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Widgets that allow you to display text in one way or another also allows you to specify which font to use. All widgets provide reasonable default values, and you seldom have to specify the font for simpler elements like labels and buttons.
Fonts are usually specifed using the font widget option. Tkinter supports a number of different font descriptor types:
With Tk versions before 8.0, only X font descriptors are supported (see below).
Starting with Tk 8.0, Tkinter supports platform independent font descriptors. You can specify a font as tuple containing a family name, a height in points, and optionally a string with one or more styles. Examples:
("Times", 10, "bold") ("Helvetica", 10, "bold italic") ("Symbol", 8)
To get the default size and style, you can give the font name as a single string. If the family name doesn't include spaces, you can also add size and styles to the string itself:
"Times 10 bold" "Helvetica 10 bold italic" "Symbol 8"
Here are some families available on most Windows platforms:
Arial (corresponds to Helvetica), Courier New (Courier), Comic Sans MS, Fixedsys, MS Sans Serif, MS Serif, Symbol, System, Times New Roman (Times), and Verdana:
Note that if the family name contains spaces, you must use the tuple syntax described above.
The available styles are normal, bold, roman, italic, underline, and overstrike.
Tk 8.0 automatically maps Courier, Helvetica, and Times to their corresponding native family names on all platforms. In addition, a font specification can never fail under Tk 8.0; if Tk cannot come up with an exact match, it tries to find a similar font. If that fails, Tk falls back to a platform-specific default font. Tk's idea of what is "similar enough" probably doesn't correspond to your own view, so you shouldn't rely too much on this feature.
Tk 4.2 under Windows supports this kind of font descriptors as well. There are several restrictions, including that the family name must exist on the platform, and not all the above style names exist (or rather, some of them have different names).
In addition, Tk 8.0 allows you to create named fonts and use their names when specifying fonts to the widgets.
The tkFont module provides a Font class which allows you to create font instances. You can use such an instance everywhere Tkinter accepts a font specifier. You can also use a font instance to get font metrics, including the size occupied by a given string written in that font.
tkFont.Font(family="Times", size=10, weight=tkFont.BOLD) tkFont.Font(family="Helvetica", size=10, weight=tkFont.BOLD, slant=tkFont.ITALIC) tkFont.Font(family="Symbol", size=8)
If you modify a named font (using the config method), the changes are automatically propagated to all widgets using the font.
The Font constructor supports the following style options (note that the constants are defined in the tkFont module):
Table 6-1. Font Style Options
Tk also supports system specific font names. Under X, these are usually font aliases like fixed, 6x10, etc.
Under Windows, these include ansi, ansifixed, device, oemfixed, system, and systemfixed:
On the Macintosh, the system font names are application and system.
Note that the system fonts are full font names, not family names, and they cannot be combined with size or style attributes. For portability reasons, avoid using these names wherever possible.
X Font Descriptors are strings having the following format (the asterisks represent fields that are usually not relevant. For details, see the Tk documentation, or an X manual):
The font family is typically something like Times, Helvetica, Courier or Symbol.
The weight is either Bold or Normal. Slant is either R for "roman" (normal), I for italic, or O for oblique (in practice, this is just another word for italic).
Size is the height of the font in decipoints (that is, points multiplied by 10). There are usually 72 points per inch, but some low-resolution displays may use larger "logical" points to make sure that small fonts are still legible. The character set, finally, is usually ISO8859-1 (ISO Latin 1), but may have other values for some fonts.
The following descriptor requests a 12-point boldface Times font, using the ISO Latin 1 character set:
If you don't care about the character set, or use a font like Symbol which has a special character set, you can use a single asterisk as the last component:
A typical X server supports at least Times, Helvetica, Courier, and a few more fonts, in sizes like 8, 10, 12, 14, 18, and 24 points, and in normal, bold, and italic (Times) or oblique (Helvetica, Courier) variants. Most servers also support freely scaleable fonts. You can use programs like xlsfonts and xfontsel to check which fonts you have access to on a given server.
This kind of font descriptors can also be used on Windows and Macintosh. Note that if you use Tk 4.2, you should keep in mind that the font family must be one supported by Windows (see above).