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Android Studio changing ID's in one xml file changes the ID's in another file

Posted by: admin May 14, 2020 Leave a comment


I used to give simple ids to Android Views, but lately, I stopped that altogether because of this issue.

Let’s say I have 2 layouts, one named first_layout.xml and second named second_layout.xml. In each of these layouts, there is a view with id username_input. This id is used in different activity classes to access target view, be it ButterKnife binding, Kotlin Android Extensions, or even findViewById.

Now, for whatever reason, I need to rename id in just one layout. Thus I do Refactor -> Rename. What happens? Android Studio simply replaces id username_input in the whole project, messing other layouts that had view the same id. Most people don’t use a unique id for each and every view in the project since it’s not mandatory, but I do because I do lots of refactoring, and many times I lost hours because of this non-contextual replacement in the project.

What are my options in this case? Is there a way to make Android Studio do the contextual replacement in such a situation, or should I keep making unique ids in my project?

How to&Answers:

Moments ago I was facing this same issue and I found it to be the Android Studio’s expected behavior, as other elements might be constrained to the element whose ID is getting changed. So you need to update all the IDs particularly in your new layout file through its text editor AND NOT from the Attribute section of its design editor
Its working fine for me, and so must work well for you too 🙂


I just came across this post because I was having a similar problem. I have an app with different flavors. In one of my layouts I have 12 buttons. In a different flavor, I want all of those buttons plus I add 4 more. So, I created a new version of the layout in a flavor-specific directory. The problem is every time I tried to change anything that has an ID it would change the identically-named layout in the main directory.

With flavors, you’re supposed to be able to override the main directory’s layout with a flavor specific one. This was extremely frustrating!

This MUST be a bug in Android Studio. The frustrating part is that it’s still not fixed. I installed Android Studio via the JetBrains toolbox since I use other JetBrains IDEs. Currently I’m on version 3.5.3

My workaround

To get around this bug I created a “test” project. I copied the layout code that I wanted to modify, pasted it in the test project and edited it there. When I was done altering it the way I wanted, I created the alternative layout in the flavor specific directory (using the same name as the main directory’s layout that I want to override) of the actual project I was working on. Then I copied the layout from my test project and pasted it into the flavor specific file. By doing this, it didn’t alter the layout in the project’s main directory.

My thoughts

You shouldn’t have to do this. It’s certainly not the intuitive way. This is why I can’t believe that this is anything but a bug. With that said, I hope I have provided a clear workaround for anyone else who’s stuck. If I haven’t comment below and I will clarify what I can.