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How to Create Expandable RecyclerView items in Android using Kotlin?

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RecyclerView is a ViewGroup added to the android studio as a successor of the GridView and ListView. It is an improvement on both of them and can be found in the latest v-7 support packages. It has been created to make possible construction of any lists with XML layouts as an item that can be customized vastly while improving the efficiency of ListViews and GridViews. This improvement is achieved by recycling the views which are out of the visibility of the user. For example, if a user scrolled down to a position where items 4 and 5 are visible; items 1, 2, and 3 would be cleared from the memory to reduce memory consumption. In this article, we will explain how to create Expandable Recycler View items in android. Below is the sample video to show what we are going to build. Note that we are going to implement this project using the Kotlin language. 

Step by Step Implementation

Step 1: Create a new project

To create a new project in Android Studio please refer to How to Create/Start a New Project in Android Studio. Note that select Kotlin as the programming language.

Step 2: Add view binding dependency

Go to build.gradle(app) and the following dependency inside the android tag and click sync now.

 buildFeatures {

      viewBinding true


Step 3: Working with the activity_main.xml

Go to the activity_main.xml file and refer to the following code. Below is the code for the activity_main.xml file. It has only a single Recycler view which we will use to show our data.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
    <!--Add recycler view to main activity-->
        app:layoutManager="androidx.recyclerview.widget.LinearLayoutManager" />

Step 4: Create a new layout file and name it as single_item.xml file

Go to the single_item.xml file and refer to the following code. Below is the code for the single_item.xml file. It is the single item layout that we will use in RecyclerView.


<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
        <!--Text view for showing the language name-->
            app:layout_constraintTop_toTopOf="parent" />
        <!--This is the layout "expanded_view" we will 
            hide initially and show as expanded
            layout when user clicks on any of the item-->
            <!--It has a text view which we will use in our case as
                a description text for the languages-->
                android:text="Description Text"
                android:textSize="18sp" />

Step 5: Create a new model class

Create a new class Language.kt we will use data of custom generic “Language” to pass in the list that will be shown in RecyclerView.


// this is the Language model class
class Language(
    val name : String ="",
    val description : String= "",
    var expand : Boolean = false

Step 6: Working with adapter class

Create a new class RvAdapter.kt this will act as an Adapter class for the recycler view. The logic behind the expandable recycler view is that initially, we will make the visibility of layout with id “expanded_view” of “single_item.xml” to GONE and once the user clicks on any item of recycler view we will make its visibility VISIBLE. Comments are added before the code for better understanding.


import android.view.LayoutInflater
import android.view.View
import android.view.ViewGroup
import androidx.recyclerview.widget.RecyclerView
import com.geeksforgeeks.rvadapterviewbinding.databinding.SingleItemBinding
class RvAdapter(
    private var languageList: List<Language>
) : RecyclerView.Adapter<RvAdapter.ViewHolder>() {
    // create an inner class with name ViewHolder
    // It takes a view argument, in which pass the generated class of single_item.xml
    // ie SingleItemBinding and in the RecyclerView.ViewHolder(binding.root) pass it like this
    inner class ViewHolder(val binding: SingleItemBinding) : RecyclerView.ViewHolder(binding.root)
    // inside the onCreateViewHolder inflate the view of SingleItemBinding
    // and return new ViewHolder object containing this layout
    override fun onCreateViewHolder(parent: ViewGroup, viewType: Int): ViewHolder {
        val binding = SingleItemBinding.inflate(LayoutInflater.from(parent.context), parent, false)
        return ViewHolder(binding)
    // bind the items with each item of the list languageList which than will be
    // shown in recycler view
    // to keep it simple we are not setting any image data to view
    override fun onBindViewHolder(holder: ViewHolder, position: Int) {
                // set name of the language from the list
                binding.tvLangName.text =
                // set description to the text
                // since this is inside "expandedView" its visibility will be gone initially
                // after click on the item we will make the visibility of the "expandedView" visible
                // which will also make the visibility of desc also visible
                binding.tvDescription.text = this.description
                // check if boolean property "extend" is true or false
                // if it is true make the "extendedView" Visible
                binding.expandedView.visibility = if (this.expand) View.VISIBLE else View.GONE
                // on Click of the item take parent card view in our case
                // revert the boolean "expand"
                binding.cardLayout.setOnClickListener {
                    this.expand = !this.expand
    // return the size of languageList
    override fun getItemCount(): Int {
        return languageList.size

Step 7: Working with MainActivity.kt

Go to the MainActivity.kt file and refer to the following code. Below is the code for the MainActivity.kt file. Comments are added inside the code to understand the code in more detail.


import android.os.Bundle
import androidx.recyclerview.widget.LinearLayoutManager
import com.geeksforgeeks.rvadapterviewbinding.databinding.ActivityMainBinding
class MainActivity : AppCompatActivity() {
    // view binding for the activity
    private var _binding: ActivityMainBinding? = null
    private val binding get() = _binding!!
    // get reference to the adapter class
    private var languageList = ArrayList<Language>()
    private lateinit var rvAdapter: RvAdapter
    override fun onCreate(savedInstanceState: Bundle?) {
        _binding = ActivityMainBinding.inflate(layoutInflater)
        // define layout manager for the Recycler view
        binding.rvList.layoutManager = LinearLayoutManager(this)
        // attach adapter to the recycler view
        rvAdapter = RvAdapter(languageList)
        binding.rvList.adapter = rvAdapter
        // create new objects
        // add some row data
        val language1 = Language(
            "Java is an Object Oriented Programming language." +
                    " Java is used in all kind of applications like Mobile Applications (Android is Java based), " +
                    "desktop applications, web applications, client server applications, enterprise applications and many more. ",
        val language2 = Language(
            "Kotlin is a statically typed, general-purpose programming language" +
                    " developed by JetBrains, that has built world-class IDEs like IntelliJ IDEA, PhpStorm, Appcode, etc.",
        val language3 = Language(
            "Python is a high-level, general-purpose and a very popular programming language." +
                    " Python programming language (latest Python 3) is being used in web development, Machine Learning applications, " +
                    "along with all cutting edge technology in Software Industry.",
        val language4 = Language(
            "C++ is a general purpose programming language and widely used now a days for " +
                    "competitive programming. It has imperative, object-oriented and generic programming features. ",
        // add items to list
    // on destroy of view make the binding reference to null
    override fun onDestroy() {
        _binding = null


Github Repo here.

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Last Updated : 24 Mar, 2021
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