Changing the background drawable of the searchview widget

AndroidStylesAndroid ActionbarSearchviewBackground Drawable

Android Problem Overview

I'm trying to change the drawable that sits in the Android actionbar searchview widget.

Currently it looks like this: enter image description here

but I need to change the blue background drawable to a red colour.

I've tried many things short of rolling my own search widget, but nothing seems to work.

Can somebody point me in the right direction to changing this?

Android Solutions

Solution 1 - Android


Unfortunately there's no way to set SearchView text field style using themes, styles and inheritance in XML as you can do with background of items in ActionBar dropdown. This is because selectableItemBackground is listed as styleable in R.stylable, whereas searchViewTextField (theme attribute that we're interested in) is not. Thus, we cannot access it easily from within XML resources (you'll get a No resource found that matches the given name: attr 'android:searchViewTextField' error).

Setting SearchView text field background from code

So, the only way to properly substitute background of SearchView text field is to get into it's internals, acquire access to view that has background set based on searchViewTextField and set our own.

NOTE: Solution below depends only on id (android:id/search_plate) of element within SearchView, so it's more SDK-version independent than children traversal (e.g. using searchView.getChildAt(0) to get to the right view within SearchView), but it's not bullet-proof. Especially if some manufacturer decides to reimplement internals of SearchView and element with above-mentioned id is not present - the code won't work.

In SDK, the background for text field in SearchView is declared through nine-patches, so we'll do it the same way. You can find original png images in drawable-mdpi directory of Android git repository. We're interested in two image. One for state when text field is selected (named textfield_search_selected_holo_light.9.png) and one for where it's not (named textfield_search_default_holo_light.9.png).

Unfortunately, you'll have to create local copies of both images, even if you want to customize only focused state. This is because textfield_search_default_holo_light is not present in R.drawable. Thus it's not easily accessible through @android:drawable/textfield_search_default_holo_light, which could be used in selector shown below, instead of referencing local drawable.

NOTE: I was using Holo Light theme as base, but you can do the same with Holo Dark. It seems that there's no real difference in selected state 9-patches between Light and Dark themes. However, there's a difference in 9-patches for default state (see Light vs Dark). So, probably there's no need to make local copies of 9-patches for selected state, for both Dark and Light themes (assuming that you want to handle both, and make them both look the same as in Holo Theme). Simply make one local copy and use it in selector drawable for both themes.

Now, you'll need to edit downloaded nine-patches to your need (i.e. changing blue color to red one). You can take a look at file using draw 9-patch tool to check if it is correctly defined after your edit.

I've edited files using GIMP with one-pixel pencil tool (pretty easy) but you'll probably use the tool of your own. Here's my customized 9-patch for focused state:

enter image description here

NOTE: For simplicity, I've used only images for mdpi density. You'll have to create 9-patches for multiple screen densities if, you want the best result on any device. Images for Holo SearchView can be found in mdpi, hdpi and xhdpi drawable.

Now, we'll need to create drawable selector, so that proper image is displayed based on view state. Create file res/drawable/texfield_searchview_holo_light.xml with following content:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

<selector xmlns:android="">
    <item android:state_focused="true"
        android:drawable="@drawable/textfield_search_selected_holo_light" />
    <item android:drawable="@drawable/textfield_search_default_holo_light" />

We'll use the above created drawable to set background for LinearLayout view that holds text field within SearchView - its id is android:id/search_plate. So here's how to do this quickly in code, when creating options menu:

public class MainActivity extends Activity {

    public void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
    public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
        getMenuInflater().inflate(, menu);
        // Getting SearchView from XML layout by id defined there - my_search_view in this case
        SearchView searchView = (SearchView) menu.findItem(;
        // Getting id for 'search_plate' - the id is part of generate R file,
        // so we have to get id on runtime.
        int searchPlateId = searchView.getContext().getResources().getIdentifier("android:id/search_plate", null, null);
        // Getting the 'search_plate' LinearLayout.
        View searchPlate = searchView.findViewById(searchPlateId);
        // Setting background of 'search_plate' to earlier defined drawable.	        
        return super.onCreateOptionsMenu(menu);

Final effect

Here's the screenshot of the final result:

enter image description here

How I got to this

I think it's worth metioning how I got to this, so that this approach can be used when customizing other views.

Checking out view layout

I've checked how SearchView layout looks like. In SearchView contructor one can find a line that inflates layout:

inflater.inflate(R.layout.search_view, this, true);

Now we know that SearchView layout is in file named res/layout/search_view.xml. Looking into search_view.xml we can find an inner LinearLayout element (with id search_plate) that has android.widget.SearchView$SearchAutoComplete inside it (looks like ours search view text field):


Now, we now that the background is set based on current theme's searchViewTextField attribute.

Investigating attribute (is it easily settable?)

