10. Using Spinners and Pickers

10.1. Create a Spinner

Spinners provide a quick way to select one value from a set. By default, the first element of the specified list is selected in the Spinner. Touching the spinner displays a dropdown menu with all other available values, from which the user can select a new one.

10.1.1. Add a Spinner To Layout

  1. Create a new empty project, and remove the Hello World TextView in activity_main.xml.

  2. add a spinner to layout by writing the following code to activity_main.xml:


10.1.2. Populate Spinner With Choices

  1. In order to fill the spinner, if the available choices for your spinner are pre-determined, go to res/values/strings.xml and provide a string array. For example:

    <string-array name="months">

10.1.3. Responding to User Selections

  1. Now, in MainActivity.kt, implement the AdapterView.OnItemSelectedListener interface, and supply the spinner with the array using an instance of ArrayAdapter.

    class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity(), AdapterView.OnItemSelectedListener

    When user selects an item from the drop-down, the Spinner object receives an on-item-selected event.

    val spinner: Spinner = findViewById(R.id.spinner)
    val adapter = ArrayAdapter.createFromResource(

    The createFromResource() method allows to create an ArrayAdapter from the string array. The simple_spinner_item layout is provided by the platform and is the default layout. setDropDownViewResource(int) specifies the layout the adapter should use to display the list of spinner choices. setAdapter() applies the adapter to Spinner.

  2. The AdapterView.OnItemSelectedListener requires the onItemSelected() and onNothingSelected() callback methods:

    override fun onItemSelected(parent: AdapterView<*>, view: View, position: Int, id: Long) {
      val text = parent.getItemAtPosition(position).toString()
      Toast.makeText(parent.context, text, Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show()
    override fun onNothingSelected(parent: AdapterView<*>) {

10.1.4. Run The App

Click Run to install and run the app. It should look like the pictures below on the Lenovo tablet.


10.2. Create a Picker

Android provides controls for the user to pick a time or pick a date as ready-to-use dialogs. Using these pickers helps ensure that your users can pick a time or date that is valid, formatted correctly, and adjusted to the user’s locale.

10.2.1. Creating a Date Picker

  1. Create a new empty project, and remove the Hello World TextView in activity_main.xml.

  2. Add button to the layout, constraint it to the top of layout with a suitable margin. Then change the id to “dateClick”” and text to “Pick date”.

  3. Then add a TextView to the layout, constraint it to the bottom of the button with a suitable margin. Then change the text to Date Picker Dialog.

  4. Go to MainActivity.kt and create a function:

    fun pickDate (view: View){

    Now, go back to activity_main.xml, set the onClick attribute of button to pickDate.

  5. Complete pickDate function.

    These use the current date as the default date in the picker

    val c = Calendar.getInstance()
    val year = c.get(Calendar.YEAR)
    val month = c.get(Calendar.MONTH)
    val day = c.get(Calendar.DAY_OF_MONTH)

    Then create a new instance of DatePickerDialog and show it in TextView. “monthOfYear+1” is required for displaying the date because android starts counting the months from 0.

    val dpd = DatePickerDialog(this, DatePickerDialog.OnDateSetListener{
            view, year, monthOfYear, dayOfMonth ->
            textView.text = "$year/${monthOfYear+1}/$dayOfMonth"
    }, year, month, day)
  6. Install and run the app, It should look like the pictures below on the Lenovo tablet.

  7. The style of the date picker can be changed. For example, if we do:

    val dpd = DatePickerDialog(this, android.R.style.Theme_Holo_Dialog, DatePickerDialog.OnDateSetListener

    The date picker will look like this instead: