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Animating a Scroll Gesture

This lesson teaches you to

  1. Implement Touch-Based Scrolling

You should also read

In Android, scrolling is typically achieved by using the ScrollView class. Any standard layout that might extend beyond the bounds of its container should be nested in a ScrollView to provide a scrollable view that's managed by the framework. Implementing a custom scroller should only be necessary for special scenarios. This lesson describes such a scenario: displaying a scrolling effect in response to touch gestures using scrollers.

You can use scrollers (Scroller or OverScroller) to collect the data you need to produce a scrolling animation in response to a touch event.

A scroller is used to animate scrolling over time, using platform-standard scrolling physics (friction, velocity, etc.). The scroller itself doesn't actually draw anything. Scrollers track scroll offsets for you over time, but they don't automatically apply those positions to your view. It's your responsibility to get and apply new coordinates at a rate that will make the scrolling animation look smooth.

Note: You generally only need to use scrollers when implementing scrolling yourself. ScrollView and HorizontalScrollView do all this for you do all of this for you if you nest your layout within them.

Implement Touch-Based Scrolling

This snippet illustrates the basics of using a scroller. It uses a GestureDetector, and overrides the GestureDetector.SimpleOnGestureListener methods onDown() and onFling(). It also overrides onScroll() to return false since you don't need to animate a scroll.

It's common to use scrollers in conjunction with a fling gesture, but they can be used in pretty much any context where you want the UI to display scrolling in response to a touch event. For example, you could override onTouchEvent() to process touch events directly, and produce a scrolling effect in response to those touch events.

private OverScroller mScroller = new OverScroller(context);

private GestureDetector.SimpleOnGestureListener mGestureListener
        = new GestureDetector.SimpleOnGestureListener() {
    public boolean onDown(MotionEvent e) {
        // Abort any active scroll animations and invalidate.
        // There is also a compatibility version: 
        // ViewCompat.postInvalidateOnAnimation
        return true;

    public boolean onScroll(MotionEvent e1, MotionEvent e2, 
            float distanceX, float distanceY) {
        // You don't use a scroller in onScroll because you don't need to animate
        // a scroll. The scroll occurs instantly in response to touch feedback.
        return false;

    public boolean onFling(MotionEvent e1, MotionEvent e2, 
            float velocityX, float velocityY) {
        // Before flinging, abort the current animation.
        // Begin the scroll animation
                // Current scroll position
                // Velocities, negated for natural touch response
                (int) -velocityX,
                (int) -velocityY,
                // Minimum and maximum scroll positions. The minimum scroll 
                // position is generally zero and the maximum scroll position 
                // is generally the content size less the screen size. So if the 
                // content width is 1000 pixels and the screen width is 200  
                // pixels, the maximum scroll offset should be 800 pixels.
                minX, maxX,
                minY, maxY,
                // The maximum overscroll bounds. This is useful when using
                // the EdgeEffect class to draw overscroll "glow" overlays.
                mContentRect.width() / 2,
                mContentRect.height() / 2);
        // Invalidate to trigger computeScroll()
        return true;

public void computeScroll() {

    // Compute the current scroll offsets. If this returns true, then the 
    // scroll has not yet finished.
    if (mScroller.computeScrollOffset()) {
        int currX = mScroller.getCurrX();
        int currY = mScroller.getCurrY();

        // Actually render the scrolled viewport, or actually scroll the 
        // view using View.scrollTo.

        // If currX or currY are outside the bounds, render the overscroll 
        // glow using EdgeEffect.

    } else {
        // The scroll has finished.

For another example of scroller usage, see the source code for the ViewPager class.