Electron: Communicate from Renderer to Main Process

30 Jul 2023·3 min read·🇬🇧


Electron, a cross-platform desktop application framework, employs a clear separation between the main process and renderer processes. Efficient communication from the renderer to the main process is crucial for tasks requiring access to system-level resources or native APIs. This time we will learn how to communicate from renderer to main process.

IPC Renderer

The ipcRenderer module is an EventEmitter. It provides a few methods so you can send synchronous and asynchronous messages from the render process (web page) to the main process. You can also receive replies from the main process.

Tutorial - One Way Communication

To fire a one-way IPC message from a renderer process to the main process, you can use the ipcRenderer.send API to send a message that is then received by the ipcMain.on API.

For this time, we will use it to trigger the main process to change the tray icon as the renderer process start the productivity tracker.


Renderer process code

As mentioned before, renderer process would use ipcRenderer.send to send any data to main process. For example like these code:

import React from "react";
import { ipcRenderer } from "electron";

const Productivity = () => {

  const start = () => {
    ipcRenderer.send("productivity-changed", {
      active: true,
			startedAt: new Date()

	const stop = () => {
    ipcRenderer.send("productivity-changed", {
      active: false

  return (

The first parameter is channel name and the second parameter is the data we’d like to send.

Main process code

To receive it we could [ipcMain.on](https://www.electronjs.org/docs/latest/api/ipc-main) API. We could put this code in the background.ts file or something similar to your project:

interface ProductivityChangeEvent {
  active: boolean;
  startedAt?: Date;

ipcMain.on("productivity-changed", (event, payload: ProductivityChangeEvent) => {
  if (payload.active) {
  } else {


With my secret recipe, the final result would like these: Icon changing and showing a timer as user start record the productivityIcon changing and showing a timer as user start record the productivity

Icon changing and showing a timer as user start record the productivity


https://www.electronjs.org/docs/latest/api/ipc-renderer https://www.electronjs.org/docs/latest/tutorial/ipc