To check how searchViewTextField attribute is set, we investigate res/values/themes.xml. There's a group of attributes related to SearchView in default Theme:

<style name="Theme">
    <!-- (...other attributes present here...) -->
    <!-- SearchView attributes -->
    <item name="searchDropdownBackground">@android:drawable/spinner_dropdown_background</item>
    <item name="searchViewTextField">@drawable/textfield_searchview_holo_dark</item>
    <item name="searchViewTextFieldRight">@drawable/textfield_searchview_right_holo_dark</item>
    <item name="searchViewCloseIcon">@android:drawable/ic_clear</item>
    <item name="searchViewSearchIcon">@android:drawable/ic_search</item>
    <item name="searchViewGoIcon">@android:drawable/ic_go</item>
    <item name="searchViewVoiceIcon">@android:drawable/ic_voice_search</item>
    <item name="searchViewEditQuery">@android:drawable/ic_commit_search_api_holo_dark</item>
    <item name="searchViewEditQueryBackground">?attr/selectableItemBackground</item>

We see that for default theme the value is @drawable/textfield_searchview_holo_dark. For Theme.Light value is also set in that file.

Now, it would be great if this attribute was accessible through R.styleable, but, unfortunately it's not. For comparison, see other theme attributes which are present both in themes.xml and R.attr like textAppearance or selectableItemBackground. If searchViewTextField was present in R.attr (and R.stylable) we could simply use our drawable selector when defining theme for our whole application in XML. For example:

<resources xmlns:android="">

    <style name="AppTheme" parent="android:Theme.Light">
	    <item name="android:searchViewTextField">@drawable/textfield_searchview_holo_light</item>
What should be modified?

Now we know, that we'll have to access search_plate through code. However, we still don't know how it should look like. In short, we search for drawables used as values in default themes: textfield_searchview_holo_dark.xml and textfield_searchview_holo_light.xml. Looking at content we see that the drawable is selector which reference two other drawables (which occur to be 9-patches later on) based on view state. You can find aggregated 9-patch drawables from (almost) all version of Android on


We recognize the blue line in one of the 9-patches, so we create local copy of it and change colors as desired.

Solution 2 - Android

The above solutions may not work if you are using appcompat library. You may have to modify the code to make it work for appcompat library.

Here is the working solution for appcompat library.

  public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu)
    getMenuInflater().inflate(, menu); 

    SearchManager searchManager = (SearchManager) getSystemService(Context.SEARCH_SERVICE);
    MenuItem searchMenuItem = menu.findItem(;
    SearchView searchView = (SearchView) MenuItemCompat.getActionView(searchMenuItem);

    SearchView.SearchAutoComplete searchAutoComplete = (SearchView.SearchAutoComplete)searchView.findViewById(;

    View searchplate = (View)searchView.findViewById(;

    ImageView searchCloseIcon = (ImageView)searchView.findViewById(;

    ImageView voiceIcon = (ImageView)searchView.findViewById(;

    ImageView searchIcon = (ImageView)searchView.findViewById(;

    return super.onCreateOptionsMenu(menu);

Solution 3 - Android

Your onCreateOptionsMenu method must be:

	public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
		getMenuInflater().inflate(, menu);
		SearchView searchView = (SearchView) menu.findItem(;
		int linlayId = getResources().getIdentifier("android:id/search_plate", null, null);
		ViewGroup v = (ViewGroup) searchView.findViewById(linlayId);
		return super.onCreateOptionsMenu(menu);

where your search item is menu_search off course

and here is the searchviewredversion (this one is the xhdpi version):

enter image description here

Solution 4 - Android

The solution above doesn't work with ActionBarSherlock 4.2 and therefore it's not backward compatible to Android 2.x. Here is working code which setups SearchView background and hint text on ActionBarSherlock 4.2:

public static void styleSearchView(SearchView searchView, Context context) {
	View searchPlate = searchView.findViewById(;
	AutoCompleteTextView searchText = (AutoCompleteTextView) searchView.findViewById(;

Solution 5 - Android

I've tired to do this as well and I'm using v7. The application was crashed when I tried to grab the searchPlate via the getIdentifier() so I done it this way:

View searchPlate = searchView.findViewById(;

Solution 6 - Android


If you are using AndroidX then you can do it like this

    View searchPlate = svSearch. findViewById(;
    if (searchPlate != null) {
        AutoCompleteTextView searchText = searchPlate.findViewById(;
        if (searchText != null){
            searchText.setTextSize(TypedValue.COMPLEX_UNIT_PX, getResources().getDimension(R.dimen.edittext_text_size));

Solution 7 - Android

I also faced same problem.I used appcompat v7 library and defined custom style for it. In drawable folder put bottom_border.xml file which looks like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<layer-list xmlns:android="" >
  <shape >
      <solid android:color="@color/blue_color" />
<item android:bottom="0.8dp"
  <shape >
      <solid android:color="@color/background_color" />

