Simple code to show you how to display an image from a Web URL using the Tkinter Python GUI toolkit, the Python Image Library (PIL) and the data_stream created with io.BytesIO().

display an image from a URL using Tkinter, PIL and data_stream
tested with Python27 and Python33  by  vegaseat  01mar2013

import io
# allows for image formats other than gif
from PIL import Image, ImageTk
    # Python2
    import Tkinter as tk
    from urllib2 import urlopen
except ImportError:
    # Python3
    import tkinter as tk
    from urllib.request import urlopen

root = tk.Tk()

# find yourself a picture on an internet web page you like
# (right click on the picture, under properties copy the address)
#url = ""
# or use image previously downloaded to
#url = ""
url = ""

image_bytes = urlopen(url).read()
# internal data file
data_stream = io.BytesIO(image_bytes)
# open as a PIL image object
pil_image =

# optionally show image info
# get the size of the image
w, h = pil_image.size
# split off image file name
fname = url.split('/')[-1]
sf = "{} ({}x{})".format(fname, w, h)

# convert PIL image object to Tkinter PhotoImage object
tk_image = ImageTk.PhotoImage(pil_image)

# put the image on a typical widget
label = tk.Label(root, image=tk_image, bg='brown')
label.pack(padx=5, pady=5)

About the Author
Member Avatar vegaseat DaniWeb's Hypocrite


Has anyone used the PIL fork Pillow and is there any reason to change?

Looks like Pillow is not available for Python3

I was able to install pillow 2.0.0 in Windows Python 3.3 using the exe installer and run this program.

Howver I can not get it to work under Ubuntu/python3.3 using source nor egg. Pillow appears to install and does announce [] that JPEG support is available, but then there is a runtime error

builtins.OSError: decoder jpeg not available

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong ?

Verify Package: PIL.path

For Python27 and Python33 I have recently used PIL fork Pillow from:
Windows installer:
Pillow-2.0.0.win32-py2.7.exe or
documents at:

Things seem to work well, no neeed to change code.

Thanks to rwe0 for the fix with Linux.