Is there are set of guidelines for the Android how the text should be truncated in the controls? Fading text, ellipsis, cut in the middle, etc.?

enter image description here

2 Answers 2


A quick check of developer.android.com shows that the standard approach to stop text wrapping over lines is to go with your second option: to display with ellipses.

android:ellipsize= causes words in the text that are longer than the view is wide to be ellipsized instead of broken in the middle

However; considering this is UX.StackExchange and this isn't really the place to come for coding guidelines, there are some specific usability issues to consider when thinking of truncating your text in any fashion. Just because you technically can implement techniques to show that more text exists, doesn't mean that it's the best way to do things.

For instance; as stated in the Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines:

Avoid truncated text and their associated ellipses. Users should never have to interact with a window to view its typical content — reserve resizing and scrolling for unusually large content.

(emphasis mine)

Yes, it's Microsoft and the guideline is for Windows 7 / Vista, but the reasoning is sound. Also, don't forget that ellipses have other connotations, particularly if you're going to be using them on the options you show above; ellipses on button.

For example, this image of a typical button shows ellipses:

enter image description here

Now in this instance the ellipses do not mean 'the label doesn't fit on the button' it actually means 'click this button to open up a new menu'.

So yes, you can go ahead and use the ellipses for the android options you have above as Android does cater for that option, but in reality if you find that your text / labels are too long for the controls they are used on then you either have the wrong controls or your text is too long. Don't look for workarounds to shoehorn your content into a layout, ensure that you design the layout and labels to fit correctly into the screen in the first place.

Also, if you are interested in truncation itself then there are also some good answers on this ux.se question about what type of truncation is preferable: Studies or experience on using faded text to indicate more content?

  • Thank you JonW. I agree, ideally, the text should fit but for the solutions that are localized to tens of languages that is hard to guarantee and a fallback solution is needed in case the text is too long. Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 23:06
  • @AnnaRouben that is fair enough, but be careful the fallback solution doesn't get used as a crutch whereby you end up thinking 'it doesn't matter if this label won't fit because it'll just be ellipsized' you should aim for the ellipsis to never be shown, even if the functionality is in there to display it.
    – JonW
    Commented Jun 27, 2012 at 7:41
  • In your Browse... example the ellipses do not exactly mean "this opens up a new window" but rather it implies "more input is required after you click this." Usually this is from a dialog, but not always. For example some commands (e.g. "About Notepad") open up a new window without any new input required to complete their action, so those commands should not have an ellipsis. Also if you decided to get the Browse... input by some other means other than a dialog (e.g. expanding the area to include a text field) you should still show the ellipsis to indicate there is another input step.
    – Brandin
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 9:33

final int actionBarTitle = getResources().getSystem().getIdentifier("action_bar_title", "id", "android");

final TextView title = (TextView)getWindow().findViewById(actionBarTitle);



Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.