How to change the foreground or background colour of a selected cell in tkinter treeview?


I would like to change the foreground or background colour of a selected cell in tkinter.treeview. How can I do that?

This link showed the command to change the colour of all cells in a treeview but I could not get it to work for a single cell.

ttk.Style().configure("Treeview", background="#383838", 
 foreground="white", fieldbackground="red")

I had previously written a test code. Please use this code to derive your solution/advice. Thanks.

This link showed how tags may be used to change the colour of a row of data, i.e. a selected item, but not a cell.

Asked By: Sun Bear



If you’re getting ready to overlay widgets, you could have very custom requirements, or there may be a more suitable widget for your needs. If you’re not bent on using the treeview, perhaps the table widget will provide what you want. You can control the individual cell contents, it allows user editing of the cells (by default) and you can control the ‘active’ cell attributes separately from other cells. Your data is placed in a table using this code.

import tkinter as tk
import tkinter.ttk as ttk
from tkinter.tktable import Table as ttkTable
from tkinter.tktable import ArrayVar

class App(tk.Frame):
    def __init__(self, parent, *args, **kwargs):
        ttk.Frame.__init__(self, parent, *args, **kwargs)
        self.grid_columnconfigure(0, weight=1)
        self.grid_rowconfigure(0, weight=1)
        parent.grid_columnconfigure(0, weight=1)
        parent.grid_rowconfigure(0, weight=1)
        self.content = ArrayVar(parent)
        self.table = ttkTable(rows=4,  cols=4,  titlerows=1,
            titlecols=0,    roworigin=0,    colorigin=0,   anchor='w', 
            selecttype='cell',   rowstretch='none',  colstretch='unset',
            flashmode='off', ellipsis='...', ipadx=2,    colwidth=12,
            multiline=False, resizeborders='col',   selectmode='browse',
            cursor='arrow', insertwidth=2, variable=self.content,
        self.table.tag_configure('title', relief='raised', anchor='center', bg='blue',
            fg='white', state='disabled'
        self.table.tag_configure('active', bg='gray30', fg='white')

        c_headers = ["Name", "Date", "Time", "Loc"]
        for col, word in enumerate(c_headers, start=0):
            index = '0,' + str(col)
            self.table.set('col', index, word)

        self.table.width((0,1,2,3), (30,30,30,40))

        self.table.set('row','1,0', "John","2017-02-05","11:30:23","Airport")
        self.table.set('row','2,0', "Betty","2014-06-25","18:00:00","Orchard Road")

Answered By: Ron Norris
  1. @BryanOkley shared that one cannot change the color of an individual
    cell in ttk.Treeview.
  2. So I explored using tk.Canvas() and tk.Canvas.create_text() to
    create the illusion of changing the color of a selected cell in a
    ttk.Treeview() widget. I was fortunate to come by
    j08lue/ which had the same objective and I
    adapted from it.
  3. My adapted script (with the relevant comments) is shown below. I
    hope it can help others thinking of doing the same.

Improvement needed: I have not figured out why my algorithm could not accurately overlay the Canvas Textbox over the values in the selected Treeview cells in the icon/tree column and the value columns. To that end, I resorted to using fudge values determined via trial & error. However, this is not ideal. Can someone share how I can achieve accurate alignment of the canvas_textbox overlay with the Treeview cell value without using a fudge value?

import tkinter as tk
import tkinter.ttk as ttk
import tkinter.font as tkFont

class App(tk.Frame):
    def __init__(self, parent, *args, **kwargs):
        ttk.Frame.__init__(self, parent, *args, **kwargs)

        #1. Create Treeview with binding
        self.tree = ttk.Treeview(parent, columns=("size", "modified"))
        self.tree["columns"] = ("date", "time", "loc")

        self.tree.column("#0",   width=100, anchor='center')
        self.tree.column("date", width=100, anchor='center')
        self.tree.column("time", width=100, anchor='center')
        self.tree.column("loc",  width=100, anchor='center')

        self.tree.heading("#0",   text="Name")
        self.tree.heading("date", text="Date")
        self.tree.heading("time", text="Time")
        self.tree.heading("loc",  text="Location")

        self.tree.insert("","end", text = "Grace",
                         values = ("2010-09-23","03:44:53","Garden"))
        self.tree.insert("","end", text = "John" ,
                         values = ("2017-02-05","11:30:23","Airport"))
        self.tree.insert("","end", text = "Betty",
                         values = ("2014-06-25","18:00:00",""))

        self.tree.bind('<ButtonRelease-1>', self.selectItem)

        #2. Create a Canvas Overlay to show selected Treeview cell 
        sel_bg = '#ecffc4'
        sel_fg = '#05640e'
        self.setup_selection(sel_bg, sel_fg)

    def setup_selection(self, sel_bg, sel_fg):
        self._font = tkFont.Font()

        self._canvas = tk.Canvas(self.tree,

        self._canvas.text = self._canvas.create_text(0, 0,

    def selectItem(self, event):
        # Remove Canvas overlay from GUI

        # Local Parameters
        x, y, widget = event.x, event.y, event.widget
        item = widget.item(widget.focus())
        itemText = item['text']
        itemValues = item['values']
        iid = widget.identify_row(y)
        column = event.widget.identify_column(x)
        print ('n&&&&&&&& def selectItem(self, event):')
        print ('item = ', item)
        print ('itemText = ', itemText)
        print('itemValues = ',itemValues)
        print ('iid = ', iid)
        print ('column = ', column)

