A replacement for Nuke's "tab" node creator
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tabtabtab.py Bump version to 1.8 Aug 8, 2018


"tabtabtab", an alternative "tab node creator thingy" for The Foundry's Nuke

It does substring matching (so "blr" matches "blur"), and weights your most used nodes first (so if I make the useful "Add [math]" node often, it appears higher in the list than "Add 3:2 pulldown")


Put tabtabtab on PYTHONPATH or NUKE_PATH somewhere (maybe in ~/.nuke/)

mkdir -p ~/.nuke
cd ~/.nuke
curl -O https://raw.github.com/dbr/tabtabtab-nuke/master/tabtabtab.py

Then to your ~/.nuke/menu.py add:

def ttt():
    import tabtabtab
    m_graph = nuke.menu("Node Graph")
    m_graph.addCommand("Tabtabtab", tabtabtab.main, "Tab")

except Exception:
    import traceback

The original menu will still be available via "Ctrl+Tab". You can change the last "Tab" argument to another shortcut if you wish.


This requires Nuke 6.3v5 or higher (for the integrated PySide module)

For older versions of 6.3, you must have a custom PyQt installation. For 6.2, see Dylan Palmboom's tabtabtabLegacy fork, which may also work in even more ancient version.

Relevant Foundry bug-id's:

  • [Fixed in Nuke 6.3v8] Bug #23576, "Segmentation Fault on Nuke exit after using a custom PySide window" (causes a mostly harmless "Segmentation fault" message on exiting Nuke)

  • Feature #11662 to get this functionality integrated into Nuke

In order to support Nuke 9, you need to use a different snippet in your menu.py, adding the tabtabtab call to the Node Graph instead of the Edit menu (see the updated installation instructions). The same snippet works in older verisons of Nuke.

More elabourate description

With the default "tab thing", you press tab, start typing a node name (like "Blu") and you get a list of nodes that start with "Blu" (like "Blur"):

Nuke's builtin tab thing

"tabtabtab" works very similarly, but does substring matching:


In this example, "tra" finds "Transform" as you'd hope, but also other nodes, such as "Trilinear"... This is appearing because the letters "tra" can be found in order, "TRilineAr".

While this seems like it might cause lots of useless results, you quickly memorise shortcuts like "trear" which matches "TRilinEAR" and very little else. More usefully, "trage" will uniquely match "TRAnsformGEo" in an easy to type way, "rdg" matches "ReaDGeo"

The first letter must match, so "geo" will match "GeoSelect", but not "ReadGeo". However "rgeo" will match "ReadGeo"


Each time you create a node, it's "weight" is increase - the higher the weight, the higher the node appears in the list.

This means if you create lots of "Add [math]" nodes, it will be weighted highly, so all you might need to type is tab then "a", and it will be at the top of the list.

The nodes weight is shown by the block to the right of the node - the more green, the higher the weighting

Matching menu location

If you start typing a shortcut, it will only match the part before the "[Filter/SubMenu]" (e.g "blf" will not match "Blur [Filter]")

However if you type either "[" or two spaces, you can match against the menu location (the part in "[...]")

For example, "ax" matches "AddMix [Merge]" and "Axis [3D]". If you type "ax[3" or "ax 3" (ax-space-space-3) it will only match "Axis [3D]"

Change log

  • v1.0

    • Basically working
  • v1.1

    • Node weights are saved
  • v1.2

    • Window appears under cursor
  • v1.3

    • Created node remains selected between tab's, meaning "tabtab" creates the previously node
    • Clicking a node in the list creates it
    • Window doesn't go offscreen if cursor is near edge
  • v1.4

    • Blocks Nuke UI when active. This greatly improves usability when the weights are slow to load (e.g in heavy Nuke script, or slow home-dir access), as it prevents key-presses intended for tabtabtab from being handled by Nuke (possibly creating new/modifying nodes etc)
    • Up/down arrow keys cycle correctly
    • Indicator blocks now actually indicate node weights, instead of always being green. The blocks are also now narrower, which looks nicer
    • Prevent vertical scrollbar (reduced number of shown items to 15)
    • Node weights are loaded on every invokation, preventing overwriting of values with multiple Nuke instances
  • v1.5

    • Fixes crash-on-exit for Nuke 6.3v8 (as Nuke bug #23576 is closed)
    • Window now closes properly
  • v1.6

    • Code to add to menu.py more robust, so tabtabtab errors will never prevent Nuke from starting

    • Search string starting with space will disable the non-consecutive searching, so [tab][space]scen will create a Scene instead of a highly weight ScanlineRender

    • Exposes menu items in nuke.menu("Nuke") along with the nodes. Meaning items in the "File" menu etc are exposed, for example [tab]exit will be the same as "File > Exit"

  • v1.7

    • ToolSets/Delete submenu is excluded from tabtabtab. Github issue #6

    • Document that Ctrl+Tab opens the original tab menu

    • Fixed bug which caused the node list to stop updating

      Github issue #10

    • Fixed bug where "last used node" might have matched a different node (contrived example: the restored Blur [Filter] search text might have matched the more highly weighted Blur2 [Filter])

  • v1.8

    • Installation instructions updated to support Nuke 9

    • Weights file no longer overwritten if it fails to load for some reason. Github issue #13

    • Support PySide2