Layout management in PyQt5

Layout management is the way how we place the widgets on the application window. We can place our widgets using absolute positioning or with layout classes. Managing the layout with layout managers is the preferred way of organizing our widgets.

Absolute positioning

The programmer specifies the position and the size of each widget in pixels. When you use absolute positioning, we have to understand the following limitations:

The following example positions widgets in absolute coordinates.

absolute.py
#!/usr/bin/python3
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

"""
ZetCode PyQt5 tutorial 

This example shows three labels on a window
using absolute positioning. 

Author: Jan Bodnar
Website: zetcode.com 
Last edited: August 2017
"""

import sys
from PyQt5.QtWidgets import QWidget, QLabel, QApplication

class Example(QWidget):
    
    def __init__(self):
        super().__init__()
        
        self.initUI()
        
        
    def initUI(self):
        
        lbl1 = QLabel('Zetcode', self)
        lbl1.move(15, 10)

        lbl2 = QLabel('tutorials', self)
        lbl2.move(35, 40)
        
        lbl3 = QLabel('for programmers', self)
        lbl3.move(55, 70)        
        
        self.setGeometry(300, 300, 250, 150)
        self.setWindowTitle('Absolute')    
        self.show()
        
        
if __name__ == '__main__':
    
    app = QApplication(sys.argv)
    ex = Example()
    sys.exit(app.exec_())

We use the move() method to position our widgets. In our case these are labels. We position them by providing the x and y coordinates. The beginning of the coordinate system is at the left top corner. The x values grow from left to right. The y values grow from top to bottom.

lbl1 = QLabel('Zetcode', self)
lbl1.move(15, 10)

The label widget is positioned at x=15 and y=10.

Absolute positioning
Figure: Absolute positioning

Box layout

QHBoxLayout and QVBoxLayout are basic layout classes that line up widgets horizontally and vertically.

Imagine that we wanted to place two buttons in the right bottom corner. To create such a layout, we use one horizontal and one vertical box. To create the necessary space, we add a stretch factor.

buttons.py
#!/usr/bin/python3
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

"""
ZetCode PyQt5 tutorial 

In this example, we position two push
buttons in the bottom-right corner 
of the window. 

Author: Jan Bodnar
Website: zetcode.com 
Last edited: August 2017
"""

import sys
from PyQt5.QtWidgets import (QWidget, QPushButton, 
    QHBoxLayout, QVBoxLayout, QApplication)


class Example(QWidget):
    
    def __init__(self):
        super().__init__()
        
        self.initUI()
        
        
    def initUI(self):
        
        okButton = QPushButton("OK")
        cancelButton = QPushButton("Cancel")

        hbox = QHBoxLayout()
        hbox.addStretch(1)
        hbox.addWidget(okButton)
        hbox.addWidget(cancelButton)

        vbox = QVBoxLayout()
        vbox.addStretch(1)
        vbox.addLayout(hbox)
        
        self.setLayout(vbox)    
        
        self.setGeometry(300, 300, 300, 150)
        self.setWindowTitle('Buttons')    
        self.show()
        
        
if __name__ == '__main__':
    
    app = QApplication(sys.argv)
    ex = Example()
    sys.exit(app.exec_())

The example places two buttons in the bottom-right corner of the window. They stay there when we resize the application window. We use both a HBoxLayout and a QVBoxLayout.

okButton = QPushButton("OK")
cancelButton = QPushButton("Cancel")

Here we create two push buttons.

hbox = QHBoxLayout()
hbox.addStretch(1)
hbox.addWidget(okButton)
hbox.addWidget(cancelButton)

We create a horizontal box layout and add a stretch factor and both buttons. The stretch adds a stretchable space before the two buttons. This will push them to the right of the window.

vbox = QVBoxLayout()
vbox.addStretch(1)
vbox.addLayout(hbox)

The horizontal layout is placed into the vertical layout. The stretch factor in the vertical box will push the horizontal box with the buttons to the bottom of the window.

self.setLayout(vbox)

Finally, we set the main layout of the window.

Buttons
Figure: Buttons

QGridLayout

QGridLayout is the most universal layout class. It divides the space into rows and columns.

calculator.py
#!/usr/bin/python3
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

"""
ZetCode PyQt5 tutorial 

In this example, we create a skeleton
of a calculator using QGridLayout.

Author: Jan Bodnar
Website: zetcode.com 
Last edited: August 2017
"""

import sys
from PyQt5.QtWidgets import (QWidget, QGridLayout, 
    QPushButton, QApplication)


class Example(QWidget):
    
    def __init__(self):
        super().__init__()
        
        self.initUI()
        
        
    def initUI(self):
        
        grid = QGridLayout()
        self.setLayout(grid)
 
        names = ['Cls', 'Bck', '', 'Close',
                 '7', '8', '9', '/',
                '4', '5', '6', '*',
                 '1', '2', '3', '-',
                '0', '.', '=', '+']
        
        positions = [(i,j) for i in range(5) for j in range(4)]
        
        for position, name in zip(positions, names):
            
            if name == '':
                continue
            button = QPushButton(name)
            grid.addWidget(button, *position)
            
        self.move(300, 150)
        self.setWindowTitle('Calculator')
        self.show()
        
        
if __name__ == '__main__':
    
    app = QApplication(sys.argv)
    ex = Example()
    sys.exit(app.exec_())

In our example, we create a grid of buttons.

grid = QGridLayout()
self.setLayout(grid)

The instance of a QGridLayout is created and set to be the layout for the application window.

names = ['Cls', 'Bck', '', 'Close',
            '7', '8', '9', '/',
        '4', '5', '6', '*',
            '1', '2', '3', '-',
        '0', '.', '=', '+']

These are the labels used later for buttons.

positions = [(i,j) for i in range(5) for j in range(4)]

We create a list of positions in the grid.

for position, name in zip(positions, names):
    
    if name == '':
        continue
    button = QPushButton(name)
    grid.addWidget(button, *position)

Buttons are created and added to the layout with the addWidget() method.

Calculator skeleton
Figure: Calculator skeleton

Review example

Widgets can span multiple columns or rows in a grid. In the next example we illustrate this.

review.py
#!/usr/bin/python3
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

"""
ZetCode PyQt5 tutorial 

In this example, we create a bit
more complicated window layout using
the QGridLayout manager. 

author: Jan Bodnar
website: zetcode.com 
last edited: January 2015
"""

import sys
from PyQt5.QtWidgets import (QWidget, QLabel, QLineEdit, 
    QTextEdit, QGridLayout, QApplication)


class Example(QWidget):
    
    def __init__(self):
        super().__init__()
        
        self.initUI()
        
        
    def initUI(self):
        
        title = QLabel('Title')
        author = QLabel('Author')
        review = QLabel('Review')

        titleEdit = QLineEdit()
        authorEdit = QLineEdit()
        reviewEdit = QTextEdit()

        grid = QGridLayout()
        grid.setSpacing(10)

        grid.addWidget(title, 1, 0)
        grid.addWidget(titleEdit, 1, 1)

        grid.addWidget(author, 2, 0)
        grid.addWidget(authorEdit, 2, 1)

        grid.addWidget(review, 3, 0)
        grid.addWidget(reviewEdit, 3, 1, 5, 1)
        
        self.setLayout(grid) 
        
        self.setGeometry(300, 300, 350, 300)
        self.setWindowTitle('Review')    
        self.show()
        
        
if __name__ == '__main__':
    
    app = QApplication(sys.argv)
    ex = Example()
    sys.exit(app.exec_())

We create a window in which we have three labels, two line edits and one text edit widget. The layout is done with the QGridLayout.

grid = QGridLayout()
grid.setSpacing(10)

We create a grid layout and set spacing between widgets.

grid.addWidget(reviewEdit, 3, 1, 5, 1)

If we add a widget to a grid, we can provide row span and column span of the widget. In our case, we make the reviewEdit widget span 5 rows.

Review example
Figure: Review example

This part of the PyQt5 tutorial was dedicated to layout management.