Customize a dynamic list   Part of Android Jetpack.

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You can customize RecyclerView objects to meet your specific needs. The standard classes described in Create dynamic lists with RecyclerView provide all the functionality that most developers need. In many cases, you only need to design the view for each view holder and write the code to update those views with the appropriate data. However, if your app has specific requirements, you can modify the standard behavior in a number of ways. This document describes some of the possible customizations.

Modify the layout

RecyclerView uses a layout manager to position the individual items on the screen and to determine when to reuse item views that are no longer visible to the user. To reuse—or recycle—a view, a layout manager might ask the adapter to replace the contents of the view with a different element from the dataset. Recycling views this way improves performance by avoiding the creation of unnecessary views or performing expensive findViewById() lookups. The Android Support Library includes three standard layout managers, ach of which offers many customization options:

  • LinearLayoutManager: arranges the items in a one-dimensional list. Using a RecyclerView with LinearLayoutManager provides functionality like a ListView layout.
  • GridLayoutManager: arranges the items in a two-dimensional grid, like the squares on a checkerboard. Using a RecyclerView with GridLayoutManager provides functionality like a GridView layout.
  • StaggeredGridLayoutManager: arranges the items in a two-dimensional grid, with each column slightly offset from the one before, like the stars on an American flag.

If these layout managers don't suit your needs, you can create your own by extending the RecyclerView.LayoutManager abstract class.

Add item animations

Whenever an item changes, RecyclerView uses an animator to change its appearance. This animator is an object that extends the abstract RecyclerView.ItemAnimator class. By default, the RecyclerView uses DefaultItemAnimator to provide the animation. If you want to provide custom animations, you can define your own animator object by extending RecyclerView.ItemAnimator.

Enable list-item selection

The recyclerview-selection library lets users select items in a RecyclerView list using touch or mouse input. This lets you retain control over the visual presentation of a selected item. You can also retain control over policies controlling selection behavior, such as which items are eligible for selection and how many items can be selected.

To add selection support to a RecyclerView instance, follow these steps:

  1. Determine which selection key type to use, then build an ItemKeyProvider.

    There are three key types you can use to identify selected items:

    For detailed information about selection-key types, see SelectionTracker.Builder.

  2. Implement ItemDetailsLookup.
  3. ItemDetailsLookup lets the selection library access information about RecyclerView items given a MotionEvent. It is effectively a factory for ItemDetails instances that are backed up by, or extracted from, a RecyclerView.ViewHolder instance.

  4. Update item View objects in the RecyclerView to reflect whether the user selects or unselects them.

    The selection library doesn't provide a default visual decoration for the selected items. Provide this when you implement onBindViewHolder(). We recommend the following approach:

    • In onBindViewHolder(), call setActivated()not setSelected()—on the View object with true or false, depending on whether the item is selected.
    • Update the styling of the view to represent the activated status. We recommend using a color state list resource to configure the styling.
  5. Use ActionMode to provide the user with tools to perform an action on the selection.
  6. Register a SelectionTracker.SelectionObserver to be notified when a selection changes. When a selection is first created, start ActionMode to present this to the user and provide selection-specific actions. For example, you can add a delete button to the ActionMode bar and connect the back arrow on the bar to clear the selection. When the selection becomes empty—if the user clears the selection the last time—terminate action mode.

  7. Perform any interpreted secondary actions.
  8. At the end of the event processing pipeline, the library might determine that the user is attempting to activate an item, by tapping it, or is attempting to drag an item or set of selected items. React to these interpretations by registering the appropriate listener. For more information, see SelectionTracker.Builder.

  9. Assemble everything with SelectionTracker.Builder.
  10. The following example shows how to put these pieces together:


        var tracker = SelectionTracker.Builder(


        SelectionTracker tracker = new SelectionTracker.Builder<>(
                new StableIdKeyProvider(recyclerView),
                new MyDetailsLookup(recyclerView),

    To build a SelectionTracker instance, your app must supply the same RecyclerView.Adapter that you use to initialize RecyclerView to SelectionTracker.Builder. For this reason, after you create the SelectionTracker instance, inject it into your RecyclerView.Adapter. Otherwise, you can't check an item's selected status from the onBindViewHolder() method.

  11. Include selection in the activity lifecycle events.
  12. To preserve selection state across the activity lifecycle events, your app must call the selection tracker's onSaveInstanceState() and onRestoreInstanceState() methods from the activity's onSaveInstanceState() and onRestoreInstanceState() methods, respectively. Your app must also supply a unique selection ID to the SelectionTracker.Builder constructor. This ID is required because an activity or a fragment might have more than one distinct, selectable list, all of which need to be persisted in their saved state.

Additional resources

See the following references for additional information.