Designer Widgets

Widgets in PyDM itself

If you are developing a new widget for PyDM, please make it compatible with Qt designer by editing pydm/widgets/

For example, if you create a widget called MyWidget and have it in pydm.widgets.my_widget, you should add the following lines in

from .my_widget import MyWidget

# And further down in the file where the "NOTE" is:

MyWidgetPlugin = qtplugin_factory(

The group parameter may be one of the following attributes from WidgetCategory.

class pydm.widgets.qtplugin_base.WidgetCategory(value)[source]

Categories for PyDM Widgets in the Qt Designer.

CONTAINER = 'PyDM Container Widgets'

Widgets which can contain other widgets.

DISPLAY = 'PyDM Display Widgets'

Widgets which contain displays.

DRAWING = 'PyDM Drawing Widgets'

Widgets which draw things.

INPUT = 'PyDM Input Widgets'

Widgets which take user input.

MISC = 'PyDM Misc. Widgets'

Widgets which don’t fit into any other category.

PLOT = 'PyDM Plot Widgets'

Widgets which plot data.

For most widgets, extensions should remain as the suggested BASE_EXTENSIONS. Advanced users who wish to further customize the Qt Designer experience will need to poke around in the PyDM internals to figure it out.

The icon can be customized using the PyDM-vendored fontawesome library. The available options can be found in fontawesome-charmap.json, and a quick Google search should help you find an icon that will fit your scenario.

pydm.widgets.qtplugin_base.qtplugin_factory(cls: Type[PyQt5.QtWidgets.QWidget], is_container: bool = False, group: str = 'PyDM Widgets', extensions: Optional[List[Type]] = None, icon: Optional[PyQt5.QtGui.QIcon] = None) Type[pydm.widgets.qtplugin_base.PyDMDesignerPlugin][source]

Helper function to create a generic PyDMDesignerPlugin class.

  • cls (QWidget subclass) – The widget class.

  • is_container (bool, optional) – True if this widget can contain other widgets (as in a Frame). This will also affect whether or not the widget can be used as the top-level widget of a display. Defaults to False.

  • extensions (list of extension classes, optional) – Extension classes to use with the widget.

  • icon (QtGui.QIcon, optional) – An icon to use with the widget in the designer. Consider using the PyDM-provided fontawesome ifont here for simplicity.

Widgets in external packages

If you develop a package which has Qt Designer-compatible widgets, you can use PyDM’s built-in support for adding widgets to the designer via entrypoints.

Here is an example that could be used to locate a designable widget in your own Python package:

from setuptools import setup, find_packages

    # ... other settings will go here
        "gui_scripts": ["my_package_gui=my_package.main:main"],
        "pydm.widget": [

This would assume that you have the following:

  1. A package named “my_package” with my_package/ and my_package/

  2. In my_package/, a MyWidgetClass that inherits from QWidget.

After running pip install on the package, it should be readily available in the Qt Designer.

The class may specify additional settings by way of this mechanism:

class MyWidgetClass(QtWidgets.QWidget):
    """This is your custom widget."""
    # Add this to customize where/how the widget shows up in the designer:
    _qt_designer_ = {
        "group": "My Widget Category",
        "is_container": False,
        "extensions": [],
        "icon": None,  # QtGui.QIcon(...)

The _qt_designer_ dictionary is passed directly to qtplugin_factory.