How to Underline Text in an Android Layout

How to Underline Text in an Android Layout

22 May 2024 Stephan Petzl Leave a comment Tech-Help

Creating underlined text in Android can be achieved through various methods. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of different approaches to help you determine the best solution for your needs.

Using String Resource XML File

One of the most straightforward methods to underline text in Android is by using HTML tags within a string resource XML file. This method is particularly useful if you prefer to define your strings in a centralized location. Here’s how you can do it:

    <string name="your_string_here"><![CDATA[This is an <u>underline</u>.]]></string>

Applying the String Resource in Code

Once you have defined your string resource, you can apply it to a TextView in your layout as follows:

TextView textView = (TextView) view.findViewById(;

Using SpannableString in Code

If you prefer to handle the underlining programmatically, the SpannableString class provides a flexible way to underline text dynamically:

TextView textView = (TextView) view.findViewById(;
SpannableString content = new SpannableString("Content");
content.setSpan(new UnderlineSpan(), 0, content.length(), 0);

Using Paint Flags

An alternative approach involves using the Paint class to set the underline flag on a TextView:

textView.setPaintFlags(textView.getPaintFlags() | Paint.UNDERLINE_TEXT_FLAG);

Underlining Text in Kotlin

For Kotlin users, extension functions can be a convenient way to add underlining:

fun TextView.underline() {
    paintFlags = paintFlags or Paint.UNDERLINE_TEXT_FLAG

// Usage:

Considerations and Best Practices

When deciding which method to use, consider the following:

  • String Resource XML: Best for static text that benefits from centralization and localization.
  • SpannableString: Ideal for dynamic content where text formatting needs to be applied programmatically.
  • Paint Flags: A quick and straightforward solution for simple text underlining.
  • Kotlin Extensions: Useful for Kotlin projects, promoting clean and reusable code.

For more advanced configurations and techniques, you may refer to our documentation on advanced configuration and advanced testing techniques.

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