Create Digital Clock Using Tkinter

digital clock using tkinter python

A Graphical User Interface (GUI) is an interface that displays objects on screen that users can interact with. It is more user-friendly compared to a text-based command-line interface for it uses objects such as icons, buttons, cursors, and other graphical elements to represent actions. There are many GUI toolkits that can be use with Python such as wxPython and JPython but for this tutorial, we will be creating a GUI application using Tkinter.

Tkinter is the standard GUI library for Python. Tkinter provides a variety of common GUI elements or widgets such as buttons, text box, labels, frame, and many more that can be use to build an interface with. The following are widgets available in Tkinter [1]:

Containers: frame, label frame, top level, pane window.

Buttons: button, radio button, check button (checkbox), and menu button.

Text Widgets: label, message, text.

Entry Widgets: scale, scrollbar, list box, slider, spin box, entry (single line), option menu, text (multi line), and canvas (vector and pixel graphics).

In this tutorial, we will create a simple digital clock to get the hang of using Tkinter.


Getting Started

import tkinter as tk
import datetime

Since we are going to be creating a GUI application using Tkinter, we must import tkinter module and import datetime module to work with date and time.

But before jumping on further, it is good practice to plan out the design layout first which will act as a blueprint as you code. This way you already know where to put widgets on the GUI application and time will not be wasted in figuring out where to place them when coding.

digital clock design layout

Creating the Application Main Window

x =

window = tk.Tk()
window.title("Digital Clock")

canvas = tk.Canvas(window, height=200, width=500)

frame = tk.Canvas(window, bg='#696969'), rely=0, relheight=1, relwidth=1)

#insert code here


Line 1: datetime object containing current date and time. Note that we use .strftime() to create a string representing date and time in another format which we’ll see later on how to use

Line 3: creates the GUI application main window

Line 4: sets the window title to “Digital Clock”

Line 6: creates the canvas, setting the height and width to height = 200, width = 500

Line 7: packs the canvas into the window

Line 9: creates the frame setting the background color to #696969

Line 10: places the frame in a specific position in the parent widget

  • relheight, relwidth − Height and width as a float between 0.0 and 1.0, as a fraction of the height and width of the parent widget [2]
  • relx, rely − Horizontal and vertical offset as a float between 0.0 and 1.0, as a fraction of the height and width of the parent widget [2]

Line 14: mainloop() method executes when GUI application is run, waiting for events from user


Inserting Label Widget

#Displays the 24-hour clock 00:00 
clock = tk.Label(frame, fg="#8FBC8F", bg='#696969', font="Verdana 110", anchor="nw"), rely=0.15, relheight=0.6, relwidth=0.7)

#Displays the seconds in clock
second = tk.Label(frame, fg="#8FBC8F", bg='#696969', font="Verdana 30", anchor="nw"), rely=0.55, relheight=0.3, relwidth=0.1)

#Label for month
month = tk.Label(frame, fg='#BDB76B', bg='#696969', text="MONTH", font="Verdana 15"), rely=0.1, relheight=0.15, relwidth=0.2)

#Displays month name, short version (e.g. FEB)
b = tk.Label(frame, fg='#8FBC8F', bg='#696969', text=x.strftime("%b"), font="Verdana 25 bold"), rely=0.230, relheight=0.15, relwidth=0.2)

#Label for date
date = tk.Label(frame, fg='#BDB76B', bg='#696969', text="DATE", font="Verdana 15"), rely=0.380, relheight=0.15, relwidth=0.2)

#Displays day of month 
d = tk.Label(frame, fg='#8FBC8F', bg='#696969', text=x.strftime("%d"), font="Verdana 25 bold"), rely=0.51, relheight=0.15, relwidth=0.2)

#Label for weekday
day = tk.Label(frame, fg='#BDB76B', bg='#696969', text="DAY", font="Verdana 15"), rely=0.650, relheight=0.15, relwidth=0.2)

#Displays weekday, short version (e.g. Wed)
a = tk.Label(frame, fg='#8FBC8F', bg='#696969', text=x.strftime("%a"), font="Verdana 25 bold"), rely=0.77, relheight=0.15, relwidth=0.2)

The Label widget on Tkinter is used to display a text or image on the screen. The label widget uses double buffering, so you can update the contents at any time, without annoying flicker [3].

Label(*master, **options)

*master refers to the parent widget. In our case our master is the frame.

**options refers to the widget options.

One of the widget options we have used is called text which displays the text in the label. If you notice on line 14, 22, and 30 our text contains x.strftime(%b), x.strftime(%d), and x.strftime(%a) which will display the month, day of month, and weekday respectively on our GUI application.


