How to clear Tkinter Canvas?


When I draw a shape using:

canvas.create_rectangle(10, 10, 50, 50, color="green")

Does Tkinter keep track of the fact that it was created?

In a simple game I'm making, my code has one Frame create a bunch of rectangles, and then draw a big black rectangle to clear the screen, and then draw another set of updated rectangles, and so on.

Am I creating thousands of rectangle objects in memory?

I know you can assign the code above to a variable, but if I don't do that and just draw directly to the canvas, does it stay in memory, or does it just draw the pixels, like in the HTML5 canvas?

This question is tagged with python python-3.x tkinter tkinter-canvas

~ Asked on 2013-04-05 17:02:07

The Best Answer is


Every canvas item is an object that Tkinter keeps track of. If you are clearing the screen by just drawing a black rectangle, then you effectively have created a memory leak -- eventually your program will crash due to the millions of items that have been drawn.

To clear a canvas, use the delete method. Give it the special parameter "all" to delete all items on the canvas (the string "all"" is a special tag that represents all items on the canvas):


If you want to delete only certain items on the canvas (such as foreground objects, while leaving the background objects on the display) you can assign tags to each item. Then, instead of "all", you could supply the name of a tag.

If you're creating a game, you probably don't need to delete and recreate items. For example, if you have an object that is moving across the screen, you can use the move or coords method to move the item.

~ Answered on 2013-04-05 17:46:31


Items drawn to the canvas are persistent. create_rectangle returns an item id that you need to keep track of. If you don't remove old items your program will eventually slow down.

From Fredrik Lundh's An Introduction to Tkinter:

Note that items added to the canvas are kept until you remove them. If you want to change the drawing, you can either use methods like coords, itemconfig, and move to modify the items, or use delete to remove them.

~ Answered on 2013-04-05 17:32:50

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