Show ListView as Drop-down, an Android Spinner Alternative

Photo of Mike Dalisay
Modified Saturday, April 20, 2013
by - @ninjazhai
Our code for today will give us an alternative to using the Android spinner. This ListView drop-down functions like a spinner but:
  • I love how it looks and response to user touch, it feels smoother and faster than a spinner.
  • It can also be easily customized, you won't have to get stuck with default spinner look. 
  • It can be triggered on any view elements such as a Button, Layout, TextView or EditText.
In this example, we are going to have a button that when it was touched, it will show a drop-down list of Dog names. Here's a video demo of our final output:

Show ListView as Drop-down - code download - shows the button, set the items for the drop down list, creates the pop up window and then show it as drop down when the button was touched.

package com.example.showasdropdownexample;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

import android.os.Bundle;
import android.view.View;
import android.view.ViewGroup;
import android.view.WindowManager;
import android.widget.ArrayAdapter;
import android.widget.Button;
import android.widget.ListView;
import android.widget.PopupWindow;
import android.widget.TextView;

public class MainActivity extends Activity {

    String TAG = "";

    String popUpContents[];
    PopupWindow popupWindowDogs;
    Button buttonShowDropDown;

    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {

         * initialize pop up window items list
        // add items on the array dynamically
        // format is DogName::DogID
        List<String> dogsList = new ArrayList<String>();
        dogsList.add("Akita Inu::1");
        dogsList.add("Alaskan Klee Kai::2");
        dogsList.add("Tibetan Spaniel::4");

        // convert to simple array
        popUpContents = new String[dogsList.size()];

         * initialize pop up window
        popupWindowDogs = popupWindowDogs();

         * button on click listener
        View.OnClickListener handler = new View.OnClickListener() {
            public void onClick(View v) {                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

                switch (v.getId()) {

                    // show the list view as dropdown
                    popupWindowDogs.showAsDropDown(v, -5, 0);

        // our button
        buttonShowDropDown = (Button) findViewById(;

    public PopupWindow popupWindowDogs() {

        // initialize a pop up window type
        PopupWindow popupWindow = new PopupWindow(this);

        // the drop down list is a list view
        ListView listViewDogs = new ListView(this);
        // set our adapter and pass our pop up window contents
        // set the item click listener
        listViewDogs.setOnItemClickListener(new DogsDropdownOnItemClickListener());

        // some other visual settings
        // set the list view as pop up window content

        return popupWindow;

     * adapter where the list values will be set
    private ArrayAdapter<String> dogsAdapter(String dogsArray[]) {

        ArrayAdapter<String> adapter = new ArrayAdapter<String>(this, android.R.layout.simple_list_item_1, dogsArray) {

            public View getView(int position, View convertView, ViewGroup parent) {

                // setting the ID and text for every items in the list
                String item = getItem(position);
                String[] itemArr = item.split("::");
                String text = itemArr[0];
                String id = itemArr[1];

                // visual settings for the list item
                TextView listItem = new TextView(MainActivity.this);

                listItem.setPadding(10, 10, 10, 10);
                return listItem;
        return adapter;
} - triggered when an item on the drop down list was touched, it will change the text on the button and show a toast with the ID of the selected item.

package com.example.showasdropdownexample;

import android.content.Context;
import android.view.View;
import android.view.animation.Animation;
import android.view.animation.AnimationUtils;
import android.widget.AdapterView;
import android.widget.Toast;
import android.widget.AdapterView.OnItemClickListener;
import android.widget.TextView;

public class DogsDropdownOnItemClickListener implements OnItemClickListener {

    String TAG = "";
    public void onItemClick(AdapterView<?> arg0, View v, int arg2, long arg3) {

        // get the context and main activity to access variables
        Context mContext = v.getContext();
        MainActivity mainActivity = ((MainActivity) mContext);
        // add some animation when a list item was clicked
        Animation fadeInAnimation = AnimationUtils.loadAnimation(v.getContext(), android.R.anim.fade_in);
        // dismiss the pop up
        // get the text and set it as the button text
        String selectedItemText = ((TextView) v).getText().toString();
        // get the id
        String selectedItemTag = ((TextView) v).getTag().toString();
        Toast.makeText(mContext, "Dog ID is: " + selectedItemTag, Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();


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