Adding Functions

def get_time():
    hour_min = time.strftime("%H:%M")
    clock.after(200, get_time)

clock = tk.Label(frame, fg="#8FBC8F", bg='#696969', font="Verdana 110", anchor="nw"), rely=0.15, relheight=0.6, relwidth=0.7)


def get_second():
    sec = time.strftime("%S")
    second.after(200, get_second)

second = tk.Label(frame, fg="#8FBC8F", bg='#696969', font="Verdana 30", anchor="nw"), rely=0.55, relheight=0.3, relwidth=0.1)


def get_time() and def get_second() function is used to display time and seconds on their respective labels.



[1] Tkinter (Wikipedia)

[2] Python – Tkinter place() method

[3] The Tkinter Label Widget

Creating a Text-Based Game with Python

It takes some time for a novice programmer, such as myself, to learn the ins and out of a new programming language. One of the quickest and fun way to understanding the basics of a new language is to create a simple program in order to gain a little bit of experience and to showcase some of the important concepts of the language [1].

This, I believe, is the next step in getting acquainted or comfortable in using a new language after successfully executing a much simpler program, “Hello World!”.

Inspired by BitLife – Life Simulator, Path of Adventure Text-based roguelike, and many other similar games, I wanted to make a simple text-based game that provides the user some choices that will lead to different scenarios.


Getting Started

The following learnings are what I will be applying to achieve this simple text-based game:

  • Python If…Else Statement – Executes a block of code if the condition is true otherwise, another block of code can be executed;
  • Python Functions – Block of code that only runs when called;
  • Python User Input – Asks user for input;
  • Python Time Module, time.sleep() – Adds delay in the execution of a program.


Organizing Ideas

It is important to organize ideas first before coding and there are various techniques in which this can be achieved such as writing pseudocodes and creating flowcharts but I will be focusing on the latter.

Creating a flowchart will help to visualize and understand the workflow of a program a little easier. A lot of novice programmers and non-technical people can get intimidated with a structured text and so, a flowchart provides a visual aid that helps to make that bit understandable and less intimidating to look at.

More so, a flowchart helps reduce unnecessary codes as it lists each necessary steps to solve certain problems.


Text-Based Game Code Snippet

import time

def start():
    print("It took a few moments to realize that you\n"
          "weren't inside the comfort of your home but\n"
          "you were staring up at rows of darkened treetops.\n"
          "Anxiety sets in as you realize you weren't\n"
          "supposed to be there. Suddenly you hear a growl\n"
          "behind. You: \n")
    print("A. Turn towards the source\n"
          "B. Get up and run\n"
          "C. Lie down and accept the inevitable")

    choice = input("Choice: ")

    if choice == 'a' or choice == 'A':
    elif choice == 'b' or choice == 'B':
    elif choice == 'c' or choice == 'C':

This is the first 23 lines of code for this simple text-based game, the rest are similar to this code snippet.

This specific function def start() will print the two print statements containing the beginning of the story and the choices available. I put a 3-seconds delay between the two statements using the time module time.sleep() as to not overwhelm the user and give them time to read, after 3-seconds the second print statement will print along with the input function.

If…Else statements was used to make the code execute certain tasks depending on the choices made by the user. If the user inputs ‘a’ or ‘A’, the code will execute a function called turn(), if the user inputs ‘b’ or ‘B’, the code will execute a function called run(), and if the user inputs ‘c’ or ‘C’, the code will execute a function called over().


create a text based game python
def over():
    print("\nYou died. Wasn't exactly a wise decision.\n"
          "Do you want to play again?\n"
          "Press Y for yes\n"
          "Press N for no\n")

    choice = input("Choice: ")
    if choice == 'y' or choice == 'Y':
        print("Thanks for playing!")

This is the function def over() which will only execute if the user inputs certain choices that will lead to this scenario.

Here I gave the user two choices on whether they want to play again or not. If the user inputs ‘y’ or ‘Y’, function def start() will be called and the game will start again from the beginning but if the user inputs ‘n’ or ‘N’ (or any another keys), a print statement will print “Thanks for playing!” and the program will stop.


create text based game python

Creating a simple text-based game with Python has only scratch the surface of the great things that could be achieved using this language such as game development, machine learning and artificial intelligence, data science, etc. This simple text-based game is certainly a good starting point that covers some of the few important concepts of not only Python but other new languages as well.



[1] How to Learn a New Programming Language Fast

[2] When would I use pseudocode instead of flowchart

[3] Python Tutorial w3schools