Advanced RecyclerView customization   Part of Android Jetpack.

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You can customize the RecyclerView objects to meet your specific needs. The standard classes described in Create dynamic lists with RecyclerView provide all the functionality that most developers will need; in many cases, the only customization you need to do is 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 page describes some of the other possible customizations.

Modifying the layout

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

If none of these layout managers suits your needs, you can create your own by extending the RecyclerView.LayoutManager abstract class.

Add item animations

Whenever an item changes, the 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 enables users to select items in RecyclerView list using touch or mouse input. You retain control over the visual presentation of a selected item. You can also retain control over policies controlling selection behavior, such as items that can be 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 a ItemKeyProvider.

    There are three key types that you can use to identify selected items: Parcelable (and all subclasses like Uri), String, and Long. For detailed information about selection-key types, see SelectionTracker.Builder.

  2. Implement ItemDetailsLookup.
  3. ItemDetailsLookup enables the selection library to 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 Views in RecyclerView to reflect that the user has selected or unselected it.

    The selection library does not provide a default visual decoration for the selected items. You must provide this when you implement onBindViewHolder(). The recommended approach is as follows:

  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 selection changes. When a selection is first created, start ActionMode to represent this to the user, and provide selection-specific actions. For example, you may 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 cleared the selection the last time), don't forget to terminate action mode.

  7. Perform any interpreted secondary actions
  8. At the end of the event processing pipeline, the library may determine that the user is attempting to activate an item by tapping it, or is attempting to drag and drop 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 by using the Long selection key:


    var tracker = SelectionTracker.Builder(


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

    In order to build a SelectionTracker instance, your app must supply the same RecyclerView.Adapter that you used to initialize RecyclerView to SelectionTracker.Builder. For this reason, you will most likely need to inject the SelectionTracker instance, once created, into your RecyclerView.Adapter after the RecyclerView.Adapter is created. Otherwise, you won't be able to check an item's selected status from the onBindViewHolder() method.

  11. Include selection in the activity lifecycle events.
  12. In order 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 may have more than one distinct, selectable list, all of which need to be persisted in their saved state.

    Additional resources

    RecyclerView is used in the Sunflower demo app.