How to make an Android Spinner with initial text "Select One"?


Question

I want to use a Spinner that initially (when the user has not made a selection yet) displays the text "Select One". When the user clicks the spinner, the list of items is displayed and the user selects one of the options. After the user has made a selection, the selected item is displayed in the Spinner instead of "Select One".

I have the following code to create a Spinner:

String[] items = new String[] {"One", "Two", "Three"};
Spinner spinner = (Spinner) findViewById(R.id.mySpinner);
ArrayAdapter<String> adapter = new ArrayAdapter<String>(this,
            android.R.layout.simple_spinner_item, items);
adapter.setDropDownViewResource(android.R.layout.simple_spinner_dropdown_item);
spinner.setAdapter(adapter);

With this code, initially the item "One" is displayed. I could just add a new item "Select One" to the items, but then "Select One" would also be displayed in the dropdown list as first item, which is not what I want.

How can I fix this problem?

1
548
5/2/2019 6:48:15 AM

Accepted Answer

Here's a general solution that overrides the Spinner view. It overrides setAdapter() to set the initial position to -1, and proxies the supplied SpinnerAdapter to display the prompt string for position less than 0.

This has been tested on Android 1.5 through 4.2, but buyer beware! Because this solution relies on reflection to call the private AdapterView.setNextSelectedPositionInt() and AdapterView.setSelectedPositionInt(), it's not guaranteed to work in future OS updates. It seems likely that it will, but it is by no means guaranteed.

Normally I wouldn't condone something like this, but this question has been asked enough times and it seems like a reasonable enough request that I thought I would post my solution.

/**
 * A modified Spinner that doesn't automatically select the first entry in the list.
 *
 * Shows the prompt if nothing is selected.
 *
 * Limitations: does not display prompt if the entry list is empty.
 */
public class NoDefaultSpinner extends Spinner {

    public NoDefaultSpinner(Context context) {
        super(context);
    }

    public NoDefaultSpinner(Context context, AttributeSet attrs) {
        super(context, attrs);
    }

    public NoDefaultSpinner(Context context, AttributeSet attrs, int defStyle) {
        super(context, attrs, defStyle);
    }

    @Override
    public void setAdapter(SpinnerAdapter orig ) {
        final SpinnerAdapter adapter = newProxy(orig);

        super.setAdapter(adapter);

        try {
            final Method m = AdapterView.class.getDeclaredMethod(
                               "setNextSelectedPositionInt",int.class);
            m.setAccessible(true);
            m.invoke(this,-1);

            final Method n = AdapterView.class.getDeclaredMethod(
                               "setSelectedPositionInt",int.class);
            n.setAccessible(true);
            n.invoke(this,-1);
        } 
        catch( Exception e ) {
            throw new RuntimeException(e);
        }
    }

    protected SpinnerAdapter newProxy(SpinnerAdapter obj) {
        return (SpinnerAdapter) java.lang.reflect.Proxy.newProxyInstance(
                obj.getClass().getClassLoader(),
                new Class[]{SpinnerAdapter.class},
                new SpinnerAdapterProxy(obj));
    }



    /**
     * Intercepts getView() to display the prompt if position < 0
     */
    protected class SpinnerAdapterProxy implements InvocationHandler {

        protected SpinnerAdapter obj;
        protected Method getView;


        protected SpinnerAdapterProxy(SpinnerAdapter obj) {
            this.obj = obj;
            try {
                this.getView = SpinnerAdapter.class.getMethod(
                                 "getView",int.class,View.class,ViewGroup.class);
            } 
            catch( Exception e ) {
                throw new RuntimeException(e);
            }
        }

        public Object invoke(Object proxy, Method m, Object[] args) throws Throwable {
            try {
                return m.equals(getView) && 
                       (Integer)(args[0])<0 ? 
                         getView((Integer)args[0],(View)args[1],(ViewGroup)args[2]) : 
                         m.invoke(obj, args);
            } 
            catch (InvocationTargetException e) {
                throw e.getTargetException();
            } 
            catch (Exception e) {
                throw new RuntimeException(e);
            }
        }

        protected View getView(int position, View convertView, ViewGroup parent) 
          throws IllegalAccessException {

            if( position<0 ) {
                final TextView v = 
                  (TextView) ((LayoutInflater)getContext().getSystemService(
                    Context.LAYOUT_INFLATER_SERVICE)).inflate(
                      android.R.layout.simple_spinner_item,parent,false);
                v.setText(getPrompt());
                return v;
            }
            return obj.getView(position,convertView,parent);
        }
    }
}
250
9/22/2016 11:48:48 AM

What you can do is decorate your SpinnerAdapter with one that presents a 'Select Option...' View initially for the Spinner to display with nothing selected.

Here is a working example tested for Android 2.3, and 4.0 (it uses nothing in the compatibility library, so it should be fine for awhile) Since it's a decorator, it should be easy to retrofit existing code and it works fine with CursorLoaders also. (Swap cursor on the wrapped cursorAdapter of course...)

There is an Android bug that makes this a little tougher to re-use views. (So you have to use the setTag or something else to ensure your convertView is correct.) Spinner does not support multiple view types

Code notes: 2 constructors

This allows you to use a standard prompt or define your own 'nothing selected' as the first row, or both, or none. (Note: Some themes show a DropDown for a Spinner instead of a dialog. The Dropdown doesn't normally show the prompt)

You define a layout to 'look' like a prompt, for example, grayed out...

