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Qt 5.12: The Latest Version of Qt with Long Term Support


Qt Designer 5 Download: How to Install and Use the GUI Design Tool




If you are looking for a tool to create graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for your applications, you might want to check out Qt Designer. In this article, we will show you what Qt Designer is, why you should use it, how to download and install it, and how to use it to create a GUI application.




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What is Qt Designer and why use it?




Qt Designer is a tool for designing and building graphical user interfaces (GUIs) with Qt Widgets. Qt Widgets are a set of standard UI elements that Qt Widgets are a set of standard UI elements that can be used to create cross-platform applications with a native look and feel. Some examples of Qt Widgets are buttons, labels, text boxes, sliders, menus, dialogs, and so on.


Qt Designer offers many benefits for developers, such as:


  • A WYSIWYG editor that allows you to compose and customize your windows or dialogs by dragging and dropping widgets from the widget box.



  • A seamless integration with programmed code, using Qt's signals and slots mechanism. Signals and slots are a way of communicating between objects, where a signal is emitted when an event occurs, and a slot is a function that responds to the signal. You can connect signals and slots in Qt Designer using the edit mode, or in your code using the connect method.



  • A support for custom widgets and plugins. You can create your own widgets by subclassing existing ones, or by using the Qt Designer's widget promotion feature. You can also use plugins to extend the functionality of Qt Designer, such as adding new widgets, property editors, or language support.



  • A compatibility with both Qt4 and Qt5 versions. Qt Designer 5 can work with both Qt4 and Qt5 libraries, as long as you have the corresponding development tools installed on your system. You can also switch between different Qt versions in Qt Designer's preferences.



How to download and install Qt Designer 5?




Qt Designer 5 is part of the Qt framework, which can be downloaded from the official website. You can choose between different options, such as:


  • The online installer, which requires an internet connection and allows you to select the components you want to install. This is the recommended option if you want to have the latest updates and features of Qt.



  • The offline installer, which is a stand-alone binary package that includes Qt libraries and Qt Creator. This is a convenient option if you want to have a fixed version of Qt or if you have a slow or unreliable internet connection.



  • The source packages, which allow you to compile Qt from source code. This is an advanced option if you want to customize or modify Qt for your specific needs.



You can also launch Qt Designer directly from Qt Creator, the integrated development environment (IDE) for Qt applications. Qt Creator is a powerful tool that provides features such as code editing, debugging, testing, version control, and project management. You can open Qt Designer from Qt Creator by selecting Tools > Design Mode, or by double-clicking on a UI file in the project explorer.


How to use Qt Designer 5 to create a GUI application?




Using Qt Designer involves four basic steps:


  • Choose your form and objects from the widget box. The widget box contains all the available widgets that you can use in your GUI. You can drag and drop them onto your form, which is the main window or dialog of your application. You can also use the filter box to search for a specific widget by name or category.



  • Lay out the objects on the form using layouts and containers. Layouts are a way of arranging widgets on a form in a way that preserves their relative positions and sizes when the form is resized or shown on different devices. Containers are widgets that can hold other widgets, such as group boxes, tab widgets, scroll areas, etc. You can use layouts and containers to create complex and dynamic GUIs with minimal effort.



  • Connect the signals to the slots using the edit mode. The edit mode allows you to connect signals from widgets to slots in your code or in other widgets. For example, you can connect the clicked signal of a button to the accept slot of a dialog, or to a custom slot that you have defined in your code. You can access the edit mode by clicking on the Edit Signals/Slots button on the toolbar, or by pressing F4.



  • Preview the form using different styles and resolutions. The preview mode allows you to see how your GUI will look like when it is run as an application. You can access the preview mode by clicking on the Form > Preview button on the menu bar, or by pressing Ctrl+R. You can also change the style and resolution of the preview window to test how your GUI will adapt to different platforms and devices.



You can also use other features of Qt Designer, such as:


  • Editing resources, such as images and icons. You can use the resource editor to add, remove, or modify the resources that are used in your GUI, such as images, icons, fonts, sounds, etc. You can access the resource editor by clicking on the Edit Resources button on the toolbar, or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+R. You can also use the resource browser to view and select the resources that are available in your project.



  • Using stylesheets to customize the appearance of widgets. You can use the stylesheet editor to apply CSS-like rules to your widgets, such as changing their colors, fonts, borders, backgrounds, etc. You can access the stylesheet editor by clicking on the Edit Style Sheet button on the toolbar, or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+S. You can also use the style sheet property of each widget to edit its individual style.



  • Creating main windows with menus, toolbars, status bars, and dock widgets. You can use the main window template to create a standard application window with a menu bar, a tool bar, a status bar, and a central widget. You can also add dock widgets to your main window, which are movable and resizable widgets that can be docked to the edges of the window or floated as separate windows. You can use the action editor to create and manage actions for your menus and toolbars.



  • Creating custom widgets and widget extensions. You can use the custom widget plugin interface to create your own widgets that can be used in Qt Designer. You can also use the widget extension interface to add new functionality or properties to existing widgets. You can find more information about these interfaces in the Qt Designer documentation.



Conclusion




Qt Designer 5 is a powerful and user-friendly tool for creating GUI applications with Qt Widgets. You can download and install Qt Designer 5 from the official website or launch it from Qt Creator. You can use Qt Designer 5 to design and build your GUIs in a WYSIWYG manner, and integrate them with your code using signals and slots.


FAQs




  • What are the alternatives to Qt Designer?



Some alternatives to Qt Designer are GTK+, Electron, Flutter, React Native, and Tauri. These are other frameworks or tools that can be used to create cross-platform GUI applications with different technologies and features.


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  • What are the differences between Qt Designer and Qt Design Studio?



Qt Design Studio is another tool for designing user interfaces, but it uses Qt Quick instead of Qt Widgets. Qt Quick is a declarative framework that enables a more customizable appearance, touch-reactive elements, and smooth animated transitions. Qt Design Studio also provides features such as live reloading, visual debugging, and collaboration.


  • How can I use a designer UI file in my C++ or Python application?



You can use the uic tool to convert a designer UI file into C++ code, or the pyuic tool to convert it into Python code. You can also use the QUiLoader class to load a designer UI file at runtime. These tools and classes are part of the Qt framework and can be found in the documentation.


  • How can I learn more about Qt Designer?



You can read the official documentation, watch some tutorials, or join some online communities. These resources will help you get started with Qt Designer and learn more about its features and capabilities.


  • How can I get help or support for Qt Designer?



You can contact the Qt Company, report bugs or issues on bugreports.qt.io, or ask questions on forums.qt.io or stackoverflow.com. These platforms will provide you with professional or peer support for Qt Designer and other Qt products.




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