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android – Evenly spacing views using ConstraintLayout

Posted by: admin March 10, 2020 Leave a comment

Questions:

A common use for LinearLayout is to evenly space (weight) views, for example:
example layout

How do you implement evenly spaced views like this using the new ConstraintLayout?

ConstraintLayout links for reference: blog post, I/O session video

How to&Answers:

There are two ways to accomplish this using ConstraintLayout: Chains and Guidelines. To use Chains, make sure you are using ConstraintLayout Beta 3 or newer and if you want to use the visual layout editor in Android Studio, make sure you are using Android Studio 2.3 Beta 1 or newer.

Method 1 – Using Chains

Open the layout editor and add your widgets as normal, adding parent constraints as needed. In this case, I have added two buttons with constraints to the bottom of the parent and side of the parent (left side for Save button and right side for Share button):

enter image description here

Note that in this state, if I flip to landscape view, the views do not fill the parent but are anchored to the corners:

enter image description here

Highlight both views, either by Ctrl/Cmd clicking or by dragging a box around the views:

enter image description here

Then right-click on the views and choose “Center Horizontally”:

enter image description here

This sets up a bi-directional connection between the views (which is how a Chain is defined). By default the chain style is “spread”, which is applied even when no XML attribute is included. Sticking with this chain style but setting the width of our views to 0dp lets the views fill the available space, spreading evenly across the parent:

enter image description here

This is more noticeable in landscape view:

enter image description here

If you prefer to skip the layout editor, the resulting XML will look like:

<android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout
xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="match_parent">

<Button
    android:id="@+id/button_save"
    android:layout_width="0dp"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:text="@string/button_save_text"
    android:layout_marginStart="8dp"
    android:layout_marginBottom="8dp"
    android:layout_marginEnd="4dp"
    app:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintRight_toLeftOf="@+id/button_share"
    app:layout_constraintHorizontal_chainStyle="spread" />

<Button
    android:id="@+id/button_share"
    android:layout_width="0dp"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:text="@string/button_share_text"
    android:layout_marginStart="4dp"
    android:layout_marginEnd="8dp"
    android:layout_marginBottom="8dp"
    app:layout_constraintLeft_toRightOf="@+id/button_save"
    app:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintBottom_toBottomOf="parent" />

</android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout>

Details:

  • setting the width of each item to 0dp or MATCH_CONSTRAINT lets the views fill the parent (optional)
  • the views must be linked together bidirectionally (right of save button links to share button, left of share button links to save button), this will happen automatically via the layout editor when choosing “Center Horizontally”
  • the first view in the chain can specify the chain style via layout_constraintHorizontal_chainStyle, see the documentation for various chain styles, if the chain style is omitted, the default is “spread”
  • the weighting of the chain can be adjusted via layout_constraintHorizontal_weight
  • this example is for a horizontal chain, there are corresponding attributes for vertical chains

Method 2 – Using a Guideline

Open your layout in the editor and click the guideline button:

enter image description here

Then select “Add Vertical Guideline”:
enter image description here

A new guideline will appear, that by default, will likely be anchored to the left in relative values (denoted by left-facing arrow):

layout editor relative guideline

Click the left-facing arrow to switch it to a percentage value, then drag the guideline to the 50% mark:

layout editor percent guideline

The guideline can now be used as an anchor for other views. In my example, I attached the right of the save button and the left of the share button to the guideline:

final layout

If you want the views to fill up the available space then the constraint should be set to “Any Size” (the squiggly lines running horizontally):

any size constraint

(This is the same as setting the layout_width to 0dp).

