Chapter 5. Buttons

Table of Contents

gtkmm provides four basic types of buttons:


Gtk::Button. Standard buttons, usually marked with a label or picture. Pushing one triggers an action. See the Button section.

Toggle buttons

Gtk::ToggleButton. Unlike a normal Button, which springs back up, a ToggleButton stays down until you press it again. It might be useful as an on/off switch. See the ToggleButton section.


Gtk::CheckButton. These act like ToggleButtons, but show their state in small squares, with their label at the side. They should be used in most situations which require an on/off setting. See the CheckButton section.

Radio buttons

Gtk::RadioButton. Named after the station selectors on old car radios, these buttons are used in groups for options which are mutually exclusive. Pressing one causes all the others in its group to turn off. They are similar to CheckBoxes (a small widget with a label at the side), but usually look different. See the RadioButton section.

Note that, due to GTK+'s theming system, the appearance of these widgets will vary. In the case of checkboxes and radio buttons, they may vary considerably.



There are two ways to create a Button. You can specify a label string in the Gtk::Button constructor, or set it later with set_label().

To define an accelerator key for keyboard navigation, place an underscore before one of the label's characters and specify true for the optional mnemonic parameter. For instance:

Gtk::Button* pButton = new Gtk::Button("_Something", true);

Stock items have been recommended for use in buttons. From gtkmm-3.10 they are deprecated. They should not be used in newly-written code. However, the documentation of namespace Gtk::Stock shows recommended labels and named icons to show in buttons.

Gtk::Button is also a container so you could put any other widget, such as a Gtk::Image into it.



This example creates a button with a picture and a label.

Figure 5.1. buttons example

buttons example

Source Code

File: buttons.h (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)


#include <gtkmm/window.h>
#include <gtkmm/button.h>

class Buttons : public Gtk::Window
  virtual ~Buttons();

  //Signal handlers:
  void on_button_clicked();

  //Child widgets:
  Gtk::Button m_button;


File: (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#include "buttons.h"
#include <gtkmm/application.h>

int main(int argc, char *argv[])
  auto app = Gtk::Application::create(argc, argv, "org.gtkmm.example");

  Buttons buttons;

  //Shows the window and returns when it is closed.
  return app->run(buttons);

File: (For use with gtkmm 3, not gtkmm 2)

#include "buttons.h"
#include <iostream>

  m_button.add_pixlabel("info.xpm", "cool button");

  set_title("Pixmap'd buttons!");

  m_button.signal_clicked().connect( sigc::mem_fun(*this,
              &Buttons::on_button_clicked) );




void Buttons::on_button_clicked()
  std::cout << "The Button was clicked." << std::endl;


The Gtk::Button widget has the following signals, but all except the clicked signal are deprecated and should not be used in newly-written code:


Emitted when the button is pressed. Use Gtk::Widget::signal_button_press_event() instead.


Emitted when the button is released. Use Gtk::Widget::signal_button_release_event() instead.


Emitted when the button is pressed and released.


Emitted when the mouse pointer enters the button's window. Use Gtk::Widget::signal_enter_notify_event() instead.


Emitted when the mouse pointer leaves the button's window. Use Gtk::Widget::signal_leave_notify_event() instead.