The Menus example demonstrates how menus can be used in a main window application.
A menu widget can be either a pull-down menu in a menu bar or a standalone context menu. Pull-down menus are shown by the menu bar when the user clicks on the respective item or presses the specified shortcut key. Context menus are usually invoked by some special keyboard key or by right-clicking.
A menu consists of a list of action items. In applications, many common commands can be invoked via menus, toolbar buttons as well as keyboard shortcuts. Since the user expects the commands to be performed in the same way, regardless of the user interface used, it is useful to represent each command as an action.
The Menus example consists of one single class,
MainWindow, derived from the
QMainWindow class. When choosing one of the action items in our application, it will display the item’s path in its central widget.
MainWindow Class Definition#
QMainWindow provides a main application window, with a menu bar, tool bars, dock widgets and a status bar around a large central widget.
class MainWindow(QMainWindow): Q_OBJECT # public MainWindow() protected: #ifndef QT_NO_CONTEXTMENU def contextMenuEvent(event): #endif // QT_NO_CONTEXTMENU
In this example, we will see how to implement pull-down menus as well as a context menu. In order to implement a custom context menu we must reimplement
contextMenuEvent() function to receive the context menu events for our main window.
slots: = private() def newFile(): def open(): def save(): def print(): def undo(): def redo(): def cut(): def copy(): def paste(): def bold(): def italic(): def leftAlign(): def rightAlign(): def justify(): def center(): def setLineSpacing(): def setParagraphSpacing(): def about(): def aboutQt():
We must also implement a collection of private slots to respond to the user activating any of our menu entries. Note that these slots are left out of this documentation since they are trivial, i.e., most of them are only displaying the action’s path in the main window’s central widget.
# private def createActions(): def createMenus():
We have chosen to simplify the constructor by implementing two private convenience functions to create the various actions, to add them to menus and to insert the menus into our main window’s menu bar.
fileMenu = QMenu() editMenu = QMenu() formatMenu = QMenu() helpMenu = QMenu() alignmentGroup = QActionGroup() newAct = QAction() openAct = QAction() saveAct = QAction() printAct = QAction() exitAct = QAction() undoAct = QAction() redoAct = QAction() cutAct = QAction() copyAct = QAction() pasteAct = QAction() boldAct = QAction() italicAct = QAction() leftAlignAct = QAction() rightAlignAct = QAction() justifyAct = QAction() centerAct = QAction() setLineSpacingAct = QAction() setParagraphSpacingAct = QAction() aboutAct = QAction() aboutQtAct = QAction() infoLabel = QLabel()
Finally, we declare the various menus and actions as well as a simple information label in the application wide scope.
QMenu class provides a menu widget for use in menu bars, context menus, and other popup menus while the
QAction class provides an abstract user interface action that can be inserted into widgets.
In some situations it is useful to group actions together, e.g., we have a Left Align action, a Right Align action, a Justify action, and a Center action, and we want only one of these actions to be active at any one time. One simple way of achieving this is to group the actions together in an action group using the
MainWindow Class Implementation#
In the constructor, we start off by creating a regular
QWidget and make it our main window’s central widget. Note that the main window takes ownership of the widget pointer and deletes it at the appropriate time.
def __init__(self): widget = QWidget() setCentralWidget(widget) topFiller = QWidget() topFiller.setSizePolicy(QSizePolicy.Expanding, QSizePolicy.Expanding) infoLabel = QLabel(tr("<i>Choose a menu option, or right-click to " "invoke a context menu</i>")) infoLabel.setFrameStyle(QFrame.StyledPanel | QFrame.Sunken) infoLabel.setAlignment(Qt.AlignCenter) bottomFiller = QWidget() bottomFiller.setSizePolicy(QSizePolicy.Expanding, QSizePolicy.Expanding) layout = QVBoxLayout() layout.setContentsMargins(5, 5, 5, 5) layout.addWidget(topFiller) layout.addWidget(infoLabel) layout.addWidget(bottomFiller) widget.setLayout(layout)
Then we create the information label as well as a top and bottom filler that we add to a layout which we install on the central widget.
QMainWindow objects come with their own customized layout and setting a layout on a the actual main window, or creating a layout with a main window as a parent, is considered an error. You should always set your own layout on the central widget instead.
createActions() createMenus() message = tr("A context menu is available by right-clicking") statusBar().showMessage(message) setWindowTitle(tr("Menus")) setMinimumSize(160, 160) resize(480, 320)
To create the actions and menus we call our two convenience functions:
createMenus(). We will get back to these shortly.
statusBar() function returns the status bar for the main window (if the status bar does not exist, this function will create and return an empty status bar). We initialize the status bar and window title, resize the window to an appropriate size as well as ensure that the main window cannot be resized to a smaller size than the given one.