A guideline can also be created in XML quite easily rather than using the layout editor:

<android.support.constraint.Guideline
    android:layout_width="wrap_content"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:id="@+id/guideline"
    android:orientation="vertical"
    app:layout_constraintGuide_percent="0.5" />

Answer:

To create 2 views in same line, equal width, just need to define

<android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    >

    <Button
        android:id="@+id/button1"
        android:layout_width="0dp"  
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="Button 1"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@+id/button2"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent" />

    <Button
        android:id="@+id/button2"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="Button 2"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toEndOf="@+id/button1" />

</android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout>

Note

  • width = 0dp (MATCH_CONSTRAINT)
  • Constraint of button1 and button2 must like above

Result

MORE
If you want View1 bigger than View2 you can use weight or percent.
Example, View1 width = 2 *View2 width use weight

<android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    >

    <Button
        android:id="@+id/button3"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="Button 3"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@+id/button4"
        app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="2"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        />

    <Button
        android:id="@+id/button4"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="Button 4"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toEndOf="@+id/button3"
        />

</android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout>

Result

Example, View1 width = 2 *View2 width use percent

<android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    >

    <Button
        android:id="@+id/button5"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="Button 5"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@+id/button6"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintWidth_percent="0.667"
        />

    <Button
        android:id="@+id/button6"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:text="Button 6"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toEndOf="@+id/button5"
        app:layout_constraintWidth_percent="0.333"
        />

</android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout>

Result

Answer:

Well if it helps someone

the key is here app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1" and
the best thing about constraint layout is that it supports circular dependency and here this is what I have done using exactly that.

For first child
app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@+id/textInputSecondChild"

For second child

app:layout_constraintLeft_toRightOf="@+id/textInputFirstChild"

here is the complete demo

<android.support.design.widget.TextInputLayout
    android:id="@+id/textInputParent"
    android:layout_width="0dp"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    app:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf="parent">

    <EditText
        android:id="@+id/editTextParent"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:hint="@string/state" />
</android.support.design.widget.TextInputLayout>

<android.support.design.widget.TextInputLayout
    android:id="@+id/textInputFirstChild"
    android:layout_width="0dp"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@+id/textInputSecondChild"
    app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1"
    app:layout_constraintLeft_toLeftOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@+id/textInputParent">

    <EditText
        android:id="@+id/editTextChildOne"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:hint="@string/pin_code" />
</android.support.design.widget.TextInputLayout>

<android.support.design.widget.TextInputLayout
    android:id="@+id/textInputSecondChild"
    android:layout_width="0dp"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1"
    app:layout_constraintLeft_toRightOf="@+id/textInputFirstChild"
    app:layout_constraintRight_toRightOf="parent"
    app:layout_constraintTop_toBottomOf="@+id/textInputParent">

    <EditText
        android:id="@+id/editTextChildSecond"
        android:layout_width="match_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:hint="@string/country" />
</android.support.design.widget.TextInputLayout>

Answer:

You shoul read about weighted chains. An example of code is here.

<android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    >

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/figure_1"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginEnd="8dp"
        android:layout_marginRight="8dp"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@id/figure_2"
        app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toStartOf="parent"
        tools:text="1"
        />

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/figure_2"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="8dp"
        android:layout_marginLeft="8dp"
        android:layout_marginEnd="8dp"
        android:layout_marginRight="8dp"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@id/figure_3"
        app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toEndOf="@id/figure_1"
        tools:text="2"
        />

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/figure_3"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="8dp"
        android:layout_marginLeft="8dp"
        android:layout_marginEnd="8dp"
        android:layout_marginRight="8dp"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@id/figure_4"
        app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toEndOf="@id/figure_2"
        tools:text="3"
        />

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/figure_4"
        android:layout_width="0dp"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:layout_marginStart="8dp"
        android:layout_marginLeft="8dp"
        app:layout_constraintEnd_toEndOf="parent"
        app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1"
        app:layout_constraintStart_toEndOf="@id/figure_3"
        tools:text="4"
        />
</android.support.constraint.ConstraintLayout>

So, set android:layout_width="0dp", app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1" and link every view with neighbours like:

app:layout_constraintStart_toEndOf="@id/figure_2"
app:layout_constraintEnd_toStartOf="@id/figure_4"

enter image description here

Answer:

Once you have your chained items, you can still use weights on them like relative layout to keep them evenly spaced. The example below shows how to keep them evenly spaced with different size textViews.

<TextView1
     app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1" />
 <TextView2
     app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1" />
 <TextView3
     app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1" />
 <TextView4
     app:layout_constraintHorizontal_weight="1" />

enter image description here