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Understanding Signals and Slot in Qt

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This article shows how to use Qt's Signals and Slots mechanism.

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Created: james1980 (25 Dec 2008)
Last edited: Vaishali Rawat (07 Feb 2013)


The Signals and slots mechanism is fundamentally used to bind the object together without the object knowing any thing about each other.

Here slots are almost identical to C++ member functions which can be public, protected, or private. They can be directly invoked like any other C++ member functions. The difference is that a slot can also be connected to a signal, in which case it is automatically called each time the signal is emitted. We can use a connect statement to connect a signal and a slot. The connect() statement looks like this:

connect(sender, SIGNAL(signal), receiver, SLOT(slot));

Here is the example of it.

QObject::connect(spinBox, SIGNAL(valueChanged(int)),slider, SLOT(setValue(int)));

In the above example a signal is emitted each time the value of the spinbox is changed and this signal is received by a slider and it called the corresponding function in the slot.Where sender and receiver are pointers to QObject and where signal and slot are function signatures.

There are many other possibilities for connecting a signal and a slot in a different way.

• One signal can be connected to many slots:

connect(slider, SIGNAL(valueChanged(int)),spinBox, SLOT(setValue(int)));
connect(slider, SIGNAL(valueChanged(int)),this, SLOT(updateStatusBarIndicator(int)));

When the signal is emitted, the slots are called one after the other, in an unspecified order.

For Example of signal asn slots visit: Archived:How to use QSpinBox and QSlider

For More details in Slgnals and Slote visit: Signals and Slots in Qt

• Many signals can be connected to the same slot:

connect(sender0, SIGNAL(overflow()),receiver1, SLOT(handleMathError()));
connect(sender1, SIGNAL(divisionByZero()),receiver1, SLOT(handleMathError()));

• A signal can be connected to another signal:

connect(sender1, SIGNAL(function1()),receiver, SIGNAL(function2()));

When the first signal is emitted, the second signal is emitted as well. Apart from that, signal–signal connections are indistinguishable from signal–slot connections. • Disconnect can be used to remove the connection.

disconnect(sender0, SIGNAL(overflow()),receiver1, SLOT(handleMathError()));

In practice disconnect statement are rarely used because Qt removes all the connection automatically when it delete the objects.

Declaring your own slots

If your are going to declare your own slots then you have to define your slots in the header file:

 pulbic slots:
void slots();

To connect this slots we have to write


For more information about signals and slots see Signals and Slots

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