<!-- draw another block to cut-off the left and right bars -->
<item android:bottom="2.0dp">
  <shape >
      <solid android:color="@color/main_accent" />

In values folder styles_myactionbartheme.xml:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
  <style name="AppnewTheme" parent="Theme.AppCompat.Light">
    <item name="android:windowBackground">@color/background</item>
    <item name="android:actionBarStyle">@style/ActionBar</item>
    <item name="android:actionBarWidgetTheme">@style/ActionBarWidget</item>
<!-- Actionbar Theme -->
<style name="ActionBar" parent="Widget.AppCompat.Light.ActionBar.Solid.Inverse">
    <item name="android:background">@color/main_accent</item>
    <!-- <item name="android:icon">@drawable/abc_ic_ab_back_holo_light</item> -->
<style name="ActionBarWidget" parent="Theme.AppCompat.Light">
    <!-- SearchView customization-->
     <!-- Changing the small search icon when the view is expanded -->
    <!-- <item name="searchViewSearchIcon">@drawable/ic_action_search</item> -->
     <!-- Changing the cross icon to erase typed text -->
  <!--   <item name="searchViewCloseIcon">@drawable/ic_action_remove</item> -->
     <!-- Styling the background of the text field, i.e. blue bracket -->
    <item name="searchViewTextField">@drawable/bottom_border</item>
     <!-- Styling the text view that displays the typed text query -->
    <item name="searchViewAutoCompleteTextView">@style/AutoCompleteTextView</item>        

  <style name="AutoCompleteTextView" parent="Widget.AppCompat.Light.AutoCompleteTextView">
    <item name="android:textColor">@color/text_color</item>
  <!--   <item name="android:textCursorDrawable">@null</item> -->
    <!-- <item name="android:textColorHighlight">@color/search_view_selected_text</item> -->

I defined custommenu.xml file for displaying menu:

<menu xmlns:android=""
   xmlns:com.example.actionbartheme="" >  
<item android:id="@+id/search"

Your activity should extend ActionBarActivity instead of Activity.

public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) 
	// Inflate the menu; this adds items to the action bar if it is present.
	MenuInflater inflater = getMenuInflater();
    inflater.inflate(, menu);

In manifest file:

    android:theme="@style/AppnewTheme" >

For more information see here:

Solution 8 - Android

First, let's create an XML file called search_widget_background.xml, to be used as a drawable, i.e. under drawable directory.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<shape xmlns:android=""
    android:shape="rectangle" >

    <solid android:color="@color/red" />


This drawable will be used as the background for our search widget. I set the color to red because that's what you asked for, but you can set it to any color defined by @color tag. You can even modify it further using the attributes defined for shape tag (make rounded corners, do an oval background, etc.).

Next step is to set the background of our search widget to this one. This can be accomplished by the following:

    public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {
        SearchView searchView = (SearchView)menu.findItem(;
        Drawable d = getResources().getDrawable(R.drawable.search_widget_background);

Solution 9 - Android

public boolean onCreateOptionsMenu(Menu menu) {

        // Set the search plate color
	    int linlayId = getResources().getIdentifier("android:id/search_plate", null, null);
        View view = searchView.findViewById(linlayId);
        Drawable drawColor = getResources().getDrawable(R.drawable.searchcolor);
        view.setBackground( drawColor );

and this is the searchablecolor.xml file

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<layer-list xmlns:android="" >
      <shape >
          <solid android:color="#ffffff" />

  <!-- main color -->
  <item android:bottom="1.5dp"
      <shape >
          <solid android:color="#2c4d8e" />

  <!-- draw another block to cut-off the left and right bars -->
  <item android:bottom="18.0dp">
      <shape >
          <solid android:color="#2c4d8e" />

Solution 10 - Android

I was digging about that a lot and finally I found this solution and it works for me!
You can use this

If you use appcompat try this:

ImageView searchIconView = (ImageView) searchView.findViewById(;

If you use androidx try this:

ImageView searchIconView = (ImageView) searchView.findViewById(;

It will change the default serchview icon.

Hope it helps!

Solution 11 - Android

I explained in the end of this post with images this is apply for xamarin forms. But i think you can understand it, because it is based on the source code of searchview of android

Solution 12 - Android

If you are inflating Searchview like this "getMenuInflater().inflate(, menu);". Then you can customize this searchview via style.xml like below.

<style name="AppTheme" parent="Theme.AppCompat.DayNight.NoActionBar">
      <item name="searchViewStyle">@style/SearchView.ActionBar</item>

<style name="SearchView.ActionBar" parent="Widget.AppCompat.SearchView.ActionBar">
      <item name="queryBackground">@drawable/drw_search_view_bg</item>
      <item name="searchHintIcon">@null</item>
      <item name="submitBackground">@null</item>
      <item name="closeIcon">@drawable/vd_cancel</item>
      <item name="searchIcon">@drawable/vd_search</item>


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