TabContainer in Godot – Complete Guide

Welcome to this comprehensive tutorial on the TabContainer class in Godot 4! If you’re embarking on a journey to create an interactive and organized user interface (UI) for your game or application in Godot, mastering TabContainer is essential. Godot’s UI system is robust and flexible, offering various tools to create engaging interfaces. With the TabContainer class, you can neatly arrange your content into tabs, making it easily navigable and aesthetically pleasing. So, if you’re ready to dive in and enhance your UI design skills, this guide is the place to start.

What is TabContainer?

The TabContainer class in Godot is a type of Container control that allows developers to organize their UI elements into a tabbed view. Each child control of a TabContainer becomes a separate tab, providing a streamlined method to switch between different sections of content within the same space.

What is TabContainer for?

This feature is incredibly useful for creating menus, in-game settings, inventory systems, or multi-page forms. It helps manage screen real estate effectively by displaying only the active tab’s contents, hiding the rest. This method of separating content into digestible chunks makes for a cleaner and more organized UI.

Why Should I Learn It?

Knowing how to implement and customize a TabContainer can elevate the user experience of your game or application. It simplifies navigation and organization of the UI, making it more intuitive and user-friendly. A well-designed interface can significantly impact how players interact with your game, making this a critical skill for any aspiring Godot developer. Let’s get started on how to wield this powerful tool in Godot 4!

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Creating a Basic TabContainer

Let’s start by creating a simple TabContainer within the Godot Editor. First, we need to add a TabContainer node to our scene. This will be the parent for our tabs.

var tab_container =

Next, we add child nodes to the TabContainer. Each child becomes a separate tab. Here’s how you create two tabs:

var tab1 = = "Tab 1"

var tab2 = = "Tab 2"

Each ‘Control’ node represents content for a tab. The ‘name’ property of the Control nodes will be displayed as the tab’s title in the interface.

Customizing Tab Titles and Icons

You might want to customize your tab titles further or add icons to them. The TabContainer class provides methods to do this.

Here’s how to change a tab’s title:

tab_container.set_tab_title(0, "First Tab")
tab_container.set_tab_title(1, "Second Tab")

To add an icon to a tab, first, let’s preload an icon and then set it:

var icon = preload("res://path_to_your_icon.png")
tab_container.set_tab_icon(0, icon)

Make sure you replace “res://path_to_your_icon.png” with the actual path to your icon resource.

Responding to Tab Changes

Often, you’ll want to respond to user actions, such as when a user switches tabs. Connect the “tab_changed” signal to react to these changes.

func _ready():
    tab_container.connect("tab_changed", self, "_on_TabContainer_tab_changed")

func _on_TabContainer_tab_changed(tab_index):
    print("Switched to tab: ", tab_index)

Whenever the user changes tabs, the “_on_TabContainer_tab_changed” function gets called with the index of the new active tab.

Programmatically Changing Tabs

You might want to change tabs programmatically rather than through user interaction. To do this, use the ‘current_tab’ property.

# Switch to the second tab (index starts from 0)
tab_container.current_tab = 1

This snippet of code switches to the second tab, assuming you’ve followed the previous steps and created at least two tabs.

Remember that Godot indexes start at 0, so the first tab is index 0, the second is index 1, and so on. With these basic examples, you should now have a functional TabContainer with some customization and interactivity. Let’s move on to more advanced aspects of TabContainers in the next section of our guide.Absolutely, let’s delve even deeper into the functionality of the TabContainer and explore some advanced features that you can incorporate into your Godot projects.

Aligning Tabs and Custom Styles

Godot allows you to align your tabs either at the top or bottom of the TabContainer. Here’s how to align them to the bottom:

tab_container.tab_align = TabContainer.ALIGN_BOTTOM

Customizing the appearance of your tabs is also possible with Godot’s theme system. If you want to apply a custom style to all tabs, you can do this:

# Assuming you have a custom style 'my_style' loaded
var my_style = preload("res://path_to_your_style.tres")
tab_container.add_stylebox_override("tab_fg", my_style)
tab_container.add_stylebox_override("tab_bg", my_style)

Replace “res://path_to_your_style.tres” with the path to your style resource. The style will affect all the tabs in the TabContainer (`tab_fg` for the active tab foreground and `tab_bg` for the inactive tab background).

Disabling and Hiding Tabs

Sometimes, you may want to disable a tab to prevent users from selecting it, or even hide it altogether.

To disable a tab:

tab_container.set_tab_disabled(1, true) # Disables the second tab

To hide a tab:

tab_container.set_tab_title(1, "") # Hides the second tab

Note that hiding a tab in this manner removes its title, effectively making it invisible. This works if you don’t need the tab to occupy any visual space. If you need to display the tab again, just set the title back.

Using Icons and Text Together

You can have both an icon and text for your tabs to provide a richer UI experience.

