Android – How to make an Android Spinner with initial text “Select One”


I want to use a Spinner that initially (when the user has not made a selection yet) displays the text "Select One". When the user clicks the spinner, the list of items is displayed and the user selects one of the options. After the user has made a selection, the selected item is displayed in the Spinner instead of "Select One".

I have the following code to create a Spinner:

String[] items = new String[] {"One", "Two", "Three"};
Spinner spinner = (Spinner) findViewById(;
ArrayAdapter<String> adapter = new ArrayAdapter<String>(this,
            android.R.layout.simple_spinner_item, items);

With this code, initially the item "One" is displayed. I could just add a new item "Select One" to the items, but then "Select One" would also be displayed in the dropdown list as first item, which is not what I want.

How can I fix this problem?

Best Solution

What you can do is decorate your SpinnerAdapter with one that presents a 'Select Option...' View initially for the Spinner to display with nothing selected.

Here is a working example tested for Android 2.3, and 4.0 (it uses nothing in the compatibility library, so it should be fine for awhile) Since it's a decorator, it should be easy to retrofit existing code and it works fine with CursorLoaders also. (Swap cursor on the wrapped cursorAdapter of course...)

There is an Android bug that makes this a little tougher to re-use views. (So you have to use the setTag or something else to ensure your convertView is correct.) Spinner does not support multiple view types

Code notes: 2 constructors

This allows you to use a standard prompt or define your own 'nothing selected' as the first row, or both, or none. (Note: Some themes show a DropDown for a Spinner instead of a dialog. The Dropdown doesn't normally show the prompt)

You define a layout to 'look' like a prompt, for example, grayed out...

Initial nothing selected

Using a standard prompt (notice that nothing is selected):

With a standard prompt

Or with a prompt and something dynamic (could have had no prompt also):

Prompt and nothing selected row

Usage in above example

Spinner spinner = (Spinner) findViewById(;
ArrayAdapter<CharSequence> adapter = ArrayAdapter.createFromResource(this, R.array.planets_array, android.R.layout.simple_spinner_item);
spinner.setPrompt("Select your favorite Planet!");

      new NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter(
            // R.layout.contact_spinner_nothing_selected_dropdown, // Optional


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<TextView xmlns:android=""
    android:text="[Select a Planet...]" />

import android.content.Context;
import android.database.DataSetObserver;
import android.view.LayoutInflater;
import android.view.View;
import android.view.ViewGroup;
import android.widget.ListAdapter;
import android.widget.SpinnerAdapter;

 * Decorator Adapter to allow a Spinner to show a 'Nothing Selected...' initially
 * displayed instead of the first choice in the Adapter.
public class NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter implements SpinnerAdapter, ListAdapter {

    protected static final int EXTRA = 1;
    protected SpinnerAdapter adapter;
    protected Context context;
    protected int nothingSelectedLayout;
    protected int nothingSelectedDropdownLayout;
    protected LayoutInflater layoutInflater;

     * Use this constructor to have NO 'Select One...' item, instead use
     * the standard prompt or nothing at all.
     * @param spinnerAdapter wrapped Adapter.
     * @param nothingSelectedLayout layout for nothing selected, perhaps
     * you want text grayed out like a prompt...
     * @param context
    public NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter(
      SpinnerAdapter spinnerAdapter,
      int nothingSelectedLayout, Context context) {

        this(spinnerAdapter, nothingSelectedLayout, -1, context);

     * Use this constructor to Define your 'Select One...' layout as the first
     * row in the returned choices.
     * If you do this, you probably don't want a prompt on your spinner or it'll
     * have two 'Select' rows.
     * @param spinnerAdapter wrapped Adapter. Should probably return false for isEnabled(0)
     * @param nothingSelectedLayout layout for nothing selected, perhaps you want
     * text grayed out like a prompt...
     * @param nothingSelectedDropdownLayout layout for your 'Select an Item...' in
     * the dropdown.
     * @param context
    public NothingSelectedSpinnerAdapter(SpinnerAdapter spinnerAdapter,
            int nothingSelectedLayout, int nothingSelectedDropdownLayout, Context context) {
        this.adapter = spinnerAdapter;
        this.context = context;
        this.nothingSelectedLayout = nothingSelectedLayout;
        this.nothingSelectedDropdownLayout = nothingSelectedDropdownLayout;
        layoutInflater = LayoutInflater.from(context);

    public final View getView(int position, View convertView, ViewGroup parent) {
        // This provides the View for the Selected Item in the Spinner, not
        // the dropdown (unless dropdownView is not set).
        if (position == 0) {
            return getNothingSelectedView(parent);
        return adapter.getView(position - EXTRA, null, parent); // Could re-use
                                                 // the convertView if possible.

     * View to show in Spinner with Nothing Selected
     * Override this to do something dynamic... e.g. "37 Options Found"
     * @param parent
     * @return
    protected View getNothingSelectedView(ViewGroup parent) {
        return layoutInflater.inflate(nothingSelectedLayout, parent, false);

    public View getDropDownView(int position, View convertView, ViewGroup parent) {
        // Android BUG! -
        // Spinner does not support multiple view types
        if (position == 0) {
            return nothingSelectedDropdownLayout == -1 ?
              new View(context) :

        // Could re-use the convertView if possible, use setTag...
        return adapter.getDropDownView(position - EXTRA, null, parent);

     * Override this to do something dynamic... For example, "Pick your favorite
     * of these 37".
     * @param parent
     * @return
    protected View getNothingSelectedDropdownView(ViewGroup parent) {
        return layoutInflater.inflate(nothingSelectedDropdownLayout, parent, false);

    public int getCount() {
        int count = adapter.getCount();
        return count == 0 ? 0 : count + EXTRA;

    public Object getItem(int position) {
        return position == 0 ? null : adapter.getItem(position - EXTRA);

    public int getItemViewType(int position) {
        return 0;

    public int getViewTypeCount() {
        return 1;

    public long getItemId(int position) {
        return position >= EXTRA ? adapter.getItemId(position - EXTRA) : position - EXTRA;

    public boolean hasStableIds() {
        return adapter.hasStableIds();

    public boolean isEmpty() {
        return adapter.isEmpty();

    public void registerDataSetObserver(DataSetObserver observer) {

    public void unregisterDataSetObserver(DataSetObserver observer) {

    public boolean areAllItemsEnabled() {
        return false;

    public boolean isEnabled(int position) {
        return position != 0; // Don't allow the 'nothing selected'
                                             // item to be picked.