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Action Bar icons are graphical elements placed in the Action Bar representing individual action items.
As described in Providing Density-Specific Icon Sets and Supporting Multiple Screens, you should create separate icons for all generalized screen densities, including low-, medium-, high-, and extra-high-density screens. This ensures that your icons will display properly across the range of devices on which your application can be installed. See Tips for Designers for suggestions on how to work with multiple sets of icons.
Final art must be exported as a transparent PNG file. Do not include a background color.
Templates for creating icons in Adobe Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.
Android 3.0 and Later
The following guidelines describe how to design action bar icons for Android 3.0 (API Level 11) and later.
Size and format
Action Bar icons should be 32-bit PNGs with an alpha channel for transparency. The finished action bar icon dimensions, corresponding to a given generalized screen density, are shown in the table below.
ldpi (120 dpi)
(Low density screen)
mdpi (160 dpi)
(Medium density screen)
hdpi (240 dpi)
(High density screen)
xhdpi (320 dpi)
(Extra-high density screen)
|Action Bar Icon Size
|18 x 18 px
|24 x 24 px
|36 x 36 px
|48 x 48 px
Style, colors, and effects
Action Bar icons are flat, pictured face on, and generally greyscale, depending on the application's theme. Action Bar icons should not look three-dimensional.
In order to maintain consistency across the application's Action Bar, all Action Bar icons should use the same color palette and effects.
When using the default "Holo Light" or "Holo Dark" themes, icons should use the color palette and effects shown in Figure 1 and Figure 2, below.
Shown below are example extra-high-density Action Bar icons that are used throughout Android system applications.
Warning: Because resources can change between platform versions,
you should not reference built-in icons using the Android platform resource IDs (i.e. menu or Action
Bar icons under
android.R.drawable). If you want to use any icons or other internal
drawable resources, you should store a local copy of those icons or drawables in your application
resources, then reference the local copy from your application code. In that way, you can maintain
control over the appearance of your icons, even if the system's copy changes. Note that the grid
below is not intended to be complete.