Android dynamically change actionbar item

Photo Credit: GuoJunjun

Android dynamically change actionbar item

Android Action Bar are used in many applications, it is easy to implement and for consistency in UI design it offers user a familiar interface across applications.

Previous post: Implement the overflow menu

This post give a simple example of how to dynamically change actionbar item text.

The trick is simply use

public boolean onPrepareOptionsMenu (Menu menu)

Which prepare the Screen’s standard options menu to be displayed:

This is called right before the menu is shown, every time it is shown. You can use this method to efficiently enable/disable items or otherwise dynamically modify the contents.

The example code will create a item, and the item title (when there is no icon, item text will be treated as title text) start with 0, every time it is clicked the number will go up.

  • by doing so first we create a point variable
  • and then set it to a item we want it to be by `find menu item’

here is how the code look like:

private int points = 0;
@Override public boolean onPrepareOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
    MenuItem score = menu.findItem(;
    return super.onPrepareOptionsMenu(menu);

to handle the item that has been clicked in onOptionsItemSelected:

public boolean onOptionsItemSelected(MenuItem item) {
    switch (item.getItemId()) {
            Toast.makeText(this, "item selected! move to Main activity", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
            startActivity(new Intent(this, MainActivity.class));
            return true;
            Toast.makeText(this, "item selected! move to activity 2", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
            startActivity(new Intent(this, MainActivity2.class));
            return true;
            Toast.makeText(this, "status bar clicked!", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
            Toast.makeText(this, "item selected! default", Toast.LENGTH_SHORT).show();
            return super.onOptionsItemSelected(item);

Here are screenshots:

dynamically change item title screenshot dynamically change item title screenshot

Source code on Github

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