A method and apparatus is provided for generating a graphical user interface (GUI) from a text file. The apparatus of the present invention comprises a computer configured to run a software program that enables a user to create a text file by using an input device coupled to a console of the computer, such as an editor program, for example. The text file represents a GUI being created. The computer also is configured to run a GUI constructing software program which receives the text file as input and which generates a data tree structure associated with the graphical user interface being created. The data tree structure can then be utilized by a GUI generating software program that receives the data tree structure, generates the GUI, and displays the GUI on a display monitor coupled to the computer. The text file created by the user preferably is a two-dimensional pictorial representation of the GUI and comprises textual characters arranged to form one or more boxes on the display monitor. The GUI constructing program scans the text file and determines the x and y coordinates of the corners of all of the boxes and the data type associated with each box. The GUI constructing program then generates the data tree structure which comprises a node for each box. Once the data tree structure has been created, a GUI generating software program can use the data tree structure to generate the GUI.