Initial nothing selected

Using a standard prompt (notice that nothing is selected):

With a standard prompt

Or with a prompt and something dynamic (could have had no prompt also):

Prompt and nothing selected row

Usage in above example

Spinner spinner = (Spinner) findViewById(R.id.spinner);
ArrayAdapter<CharSequence> adapter = ArrayAdapter.createFromResource(this, R.array.planets_array, android.R.layout.simple_spinner_item);
adapter.setDropDownViewResource(android.R.layout.simple_spinner_dropdown_item);
spinner.setPrompt("Select your favorite Planet!");

spinner.setAdapter(
      new NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter(
            adapter,
            R.layout.contact_spinner_row_nothing_selected,
            // R.layout.contact_spinner_nothing_selected_dropdown, // Optional
            this));

contact_spinner_row_nothing_selected.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<TextView xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    android:id="@android:id/text1"
    style="?android:attr/spinnerItemStyle"
    android:singleLine="true"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:ellipsize="marquee"
    android:textSize="18sp"
    android:textColor="#808080"
    android:text="[Select a Planet...]" />

NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter.java

import android.content.Context;
import android.database.DataSetObserver;
import android.view.LayoutInflater;
import android.view.View;
import android.view.ViewGroup;
import android.widget.ListAdapter;
import android.widget.SpinnerAdapter;

/**
 * Decorator Adapter to allow a Spinner to show a 'Nothing Selected...' initially
 * displayed instead of the first choice in the Adapter.
 */
public class NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter implements SpinnerAdapter, ListAdapter {

    protected static final int EXTRA = 1;
    protected SpinnerAdapter adapter;
    protected Context context;
    protected int nothingSelectedLayout;
    protected int nothingSelectedDropdownLayout;
    protected LayoutInflater layoutInflater;

    /**
     * Use this constructor to have NO 'Select One...' item, instead use
     * the standard prompt or nothing at all.
     * @param spinnerAdapter wrapped Adapter.
     * @param nothingSelectedLayout layout for nothing selected, perhaps
     * you want text grayed out like a prompt...
     * @param context
     */
    public NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter(
      SpinnerAdapter spinnerAdapter,
      int nothingSelectedLayout, Context context) {

        this(spinnerAdapter, nothingSelectedLayout, -1, context);
    }

    /**
     * Use this constructor to Define your 'Select One...' layout as the first
     * row in the returned choices.
     * If you do this, you probably don't want a prompt on your spinner or it'll
     * have two 'Select' rows.
     * @param spinnerAdapter wrapped Adapter. Should probably return false for isEnabled(0)
     * @param nothingSelectedLayout layout for nothing selected, perhaps you want
     * text grayed out like a prompt...
     * @param nothingSelectedDropdownLayout layout for your 'Select an Item...' in
     * the dropdown.
     * @param context
     */
    public NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter(SpinnerAdapter spinnerAdapter,
            int nothingSelectedLayout, int nothingSelectedDropdownLayout, Context context) {
        this.adapter = spinnerAdapter;
        this.context = context;
        this.nothingSelectedLayout = nothingSelectedLayout;
        this.nothingSelectedDropdownLayout = nothingSelectedDropdownLayout;
        layoutInflater = LayoutInflater.from(context);
    }

    @Override
    public final View getView(int position, View convertView, ViewGroup parent) {
        // This provides the View for the Selected Item in the Spinner, not
        // the dropdown (unless dropdownView is not set).
        if (position == 0) {
            return getNothingSelectedView(parent);
        }
        return adapter.getView(position - EXTRA, null, parent); // Could re-use
                                                 // the convertView if possible.
    }

    /**
     * View to show in Spinner with Nothing Selected
     * Override this to do something dynamic... e.g. "37 Options Found"
     * @param parent
     * @return
     */
    protected View getNothingSelectedView(ViewGroup parent) {
        return layoutInflater.inflate(nothingSelectedLayout, parent, false);
    }

    @Override
    public View getDropDownView(int position, View convertView, ViewGroup parent) {
        // Android BUG! http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=17128 -
        // Spinner does not support multiple view types
        if (position == 0) {
            return nothingSelectedDropdownLayout == -1 ?
              new View(context) :
              getNothingSelectedDropdownView(parent);
        }

        // Could re-use the convertView if possible, use setTag...
        return adapter.getDropDownView(position - EXTRA, null, parent);
    }

    /**
     * Override this to do something dynamic... For example, "Pick your favorite
     * of these 37".
     * @param parent
     * @return
     */
    protected View getNothingSelectedDropdownView(ViewGroup parent) {
        return layoutInflater.inflate(nothingSelectedDropdownLayout, parent, false);
    }

    @Override
    public int getCount() {
        int count = adapter.getCount();
        return count == 0 ? 0 : count + EXTRA;
    }

    @Override
    public Object getItem(int position) {
        return position == 0 ? null : adapter.getItem(position - EXTRA);
    }

    @Override
    public int getItemViewType(int position) {
        return 0;
    }

    @Override
    public int getViewTypeCount() {
        return 1;
    }

    @Override
    public long getItemId(int position) {
        return position >= EXTRA ? adapter.getItemId(position - EXTRA) : position - EXTRA;
    }

    @Override
    public boolean hasStableIds() {
        return adapter.hasStableIds();
    }

    @Override
    public boolean isEmpty() {
        return adapter.isEmpty();
    }

    @Override
    public void registerDataSetObserver(DataSetObserver observer) {
        adapter.registerDataSetObserver(observer);
    }

    @Override
    public void unregisterDataSetObserver(DataSetObserver observer) {
        adapter.unregisterDataSetObserver(observer);
    }

    @Override
    public boolean areAllItemsEnabled() {
        return false;
    }

    @Override
    public boolean isEnabled(int position) {
        return position != 0; // Don't allow the 'nothing selected'
                                             // item to be picked.
    }

}

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