Creating a system tray icon

In order to create a system tray icon, the class pystray.Icon is used:

import pystray

icon = pystray.Icon('test name')

In order for the icon to be displayed, you must provide an icon. This icon must be specified as a PIL.Image.Image:

from PIL import Image, ImageDraw

def create_image():
    # Generate an image and draw a pattern
    image = Image.new('RGB', (width, height), color1)
    dc = ImageDraw.Draw(image)
    dc.rectangle(
        (width // 2, 0, width, height // 2),
        fill=color2)
    dc.rectangle(
        (0, height // 2, width // 2, height),
        fill=color2)

    return image

icon.icon = create_image()

To finally show you icon, run the following code:

icon.run()

The call to pystray.Icon.run() is blocking, and it must be performed from the main thread of the application. The reason for this is that the system tray icon implementation for OSX will fail unless called from the main thread, and it also requires the application runloop to be running. pystray.Icon.run() will start the runloop.

If you only target Windows, calling run() from a thread other than the main thread is safe.

The run() method accepts an optional argument: setup, a callable.

The setup function will be run in a separate thread once the system tray icon is ready. The icon does not wait for it to complete, so you may put any code that would follow the call to pystray.Icon.run() in it.

The call to pystray.Icon.run() will not complete until stop() is called.

Getting input from the system tray icon

In order to receive notifications about user interaction with the icon, a popup menu can be added with the menu constructor argument.

This must be an instance of pystray.Menu. Please see the reference for more information about the format.

It will be displayed when the right-hand button has been pressed on the icon on Windows, and when the icon has been clicked on other platforms. Menus are not supported on X.

Menus also support a default item. On Windows, and X, this item will be activated when the user clicks on the icon using the primary button. On other platforms it will be activated if the menu contains no visible entries; it does not have to be visible.

All properties of menu items, except for the callback, can be dynamically calculated by supplying callables instead of values to the menu item constructor. The properties are recalculated every time the icon is clicked or any menu item is activated.

If the dynamic properties change because of an external event, you must ensure that Icon.update_menu is called. This is required since not all supported platforms allow for the menu to be generated when displayed.

Creating the menu

This is not supported on Xorg; please check Icon.HAS_MENU at runtime for support on the current platform.

A menu can be attached to a system tray icon by passing an instance of pystray.Menu as the menu keyword argument.

A menu consists of a list of menu items, optionally separated by menu separators.

Separators are intended to group menu items into logical groups. They will not be displayed as the first and last visible item, and adjacent separators will be hidden.

A menu item has several attributes:

text and action

The menu item text and its associated action.

These are the only required attributes. Please see submenu below for alternate interpretations of action.

checked

Whether the menu item is checked.

This can be one of three values:

False
The item is decorated with an unchecked check box.
True
The item is decorated with a checked check box.
None
There is no hint that the item is checkable.

If you want this to actually be togglable, you must pass a callable that returns the current state:

from pystray import Icon as icon, Menu as menu, MenuItem as item

state = False

def on_clicked(icon, item):
    global state
    state = not item.checked

# Update the state in `on_clicked` and return the new state in
# a `checked` callable
icon('test', create_image(), menu=menu(
    item(
        'Checkable',
        on_clicked,
        checked=lambda item: state))).run()
radio

This is not supported on macOS; please check Icon.HAS_MENU_RADIO at runtime for support on the current platform.

Whether this is a radio button.

This is used only if checked is True or False, and only has a visual meaning. The menu has no concept of radio button groups:

from pystray import Icon as icon, Menu as menu, MenuItem as item

state = 0

def set_state(v):
    def inner(icon, item):
        global state
        state = v
    return inner

def get_state(v):
    def inner(item):
        return state == v
    return inner

# Let the menu items be a callable returning a sequence of menu
# items to allow the menu to grow
icon('test', create_image(), menu=menu(lambda: (
    item(
        'State %d' % i,
        set_state(i),
        checked=get_state(i),
        radio=True)
    for i in range(max(5, state + 2))))).run()
default

This is not supported on Darwin and using AppIndicator; please check Icon.HAS_DEFAULT at runtime for support on the current platform.

Whether this is the default item.

It is drawn in a distinguished style and will be activated as the default item on platforms that support default actions. On X, this is the only action available.

visible
Whether the menu item is visible.
enabled
Whether the menu item is enabled. Disabled menu items are displayed, but are greyed out and cannot be activated.
submenu

The submenu, if any, that is attached to this menu item. Either a submenu or an action can be passed as the second argument to the constructor.

The submenu must be an instance of Menu:

from pystray import Icon as icon, Menu as menu, MenuItem as item

icon('test', create_image(), menu=menu(
    item(
        'With submenu',
        menu(
            item(
                'Submenu item 1',
                lambda icon, item: 1),
            item(
                'Submenu item 2',
                lambda icon, item: 2))))).run()

Once created, menus and menu items cannot be modified. All attributes except for the menu item callbacks can however be set to callables returning the current value. This also applies to the sequence of menu items belonging to a menu: this can be a callable returning the current sequence.

Displaying notifications

This is not supported on macOS and Xorg; please check Icon.HAS_NOTIFICATION at runtime for support on the current platform.

To display a system notification, use pystray.Icon.notify():

from pystray import Icon as icon, Menu as menu, MenuItem as item

icon('test', create_image(), menu=menu(
    item(
        'With submenu',
        menu(
            item(
                'Show message',
                lambda icon, item: icon.notify('Hello World!')),
            item(
                'Submenu item 2',
                lambda icon, item: icon.remove_notification()))))).run()

Integrating with other frameworks

The pystray run method is blocking, and must be called from the main thread to maintain platform independence. This is troublesome when attempting to use frameworks with an event loop, since they may also require running in the main thread.

For this case you can use run_detached. This allows you to setup the icon and then pass control to the framework. Please see the documentation for more information.

Selecting a backend

pystray aims to provide a unified API for all supported platforms. In some cases, however, that is not entirely possible.

This library supports a number of backends. On macOS and Windows, the operating system has system tray icons built-in, so the default backends should be used, but on Linux you may have to make a decision depending on your needs.

By setting the environment variable PYSTRAY_BACKEND to one of the strings in the next section, the automatic selection is turned off.

Supported backends

appindicator

This is one of the backends available on Linux, and is the preferred choice. All pystray features except for a menu default action are supported, and if the appindicator library is installed on the system and the desktop environment supports it, the icon is guaranteed to be displayed.

If the appindicator library is not available on the system, a fallback on ayatana-appindicator is attempted.

darwin
This is the default backend when running on macOS. All pystray features are available.
gtk
This is one of the backends available on Linux, and is prioritised above the XOrg backend. It uses GTK as underlying library. All pystray features are available, but it may not actually result in a visible icon: when running a gnome-shell session, an third party plugin is required to display legacy tray icons.
win32
This is the default backend when running on Windows. All pystray features are available.
xorg
This is one of the backends available on Linux. It is used as a fallback when no other backend can be loaded. It does not support any menu functionality except for a default action.