Now, let’s take a closer look at the
createActions() convenience function that creates the various actions:
def createActions(self): newAct = QAction(tr("New"), self) newAct.setShortcuts(QKeySequence.New) newAct.setStatusTip(tr("Create a file")) newAct.triggered.connect(self.newFile) ...
QAction object may contain an icon, a text, a shortcut, a status tip, a “What’s This?” text, and a tooltip. Most of these can be set in the constructor, but they can also be set independently using the provided convenience functions.
createActions() function, we first create a
newAct action. We make Ctrl+N its shortcut using the
setShortcut() function, and we set its status tip using the
setStatusTip() function (the status tip is displayed on all status bars provided by the action’s top-level parent widget). We also connect its
triggered() signal to the
The rest of the actions are created in a similar manner. Please see the source code for details.
alignmentGroup = QActionGroup(self) alignmentGroup.addAction(leftAlignAct) alignmentGroup.addAction(rightAlignAct) alignmentGroup.addAction(justifyAct) alignmentGroup.addAction(centerAct) leftAlignAct.setChecked(True)
Once we have created the Left Align, Right Align, Justify, and a Center actions, we can also create the previously mentioned action group.
Each action is added to the group using
addAction() function. Note that an action also can be added to a group by creating it with the group as its parent. Since an action group is exclusive by default, only one of the actions in the group is checked at any one time (this can be altered using the
When all the actions are created, we use the
createMenus() function to add the actions to the menus and to insert the menus into the menu bar:
def createMenus(self): fileMenu = menuBar().addMenu(tr("File")) fileMenu.addAction(newAct) fileMenu.addAction(openAct) fileMenu.addAction(saveAct) fileMenu.addAction(printAct) fileMenu.addSeparator() fileMenu.addAction(exitAct) editMenu = menuBar().addMenu(tr("Edit")) editMenu.addAction(undoAct) editMenu.addAction(redoAct) editMenu.addSeparator() editMenu.addAction(cutAct) editMenu.addAction(copyAct) editMenu.addAction(pasteAct) editMenu.addSeparator() helpMenu = menuBar().addMenu(tr("Help")) helpMenu.addAction(aboutAct) helpMenu.addAction(aboutQtAct)
addMenu() function appends a new
QMenu with the given title, to the menu bar (note that the menu bar takes ownership of the menu). We use
addAction() function to add each action to the corresponding menu.
QMenu class provides several
addAction() convenience functions that create and add new actions from given texts and/or icons. You can also provide a member that will automatically connect to the new action’s
triggered() signal, and a shortcut represented by a
addSeparator() function creates and returns a new separator action, i.e. an action for which
isSeparator() returns true, and adds the new action to the menu’s list of actions.
formatMenu = editMenu.addMenu(tr("Format")) formatMenu.addAction(boldAct) formatMenu.addAction(italicAct) formatMenu.addSeparator().setText(tr("Alignment")) formatMenu.addAction(leftAlignAct) formatMenu.addAction(rightAlignAct) formatMenu.addAction(justifyAct) formatMenu.addAction(centerAct) formatMenu.addSeparator() formatMenu.addAction(setLineSpacingAct) formatMenu.addAction(setParagraphSpacingAct)
Note the Format menu. First of all, it is added as a submenu to the Edit Menu using
addMenu() function. Secondly, take a look at the alignment actions: In the
createActions() function we added the
centerAct actions to an action group. Nevertheless, we must add each action to the menu separately while the action group does its magic behind the scene.
#ifndef QT_NO_CONTEXTMENU def contextMenuEvent(self, event): menu = QMenu(self) menu.addAction(cutAct) menu.addAction(copyAct) menu.addAction(pasteAct) menu.exec(event.globalPos()) #endif // QT_NO_CONTEXTMENU
To provide a custom context menu, we must reimplement
contextMenuEvent() function to receive the widget’s context menu events (note that the default implementation simply ignores these events).
Whenever we receive such an event, we create a menu containing the Cut, Copy and Paste actions. Context menus can be executed either asynchronously using the
popup() function or synchronously using the
exec() function. In this example, we have chosen to show the menu using its
exec() function. By passing the event’s position as argument we ensure that the context menu appears at the expected position.