Easiest way to make ListView in Android

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easiest way to make listview in android
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Those messages in the listview are sent by my crush to me.

Yes, that was the best dream I ever had ;-).

I’m just kidding…

Let’s back to the topic,

When beginners make an app for showing a collection of data, Most of them prefer ListView. It is easy to work with listview when comparing its successor RecyclerView. Although ListView becomes old now, the uses of ListView still goes on.

You don’t need to code the adapter to make ListView. Android API already provides an easy way to build a listview.

In this tutorial you will learn to construct listview easily and less code.

The android:entries XML attribute helps us achieve our target.

      • Easy to populate ListView, Spinner, Gallery and ListPreference.
      • Only static, unchanging string data allowed. So you can’t use with data from internet, database,
        shared preferences etc.

How android:entries works ??
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As shown in the picture, android:entries attribute needs an array resource name, not the file name which contains array resource. You can define the array resource in strings.xml. Not only listview, Spinner, ListPreference, and gallery also use android:entries attribute. But gallery deprecated in API level 16. As a successor of ListView, RecyclerView doesn’t hold entries attribute.

When the user runs the app, the Listview constructor takes the array resource referred in the entries attribute. Then the constructor makes an adapter itself with the simple_list_item_1 layout in SDK. Then assign it to the ListView.

Actually, we just point our data to the ListView, listview does all other work.

This is the way how it works.

How To Make A ListView In Android Studio

Step 1

Create a new project

In Android Studio, create a new project File -> New -> Project

Application Name: Simple ListView Ex
Company Domain:

Android convention to use the reverse of the domain name. that’s never a problem for you.
Click Next

Step 2

Choose your minimum SDK

It is necessary to choose the minimum SDK that you want. tick the phone and tablet checkbox for making the app for only phone and tablet.

Click next

Step 3

Select empty activity template

For this project, we just need an empty activity. So just select the empty activity template and click next.

Step 4

Create a new empty activity and layout

Next screen prompt for making an activity class file and its layout.

Activity Name : MainActivity

Tick the generate the layout checkbox if it’s not checked. Click finish. Now, you will see the MainActivity class

Step 5

Change toolbar and status bar color

You can skip this step if you don’t want to alter the default style. Open res/values/colors.xml and paste the code below to make a red colored toolbar.


Step 6

Make a string array to hold the contents of the listview.

Open res/values/Strings.xml, and paste the below code between .


How are you
Why didn\'t you reply to me??

Use escape sequence \’ to get the apostrophe in the last string.

Step 6

Add android: entries attribute and its value in listview XML definition.

open res/layout/activity_main.xml, delete the existing code and paste the code below.

<!--?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?-->

If you wish to add other widgets to your layout, then you can add ViewGroups like RelativeLayout, LinearLayout and other. Then just replace the XML namespace ( xmlns:android=””) from listview to the root element.

Run the app. You will get the output like below.

listview screenshot example - easiest way to make listview in android

How does ListView know did user click on list item ??

Based on tapping sound.

No, Here comes Listener. Listener waits for the events. Such as tapping, touching events.

Here we use the OnItemClickListener nested class. Its onItemClick(…) method will trigger when an item in the listview clicked. So place the code that wants to run when click event happens.

Step 7

Create and Instantiate listview variable

In onCreate() method, create listview variable and instantiate using findViewById(int id) method. In this case, id is listview, we must use the same id in XML description. Type cast the returned View object to the ListView.

ListView mListView=(ListView)findViewById(;

Step 8

Add listener to listview for listening click events

Add OnItemClickListener and Implement OnItemClick(…) method. Use listview’s setOnItemClickListener() method to register the listener.

listview.setOnItemClickListener(new AdapterView.OnItemClickListener()
           public void onItemClick(AdapterView<?> parent, View view, int position, long id)


Step 9

Display the content in the clicked item.

In onItemClick(…) method, Implement code to reveal the content in listview row. First, Use adapterview’s getItemAtPosition(int position) method to retrieve the data from listview item row. getItemAtPosition() returns data as object in the given position.

Convert it to string using toString() method;

String message = listview.getItemAtPosition(position).toString();

Show the retrieved message using Toast.makeText(context,CharSequence text,int duration) method.

how onItemClick method works with listview in android - Easiest way to make listview in android
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Run it now…

Let’s wrap it up, You can use this attribute if you want a static listview otherwise we would prefer adapter.
Download SimpleListViewEx

For more reference

Spinner, Gallery, and ListPreference

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