pack(n) Tk Built-In Commands pack(n)
pack - Geometry manager that packs around edges of cavity
pack option arg ?arg ...?
The pack command is used to communicate with the packer, a geometry manager that arranges the children of a parent by packing them in order
around the edges of the parent. The pack command can have any of several forms, depending on the option argument:
pack slave ?slave ...? ?options?
If the first argument to pack is a window name (any value starting with "."), then the command is processed in the same way as pack
pack configure slave ?slave ...? ?options?
The arguments consist of the names of one or more slave windows followed by pairs of arguments that specify how to manage the
slaves. See THE PACKER ALGORITHM below for details on how the options are used by the packer. The following options are supported:
Other must the name of another window. Use its master as the master for the slaves, and insert the slaves just after other
in the packing order.
Anchor must be a valid anchor position such as n or sw; it specifies where to position each slave in its parcel. Defaults to
Other must the name of another window. Use its master as the master for the slaves, and insert the slaves just before other
in the packing order.
Specifies whether the slaves should be expanded to consume extra space in their master. Boolean may have any proper boolean
value, such as 1 or no. Defaults to 0.
If a slave's parcel is larger than its requested dimensions, this option may be used to stretch the slave. Style must have
one of the following values:
none Give the slave its requested dimensions plus any internal padding requested with -ipadx or -ipady. This is the
x Stretch the slave horizontally to fill the entire width of its parcel (except leave external padding as specified by
y Stretch the slave vertically to fill the entire height of its parcel (except leave external padding as specified by
both Stretch the slave both horizontally and vertically.
Insert the slave(s) at the end of the packing order for the master window given by other.
Amount specifies how much horizontal internal padding to leave on each side of the slave(s). Amount must be a valid screen
distance, such as 2 or .5c. It defaults to 0.
Amount specifies how much vertical internal padding to leave on each side of the slave(s). Amount defaults to 0.
Amount specifies how much horizontal external padding to leave on each side of the slave(s). Amount may be a list of two
values to specify padding for left and right separately. Amount defaults to 0.
Amount specifies how much vertical external padding to leave on each side of the slave(s). Amount may be a list of two val-
ues to specify padding for top and bottom separately. Amount defaults to 0.
Specifies which side of the master the slave(s) will be packed against. Must be left, right, top, or bottom. Defaults to
If no -in, -after or -before option is specified then each of the slaves will be inserted at the end of the packing list for its
parent unless it is already managed by the packer (in which case it will be left where it is). If one of these options is specified
then all the slaves will be inserted at the specified point. If any of the slaves are already managed by the geometry manager then
any unspecified options for them retain their previous values rather than receiving default values.
pack forget slave ?slave ...?
Removes each of the slaves from the packing order for its master and unmaps their windows. The slaves will no longer be managed by
pack info slave
Returns a list whose elements are the current configuration state of the slave given by slave in the same option-value form that
might be specified to pack configure. The first two elements of the list are "-in master" where master is the slave's master.
pack propagate master ?boolean?
If boolean has a true boolean value such as 1 or on then propagation is enabled for master, which must be a window name (see GEOME-
TRY PROPAGATION below). If boolean has a false boolean value then propagation is disabled for master. In either of these cases an
empty string is returned. If boolean is omitted then the command returns 0 or 1 to indicate whether propagation is currently
enabled for master. Propagation is enabled by default.
pack slaves master
Returns a list of all of the slaves in the packing order for master. The order of the slaves in the list is the same as their order
in the packing order. If master has no slaves then an empty string is returned.
THE PACKER ALGORITHM
For each master the packer maintains an ordered list of slaves called the packing list. The -in, -after, and -before configuration options
are used to specify the master for each slave and the slave's position in the packing list. If none of these options is given for a slave
then the slave is added to the end of the packing list for its parent.
The packer arranges the slaves for a master by scanning the packing list in order. At the time it processes each slave, a rectangular area
within the master is still unallocated. This area is called the cavity; for the first slave it is the entire area of the master.
For each slave the packer carries out the following steps:
 The packer allocates a rectangular parcel for the slave along the side of the cavity given by the slave's -side option. If the side
is top or bottom then the width of the parcel is the width of the cavity and its height is the requested height of the slave plus
the -ipady and -pady options. For the left or right side the height of the parcel is the height of the cavity and the width is the
requested width of the slave plus the -ipadx and -padx options. The parcel may be enlarged further because of the -expand option
(see EXPANSION below)
 The packer chooses the dimensions of the slave. The width will normally be the slave's requested width plus twice its -ipadx option
and the height will normally be the slave's requested height plus twice its -ipady option. However, if the -fill option is x or
both then the width of the slave is expanded to fill the width of the parcel, minus twice the -padx option. If the -fill option is
y or both then the height of the slave is expanded to fill the width of the parcel, minus twice the -pady option.
 The packer positions the slave over its parcel. If the slave is smaller than the parcel then the -anchor option determines where in
the parcel the slave will be placed. If -padx or -pady is non-zero, then the given amount of external padding will always be left
between the slave and the edges of the parcel.
Once a given slave has been packed, the area of its parcel is subtracted from the cavity, leaving a smaller rectangular cavity for the next
slave. If a slave does not use all of its parcel, the unused space in the parcel will not be used by subsequent slaves. If the cavity
should become too small to meet the needs of a slave then the slave will be given whatever space is left in the cavity. If the cavity
shrinks to zero size, then all remaining slaves on the packing list will be unmapped from the screen until the master window becomes large
enough to hold them again.
If a master window is so large that there will be extra space left over after all of its slaves have been packed, then the extra space is
distributed uniformly among all of the slaves for which the -expand option is set. Extra horizontal space is distributed among the expand-
able slaves whose -side is left or right, and extra vertical space is distributed among the expandable slaves whose -side is top or bottom.
The packer normally computes how large a master must be to just exactly meet the needs of its slaves, and it sets the requested width and
height of the master to these dimensions. This causes geometry information to propagate up through a window hierarchy to a top-level win-
dow so that the entire sub-tree sizes itself to fit the needs of the leaf windows. However, the pack propagate command may be used to turn
off propagation for one or more masters. If propagation is disabled then the packer will not set the requested width and height of the
packer. This may be useful if, for example, you wish for a master window to have a fixed size that you specify.
RESTRICTIONS ON MASTER WINDOWS
The master for each slave must either be the slave's parent (the default) or a descendant of the slave's parent. This restriction is nec-
essary to guarantee that the slave can be placed over any part of its master that is visible without danger of the slave being clipped by
If the master for a slave is not its parent then you must make sure that the slave is higher in the stacking order than the master. Other-
wise the master will obscure the slave and it will appear as if the slave has not been packed correctly. The easiest way to make sure the
slave is higher than the master is to create the master window first: the most recently created window will be highest in the stacking
order. Or, you can use the raise and lower commands to change the stacking order of either the master or the slave.
# Make the widgets
label .t -text "This widget is at the top" -bg red
label .b -text "This widget is at the bottom" -bg green
label .l -text "Left
label .r -text "Right
.mid insert end "This layout is like Java's BorderLayout"
# Lay them out
pack .t -side top -fill x
pack .b -side bottom -fill x
pack .l -side left -fill y
pack .r -side right -fill y
pack .mid -expand 1 -fill both
geometry manager, location, packer, parcel, propagation, size
Tk 4.0 pack(n)