Get/Set selected tab in JTabbedPane

With this tutorial we shall show you how to get or set the selected tab in a JTabbedPane component of a Java Desktop Application.

Basically all you have to do for it is to:

  • Create a new JFrame.
  • Call frame.getContentPane().setLayout(new GridLayout(1, 1) to set up grid layout for the frame.
  • Use JTabbedPane(JTabbedPane.TOP) to get a JTabbedPane.
  • Use tabbedPane.getSelectedIndex() to get the index of the selected tab.
  • Use tabbedPane.setSelectedIndex() to set the index of the selected tab.

Let’s see the code:

package com.javacodegeeks.snippets.desktop;

import java.awt.GridLayout;
import java.awt.Label;

import javax.swing.JFrame;
import javax.swing.JPanel;
import javax.swing.JTabbedPane;

public class GetSetSelectedTabInJTabbedPane {

	private static void createAndShowGUI() {

		// Create and set up the window.
		final JFrame frame = new JFrame("Tabbed Pane Example");

		// Display the window.
		frame.setSize(400, 400);

		// set grid layout for the frame
		frame.getContentPane().setLayout(new GridLayout(1, 1));

		JTabbedPane tabbedPane = new JTabbedPane(JTabbedPane.TOP);

		tabbedPane.addTab("Tab1", makePanel("This is tab 1"));
		tabbedPane.addTab("Tab2", makePanel("This is tab 2"));
		tabbedPane.addTab("Tab3", makePanel("This is tab 3"));
		tabbedPane.addTab("Tab4", makePanel("This is tab 4"));


		// get the currently selected index for this tabbedpane
		int selectedIndex = tabbedPane.getSelectedIndex();
		System.out.println("Default Index:" + selectedIndex);

		// select the last tab

		selectedIndex = tabbedPane.getSelectedIndex();
		System.out.println("New Index:" + selectedIndex);


	private static JPanel makePanel(String text) {
		JPanel p = new JPanel();
		p.add(new Label(text));
		p.setLayout(new GridLayout(1, 1));
		return p;

	public static void main(String[] args) {

  //Schedule a job for the event-dispatching thread:

  //creating and showing this application's GUI.

  javax.swing.SwingUtilities.invokeLater(new Runnable() {

public void run() {





This was an example on how to get and set the selected tab in JTabbedPane component.

Byron Kiourtzoglou

Byron is a master software engineer working in the IT and Telecom domains. He is an applications developer in a wide variety of applications/services. He is currently acting as the team leader and technical architect for a proprietary service creation and integration platform for both the IT and Telecom industries in addition to a in-house big data real-time analytics solution. He is always fascinated by SOA, middleware services and mobile development. Byron is co-founder and Executive Editor at Java Code Geeks.
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