I searched here but didn't see an answer. I've gone through the new ICS Android design guidelines but did not see a standard icon or recommended icon for drag and drop in list views.

Is there one? Or is it still up to each developer? I found this link which gave a few different examples but none actually referenced ICS style. http://www.androidpatterns.com/uap_pattern/sort-drag-drop

Basically I have a list view that allows reordering of the items however I'm not sure what is considered best practice to alert the users that this functionality exists

  • I have always seen up/down arrows or the four-way arrows used to indicate that items are draggable. May 4, 2012 at 1:21

4 Answers 4


While there isn't an official recommendation on how to indicate that a list item is draggable, I think the best Android 4.0 example for affording dragging can be found in Google Play Music → Playlists. Screenshot below.

Drag handles in Google Play Music > Playlists

Since the same team that created Android Design did the design for the Google Play Music app, I think this can be considered in harmony with the guide. However, do keep in mind that the UI for dragging in the app can change in future versions and you should update your design if and when a formal recommendation is made.


I don't think there is a standard icon so you'll need to create a new one. The one in the picture is a fairly good representation of drag and drop so I would recommend taking the existing icons and combining them/editing them in order to get the desired outcome.

For example, here is navigation-callapse and navigation-expand combined for a drag and drop like icon. It's a very easy way to get the consistent look and feel that we all crave :)

enter image description here

  • Thanks Tyriar. I didn't think there was a standard icon but wanted to check.
    – Ryan
    May 4, 2012 at 22:22

Note that the 3 stacked bars is a metaphor for the vertical beveled stripes that physical vertical draggable objects often has. Check the back of a remote, you'll probably find a similar pattern on the lid that covers the batteries.

Battery lid

The line of dots (as Roman Nurik showed) is therefore, in mho, a better metaphor for something that is draggable in all directions.


Actually, I would say there is a standard icon and it is three horizontal bars stacked on top of each other. Ideally the bars should look slightly raised as though they are a "grip".

See this for example: http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/jquery-ui-sortable/

  • 2
    That icon is more frequently used to mean "Menu". Facebook and Twitter use it and it's even built in to some Android devices to directly access the menu of any application you're active in.
    – elemjay19
    May 2, 2013 at 18:27

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