How to add a Bottom Navigation Bar in Android

This is a repost of an answer I wrote on Stack Overflow.

My original article dealt with the BottomNavigationView, but now there is a BottomAppBar. I added a section at the top for that with an implementation link.

Bottom App Bar

The BottomAppBar supports a Floating Action Button.

Image from here. See the documentation and this tutorial for help setting up the BottomAppBar.

Bottom Navigation View

The BottomNavigationView is an alternative place to put actions and navigation buttons from the top toolbar. The following full example shows how to make a Bottom Navigation Bar like the image below.

Add the design support library

Add this line to your app’s build.grade file next to the other support library things.

implementation 'com.android.support:design:28.0.0'

Update: The line above uses the old support library. You should use androidx now. Sorry, I’ve moved on to developing Android apps with Flutter now, so I haven’t been able to keep these older articles up to date.

Create the Activity layout

The only special thing we have added to the layout is the BottomNavigationView. To change the color of the icon and text when it is clicked, you can use a selector instead of specifying the color directly. This is omitted for simplicity here.

activity_main.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<RelativeLayout
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">
<android.support.design.widget.BottomNavigationView
android:id="@+id/bottom_navigation"
android:layout_width="match_parent"
android:layout_height="wrap_content"
android:layout_alignParentBottom="true"
app:menu="@menu/bottom_nav_menu"
app:itemBackground="@color/colorPrimary"
app:itemIconTint="@android:color/white"
app:itemTextColor="@android:color/white" />
</RelativeLayout>

Notice that we used layout_alignParentBottom to actually put it at the bottom.

Define the menu items

The xml above for Bottom Navigation View referred to bottom_nav_menu. This is what defines each item in our view. We will make it now. All you have to do is add a menu resource just like you would for an Action Bar or Toolbar.

bottom_nav_menu.xml

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<menu xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
xmlns:app="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto">
<item
android:id="@+id/action_recents"
android:enabled="true"
android:icon="@drawable/ic_action_recents"
android:title="Recents"
app:showAsAction="ifRoom" />
<item
android:id="@+id/action_favorites"
android:enabled="true"
android:icon="@drawable/ic_action_favorites"
android:title="Favorites"
app:showAsAction="ifRoom" />
<item
android:id="@+id/action_nearby"
android:enabled="true"
android:icon="@drawable/ic_action_nearby"
android:title="Nearby"
app:showAsAction="ifRoom" />
</menu>

You will need to add the appropriate icons to your project. This is not very difficult if you go to File > New > Image Asset and choose Action Bar and Tab Icons as the Icon Type.

Add an item selected listener

There is nothing special happening here. We just add a listener to the Bottom Navigation Bar in our Activity’s onCreate method.

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {    @Override
protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);
BottomNavigationView bottomNavigationView = (BottomNavigationView) findViewById(R.id.bottom_navigation);
bottomNavigationView.setOnNavigationItemSelectedListener(new BottomNavigationView.OnNavigationItemSelectedListener() {
@Override
public boolean onNavigationItemSelected(@NonNull MenuItem item) {
switch (item.getItemId()) {
case R.id.action_recents:
Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, "Recents", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
break;
case R.id.action_favorites:
Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, "Favorites", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
break;
case R.id.action_nearby:
Toast.makeText(MainActivity.this, "Nearby", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
break;
}
return true;
}
});
}
}

Need more help?

I learned how to do this watching the following YouTube video. The computer voice is a little strange, but the demonstration is very clear.

Bottom App Bar

I recently learned about the BottomAppBar, which supports a Floating Action Button. See the following links for help with that.

Image from here. See the documentation and this tutorial for help setting up the BottomAppBar.

A Flutter and Dart developer. Follow me on Twitter @suragch1 to get updates of new articles.

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