Create a linear layout

Try the Compose way
Jetpack Compose is the recommended UI toolkit for Android. Learn how to work with layouts in Compose.

LinearLayout is a view group that aligns all children in a single direction, vertically or horizontally. You can specify the layout direction with the android:orientation attribute.

An image showing a layout split in three vertical slices
Figure 1. A LinearLayout with three horizontally oriented children.

All children of a LinearLayout are stacked one after the other, so a vertical list only has one child per row, no matter how wide they are. A horizontal list is only one row high, and it's the height of the tallest child, plus padding. A LinearLayout respects margins between children, and the gravity—right, center, or left alignment—of each child.

Layout weight

LinearLayout also supports assigning a weight to individual children with the android:layout_weight attribute. This attribute assigns an "importance" value to a view in terms of how much space it occupies on the screen. A larger weight value lets it expand to fill the remaining space in the parent view. Child views can specify a weight value, and any remaining space in the view group is assigned to children proportionately, based on their declared weight. The default weight is zero.

Equal distribution

To create a linear layout in which each child uses the same amount of space on the screen, set the android:layout_height of each view to "0dp" for a vertical layout, or the android:layout_width of each view to "0dp" for a horizontal layout. Then set the android:layout_weight of each view to "1".

Unequal distribution

You can also create linear layouts where the child elements use different amounts of space on the screen. Consider the following examples:

  • Suppose you have three text fields: two with a weight value of 1, and a third with the default weight value of 0. The third text field, with the weight value of 0, occupies only the area required by its content. The other two text fields, with the weight value of 1, expand equally to fill the space that remains after the contents of all three fields are measured.
  • If instead you have three text fields where two have a weight value of 1 and the third has a weight of 2, then the space that remains after the contents of all three fields are measured is allocated as follows: half to the field with the weight value of 2, and half divided equally between the fields with the weight value of 1.

The following figure and code snippet show how layout weights might work in a "send message" activity. The To field, Subject line, and Send button each take up only the height they need. The message area takes up the rest of the activity's height.

An image showing three EditTexts and a Button in a vertically oriented LinearLayout
Figure 2. Three text fields and a button in a vertically oriented LinearLayout.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout xmlns:android=""
    android:orientation="vertical" >
        android:hint="@string/to" />
        android:hint="@string/subject" />
        android:hint="@string/message" />
        android:text="@string/send" />

For details about the attributes available to each child view of a LinearLayout, see LinearLayout.LayoutParams.