Customizing the Notification Android

Although the default notification behavior in the expanded status bar tray is sufficient for most purposes, developers can customize how notifications are displayed if they so choose. To do so, developers can use the RemoteViews object to customize the look and feel of a notification.

The following code demonstrates how to create a RemoteViews object and assign custom text to it:

RemoteViews remote =
new RemoteViews(getPackageName(), R.layout.remote);
remote.setTextViewText(, "Big text here!");
remote.setTextViewText(, "Red text down here!");
notify.contentView = remote;

To better understand this, here is the layout file remote.xml referenced by the preceding code:

android:textColor="#000" />
android:textColor="#f00" />

This particular example is similar to the default notification but does not contain an icon. The setLatestEventInfo() method is normally used to assign the text to the default layout. In this example, we use our custom layout instead. The Intent still needs to be assigned, though, as follows:

Intent toLaunch = new Intent
(SimpleNotificationsActivity.this, SimpleNotificationsActivity.class);
PendingIntent intentBack = PendingIntent.getActivity
(SimpleNotificationsActivity.this, 0, toLaunch, 0);
notify.contentIntent = intentBack;
notifier.notify(NOTIFY_5, notify);

The end result looks something like Figure.

Custom notification showing with just two lines of text.

Custom notification showing with just two lines of text.

Using a custom notification layout can provide better control over the information on the expanded status bar. Additionally, it can help differentiate your application’s notifications from other applications by providing a themed or branded appearance.


The default layout includes two fields of text: an icon and a time field for when the notification was triggered. Users are accustomed to this information. An application, where feasible and where it makes sense, should try to conform to at least this level of information when using custom notifications.

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