the horizontal span that is visible in the window. For
example, if the first element is .2 and the second ele-
ment is .6, 20% of the spinbox's text is off-screen to
the left, the middle 40% is visible in the window, and
40% of the text is off-screen to the right. These are
the same values passed to scrollbars via the -xscrollcom-
pathName xview index
Adjusts the view in the window so that the character
given by index is displayed at the left edge of the win-
pathName xview moveto fraction
Adjusts the view in the window so that the character
fraction of the way through the text appears at the left
edge of the window. Fraction must be a fraction between
0 and 1.
pathName xview scroll number what
This command shifts the view in the window left or right
according to number and what. Number must be an integer.
What must be either units or pages or an abbreviation of
one of these. If what is units, the view adjusts left or
right by number average-width characters on the display;
if it is pages then the view adjusts by number screen-
fuls. If number is negative then characters farther to
the left become visible; if it is positive then charac-
ters farther to the right become visible.
Tk automatically creates class bindings for spinboxes that give them
the following default behavior. In the descriptions below, ``word''
refers to a contiguous group of letters, digits, or ``_'' characters,
or any single character other than these.
 Clicking mouse button 1 positions the insertion cursor just
before the character underneath the mouse cursor, sets the input
focus to this widget, and clears any selection in the widget.
Dragging with mouse button 1 strokes out a selection between the
insertion cursor and the character under the mouse.
 Double-clicking with mouse button 1 selects the word under the
mouse and positions the insertion cursor at the beginning of the
word. Dragging after a double click will stroke out a selection
consisting of whole words.
 Triple-clicking with mouse button 1 selects all of the text in
the spinbox and positions the insertion cursor before the first
 The ends of the selection can be adjusted by dragging with mouse
button 1 while the Shift key is down; this will adjust the end
of the selection that was nearest to the mouse cursor when but-
ton 1 was pressed. If the button is double-clicked before drag-
ging then the selection will be adjusted in units of whole
 Clicking mouse button 1 with the Control key down will position
the insertion cursor in the spinbox without affecting the selec-
 If any normal printing characters are typed in a spinbox, they
are inserted at the point of the insertion cursor.
 The view in the spinbox can be adjusted by dragging with mouse
button 2. If mouse button 2 is clicked without moving the
mouse, the selection is copied into the spinbox at the position
of the mouse cursor.
 If the mouse is dragged out of the spinbox on the left or right
sides while button 1 is pressed, the spinbox will automatically
scroll to make more text visible (if there is more text off-
screen on the side where the mouse left the window).
 The Left and Right keys move the insertion cursor one character
to the left or right; they also clear any selection in the
spinbox and set the selection anchor. If Left or Right is typed
with the Shift key down, then the insertion cursor moves and the
selection is extended to include the new character. Control-
Left and Control-Right move the insertion cursor by words, and
Control-Shift-Left and Control-Shift-Right move the insertion
cursor by words and also extend the selection. Control-b and
Control-f behave the same as Left and Right, respectively.
Meta-b and Meta-f behave the same as Control-Left and Control-
 The Home key, or Control-a, will move the insertion cursor to
the beginning of the spinbox and clear any selection in the
spinbox. Shift-Home moves the insertion cursor to the beginning
of the spinbox and also extends the selection to that point.
 The End key, or Control-e, will move the insertion cursor to the
end of the spinbox and clear any selection in the spinbox.
Shift-End moves the cursor to the end and extends the selection
to that point.
 The Select key and Control-Space set the selection anchor to the
position of the insertion cursor. They don't affect the current
selection. Shift-Select and Control-Shift-Space adjust the
selection to the current position of the insertion cursor,
selecting from the anchor to the insertion cursor if there was
not any selection previously.
 Control-/ selects all the text in the spinbox.
 Control-\ clears any selection in the spinbox.
 The F16 key (labelled Copy on many Sun workstations) or Meta-w
copies the selection in the widget to the clipboard, if there is
 The F20 key (labelled Cut on many Sun workstations) or Control-w
copies the selection in the widget to the clipboard and deletes
the selection. If there is no selection in the widget then
these keys have no effect.
 The F18 key (labelled Paste on many Sun workstations) or Con-
trol-y inserts the contents of the clipboard at the position of
the insertion cursor.
 The Delete key deletes the selection, if there is one in the
spinbox. If there is no selection, it deletes the character to
the right of the insertion cursor.
 The BackSpace key and Control-h delete the selection, if there
is one in the spinbox. If there is no selection, it deletes the
character to the left of the insertion cursor.
 Control-d deletes the character to the right of the insertion
 Meta-d deletes the word to the right of the insertion cursor.
 Control-k deletes all the characters to the right of the inser-
 Control-t reverses the order of the two characters to the right
of the insertion cursor.
If the spinbox is disabled using the -state option, then the spinbox's
view can still be adjusted and text in the spinbox can still be
selected, but no insertion cursor will be displayed and no text modifi-
cations will take place.
The behavior of spinboxes can be changed by defining new bindings for
individual widgets or by redefining the class bindings.
spinbox, entry, widget
Tk 8.4 spinbox(n)