Learn from an experimental physicist

Jul 15, 2015 learning Qt

widgets dragged to centralWidget area need to be laid 

If this is your first time to create a GUI application using the QMainWindow widget in the Qt Creator, you may have a hard time to get access to the child widgets you dragged into the centralWidget area using the Design mode in Qt Creator. For example, you can get access to the statusBar in the main window using the following syntax:

ui->statusBar->showMessage("It works!");

But you cannot get access to any widget you dragged into the centralWidget as shown in the above screen shot:

ui->centralWidget->lineEdit->setText("won't work!"); // this does not work!

Two things are wrong in the code snippet above. First of all, the lineEdit object dragged into the centralWidget area is not a child of the centralWidget unless you lay it out in the centralWidget. This is illustrated in the screen shot above. The layout icon in front of the centralWidget has a banned sign on it, indicating that widgets dragged in its area are not laid out yet. One can follow the bottom screen shot to layout the widgets in the centralWidget. Once it is done, those widgets become children of the centralWidget automatically. Secondly, one can use the ui pointer provided in the main window to get access to not only direct children of the main window but also its grand children directly:

ui->lineEdit->setText("works!");// works after it's laid out in centralWidget

laying out widgets in 


Blogs on physics research and educational activities of Jing LIU, an assistant professor in physics at the University of South Dakota. He is an experimental physicist developing novel particle detectors for astroparticle physics and civil use.