Ios – How to use NSAttributedString


Multiple colours in an NSString or NSMutableStrings are not possible. So I've heard a little about the NSAttributedString which was introduced with the iPad SDK 3.2 (or around 3.2) and is available on the iPhone as of iPhone SDK 4.0 beta.

I would like to have a string that has three colours.

The reason I don't use 3 separate NSStrings, is because the length of each of the three NSAttributedString substrings changes often and so I would prefer, not to use any calculations to re-position 3 separate NSString objects.

If it's possible using NSAttributedString how do I make the following – (if not possible with NSAttributed string how would you do it):

alt text

Remember, @"first", @"second" and @"third" will be replaced by other strings at any time. So using hardcoded NSRange values won't work.

Best Solution

When building attributed strings, I prefer to use the mutable subclass, just to keep things cleaner.

That being said, here's how you create a tri-color attributed string:

NSMutableAttributedString *string = [[NSMutableAttributedString alloc] initWithString:@"firstsecondthird"];
[string addAttribute:NSForegroundColorAttributeName value:[UIColor redColor] range:NSMakeRange(0,5)];
[string addAttribute:NSForegroundColorAttributeName value:[UIColor greenColor] range:NSMakeRange(5,6)];
[string addAttribute:NSForegroundColorAttributeName value:[UIColor blueColor] range:NSMakeRange(11,5)];

typed in a browser. caveat implementor

Obviously you're not going to hard-code in the ranges like this. Perhaps instead you could do something like:

NSDictionary *wordToColorMapping = ....;  //an NSDictionary of NSString => UIColor pairs
NSMutableAttributedString *string = [[NSMutableAttributedString alloc] initWithString:@""];
for (NSString *word in wordToColorMapping) {
  UIColor *color = [wordToColorMapping objectForKey:word];
  NSDictionary *attributes = [NSDictionary dictionaryWithObject:color forKey:NSForegroundColorAttributeName];
  NSAttributedString *subString = [[NSAttributedString alloc] initWithString:word attributes:attributes];
  [string appendAttributedString:subString];
  [subString release];

//display string
Related Question