# Set both icon and title for the first tab
tab_container.set_tab_title(0, "Home")
tab_container.set_tab_icon(0, preload("res://home_icon.png"))

This code assumes you have an icon called ‘home_icon.png’ located at the provided path.

Dragging to Reorder Tabs

Allowing users to drag and reorder tabs can enhance the flexibility of your TabContainer.

Enable tab reordering like this:

tab_container.tabs_rearrange_group = 1 # Enable reordering within the same group

Now, users can click and drag tabs within the TabContainer to rearrange them. Tabs can be dragged only within the same `tabs_rearrange_group`.

Using the code examples and techniques shown above, you can now expand upon the basic TabContainer functionality in Godot 4 and create more interactive and customized user interfaces for your projects. Remember, a well-organized and user-friendly interface goes a long way in keeping your players engaged and ensuring a professional feel to your game or application. Keep experimenting with these features, and you’ll master the TabContainer class in no time!Great, let’s explore some additional functionality of the TabContainer that can provide an even more dynamic interface in Godot.

Sometimes, you need to retrieve the number of tabs or the controls corresponding to each tab. Here’s how to do it:

# Get the number of tabs
var tab_count = tab_container.get_tab_count()

# Get the Control node of the first tab
var first_tab_control = tab_container.get_child(0)

When it comes to enabling and disabling tabs dynamically based on game logic, such as unlocking a new feature or level, this can be easily done with:

# Enable the second tab
tab_container.set_tab_disabled(1, false)

# Disable the second tab
tab_container.set_tab_disabled(1, true)

If your UI design calls for tabs that should not switch immediately upon clicking, but rather wait for a certain condition or confirmation from the user, you can first intercept the tab change:

# This function is called before switching tabs
func _on_TabContainer_pre_popup_pressed(index):
    if condition_to_allow_tab_switch:
        tab_container.current_tab = index
        # Possibly show a message to the user or log the event

Don’t forget to connect this method to the “pre_popup_pressed” signal of the TabContainer in your _ready function.

Customizing tab visibility can further improve UI clarity. For example, tabs could represent levels in a game, and you might want to show or hide tabs based on the player’s progress:

# Show the second tab
tab_container.set_tab_title(1, "Level 2")

# Hide the second tab
tab_container.set_tab_title(1, "")

This toggles the second tab’s visibility by changing its title to an empty string or setting it to the desired title.

For a more advanced use-case, let’s say your game has a settings menu with unapplied changes. The player might try to switch tabs without saving. In this case, displaying a confirmation dialogue before switching would be a user-friendly approach:

# Assuming 'confirmation_dialogue' is a preloaded dialogue scene or a child of the current scene
func _on_TabContainer_tab_changed(tab_index):
    if has_unsaved_changes:
        # Optionally, revert to the previous tab
        tab_container.current_tab = previous_tab_index
    # Update the current tab index after changes are confirmed or there are no unsaved changes
    previous_tab_index = tab_index

By combining these features, you can build a responsive UI system that adapts to game states and player interactions, offering both aesthetics and functionality within your TabContainer. Implementing these dynamic elements not only makes the user experience more engaging but also showcases your attention to detail and care in UI design. Keep experimenting with these techniques to discover even more ways to utilize the TabContainer in Godot for your unique game or application.

Continuing Your Godot Journey

Congratulations on completing this tutorial on the TabContainer class in Godot 4! This is just the beginning of your journey into the rich world of game development with this powerful engine. To further hone your skills and expand your knowledge, we encourage you to explore our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree. Our comprehensive program covers everything from the foundations of the Godot engine to advanced concepts that will allow you to build your own games with professional finesse.

Whether you’re a beginner or looking to polish your existing abilities, our Mini-Degree is designed to guide you through the various facets of game creation—2D and 3D design, programming with GDScript, implementing complex gameplay mechanics, and much more. The courses are self-paced and packed with practical projects to build your portfolio.

If you’re passionate about continuing your education and eager to explore a vast array of topics in Godot, be sure to visit our complete collection of Godot courses at Zenva Academy. With over 250 supported courses, from coding to AI, we provide the tools and knowledge essential for success in the tech industry. Embrace the opportunity to learn, create, and transform your career with us. Your next big step in game development awaits!


Mastering the TabContainer class is a significant milestone in crafting intuitive and polished user interfaces within the Godot engine. As you’ve seen, the versatility and customization options this class provides can lead to not only better user experiences but also smarter UI management. Creating tabbed interfaces is now an arrow in your quiver, one that you’ll find indispensable as you tackle various game development challenges. Don’t stop here—this is a stepping stone to building even more complex and engaging games.

We at Zenva Academy are excited to see what you will create with the skills you’ve honed here. Remember, your learning adventure doesn’t end with this tutorial. Delve deeper into the world of Godot with our Godot Game Development Mini-Degree and continue to build your expertise. With our assortment of comprehensive courses, you’re one step closer to bringing your game development dreams to life. So leap forth, keep coding, and transform your passion into reality!

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