        #Leave method if mouse pointer clicks on Treeview area without data
        if not column or not iid:

        #Leave method if selected item's value is empty
        if not len(itemValues): 

        #Get value of selected Treeview cell
        if column == '#0':
            self.cell_value = itemText
            self.cell_value = itemValues[int(column[1]) - 1]
        print('column[1] = ',column[1])
        print('self.cell_value = ',self.cell_value)

        #Leave method if selected Treeview cell is empty
        if not self.cell_value: # date is empty

        #Get the bounding box of selected cell, a tuple (x, y, w, h), where
        # x, y are coordinates of the upper left corner of that cell relative
        #      to the widget, and
        # w, h are width and height of the cell in pixels.
        # If the item is not visible, the method returns an empty string.
        bbox = widget.bbox(iid, column)
        print('bbox = ', bbox)
        if not bbox: # item is not visible

        # Update and show selection in Canvas Overlay
        self.show_selection(widget, bbox, column)

        print('Selected Cell Value = ', self.cell_value)

    def show_selection(self, parent, bbox, column):
        """Configure canvas and canvas-textbox for a new selection."""
        print('@@@@ def show_selection(self, parent, bbox, column):')
        x, y, width, height = bbox
        fudgeTreeColumnx = 19 #Determined by trial & error
        fudgeColumnx = 15     #Determined by trial & error

        # Number of pixels of cell value in horizontal direction
        textw = self._font.measure(self.cell_value)
        print('textw = ',textw)

        # Make Canvas size to fit selected cell
        self._canvas.configure(width=width, height=height)

        # Position canvas-textbox in Canvas
        print('self._canvas.coords(self._canvas.text) = ',
        if column == '#0':

        # Update value of canvas-textbox with the value of the selected cell. 
        self._canvas.itemconfigure(self._canvas.text, text=self.cell_value)

        # Overlay Canvas over Treeview cell, x=x, y=y)

if __name__ == "__main__":
    window = tk.Tk()
    app = App(window)
Answered By: Sun Bear

I believe you can obtain your desired behavior in a really simple way:

  1. Assign tags to your cells

In this question you can see both how to insert tags and how to change them

  1. Assign a color to each tag

Like suggested in this question

  1. Note that Tkinter is a little bit old and disbanded… you may have some hardships, so let me link this already:

Why my code below may not work properly

Note that you are asking about “how to change a selected cell”, but from what you wrote I believe you are trying to change a selected row. My code below changes rows.

import tkinter as tk
from tkinter import ttk
from random import choice

colors = ["red", "green", "black", "blue", "white", "yellow", "orange", "pink", "grey", "purple", "brown"]
def recolor():
    for child in tree.get_children():
        picked = choice(colors)
        tree.item(child, tags=(picked), values=(picked))
    for color in colors:
        tree.tag_configure(color, background=color)
    tree.tag_configure("red", background="red")

root = tk.Tk()


tree.column("#0", width=60, minwidth=30, stretch=tk.NO)
tree.column("one", width=120, minwidth=30, stretch=tk.NO)

tree.heading("one", text="1",anchor=tk.W)

for i in range(10):
    tree.insert("", i, text="Elem"+str(i), values=("none"))


b = tk.Button(root, text="Change", command=recolor)



After the first click

After the second click

Answered By: Federico Dorato

If anyone looking for an answer to change selected color for tkinter treeview, you can check below code.

style = ttk.Style()
# this is set background and foreground of the treeview

# set backgound and foreground color when selected'Treeview', background=[('selected', '#BFBFBF'), foreground=[('selected', 'black')])
Answered By: Durai

I’m adding my solution based on the unique need and lack of support. I took @Sun Bear’s answer and created an abstracted function that just colors the cell and nothing else.

def set_treeview_cell_color(self, treeview: ttk.Treeview, iid: str, colnum: int, text_color: str, bg_color: str) -> None:
        sets the color of a cell in the treeview using a canvas
        puts the canvas over top of the cell and matches the text location
        creates a collection of canvases so they can be managed later
        #get the text of the cell
        cell_value = treeview.item(iid, "values")[colnum]

        #get the text anchor of the column (treeview sets anchors at the column level)
        x_padding = 4
        anchor = treeview.column(colnum, "anchor")

        #create the canvas
        canvas = tk.Canvas(master=treeview, background=bg_color, borderwidth=0, highlightthickness=0)
        canvas.text = canvas.create_text(0, 0, text=cell_value, fill=text_color, anchor=anchor)

        #add the canvas to the collection, make sure it exists first
        if not hasattr(treeview, "canvases"):
            treeview.canvases = []

        #get location, width, and height of specified treeview cell
        x, y, width, height = treeview.bbox(iid, colnum)  #not working because the tree isn't visible until after the canvas is placed
        #move and size the canvas text to match the location in the treeview cell
        text_y = height / 2
        #match the canvas text to the treeview cell text
        canvas.coords(canvas.text, x_padding, text_y)
        canvas.configure(width=width, height=height)
        #place the canvas in the treeview based on the cell location, x=x, y=y)

I’m not 100% happy with it yet, I’m trying to grab some of the padding and alignment from the treeview, to make it more automatic, but it’s surprisingly hard to get the padding from Treeview libraries. I haven’t been successful yet, so I’m using x_padding for now. I’m planning to write some code that’ll handle east or right alignment and i’ll come back and add that when I do.

Answered By: turbonate
Categories: questions Tags: , , ,
Answers are sorted by their score. The answer accepted by the question owner as the best is marked with
at the top-right corner.