Android – How to create icons for menu items in Android’s ListView


I am using a ListView to display the main screen of my application.
The main screen is essentially a menu to get into the different sections of application. Currently, I have the ListView whose contents are added programmatically in the onCreate method.

Here is the code snippet that does this:

String[] mainItems = {
    "Inbox", "Projects", "Contexts", "Next Actions"

public void onCreate(Bundle icicle) {

    setListAdapter(new ArrayAdapter<String>(
            this, android.R.layout.simple_list_item_1, mainItems));

So the menu is essentially just a bunch of nodes with the text contained in the mainItems array. I know that I can create an XML layout (i.e. R.layout.mainMenu_item) that has an ImageView and TextView in it, but I am unsure how to set the ImageView's icon. I have seen that there is a setImageResouce(int resId) method, but the way to use this when generating with an ArrayAdapter is eluding me. Is there a better way to do this?

Best Solution

What I typically do for a ListView is to implement my own Adapter by extending the handy BaseAdapter class. One of the abstract methods you'll implement will be getView() as the previous poster mentioned. From there you can inflate a layout containing an ImageView, get a reference to it using findViewById, and set the image to whatever drawable you've added into your resources.

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

    View row = inflater.inflate(R.layout.menu_row, null);

     ImageView icon = (ImageView) row.findViewById(;
     icon.setImageResource(..your drawable's id...);

     return view;