Part 2 - Adding a Second Toolbar

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last updated: 2017-06

The Toolbar can do more than replace the action bar – it can be used multiple times within an Activity, it can be be customized for placement anywhere on the screen, and it can be configured to span only a partial width of the screen. The examples below illustrate how to create a second Toolbar and place it at the bottom of the screen. This Toolbar implements Copy, Cut, and Paste menu items.

Define the Second Toolbar

Open MainActivity.cs and remove the Button code. Edit the layout file Main.axml and replace the Button definition with the following XML:

      android:layout_weight="1" />
      android:layout_height="wrap_content" />

This XML adds a second Toolbar to the bottom of the screen with an empty ImageView filling the middle of the screen. The height of this Toolbar is set to the height of an action bar:


The background color of this Toolbar is set to an accent color that will be defined next:


Notice that this Toolbar is based on a different theme (ThemeOverlay.Material.Dark.ActionBar) than that used by the Toolbar created in Part 1 – it isn't bound to the Activity's window decor or to the theme used in the first Toolbar.

Edit Resources/values/styles.xml and add the following accent color to the style definition:

<item name="android:colorAccent">#C7A935</item>

This gives the bottom toolbar a dark amber color. Building and running the app displays a blank second toolbar at the bottom of the screen:

Screenshot of app with yellow second toolbar at the bottom of the screen

Add Edit Menu Items

This section explains how to add edit menu items to the bottom Toolbar.

To add menu items to a secondary Toolbar:

  1. Add menu icons to the drawable- folders of the app project (if required).

  2. Define the contents of the menu items by adding an additional menu resource file to Resources/menu.

  3. In the Activity's OnCreate method, find the Toolbar (by calling FindViewById) and inflate the Toolbar's menus.

  4. Implement a click handler in OnCreate for the new menu items.

The following sections demonstrate this process in detail: Cut, Copy, and Paste menu items are added to the bottom Toolbar.

Define the Edit Menu Resource

In the Resources/menu subdirectory, create a new XML file called edit_menus.xml and replace the contents with the following XML:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<menu xmlns:android="">
       android:title="Cut" />
       android:title="Copy" />
       android:title="Paste" />

This XML creates the Cut, Copy, and Paste menu items (using icons that were added to the drawable- folders in Part 1).

Inflate the Menus

At the end of the OnCreate method in MainActivity.cs, add the following lines of code:

var editToolbar = FindViewById<Toolbar>(Resource.Id.edit_toolbar);
editToolbar.Title = "Editing";
editToolbar.InflateMenu (Resource.Menu.edit_menus);
editToolbar.MenuItemClick += (sender, e) => {  
    Toast.MakeText(this, "Bottom toolbar tapped: " + e.Item.TitleFormatted, ToastLength.Short).Show();

This code locates the edit_toolbar view defined in Main.axml, sets its title to Editing, and inflates its menu items (defined in edit_menus.xml). It defines a menu click handler that displays a toast to indicate which editing icon was tapped.

Build and run the app. When the app runs, the text and icons added above will appear as shown here:

Diagram of bottom Toolbar with Cut, Copy, and Paste icons

Tapping the Cut menu icon causes the following toast to be displayed:

Screenshot of Toast indicating that the Cut menu icon was tapped

Tapping menu items on either toolbar displays the resulting toasts:

Screenshots of Toasts for Save, Copy, and Paste menu items being tapped

The Up Button

Most Android apps rely on the Back button for app navigation; pressing the Back button takes the user to the previous screen. For apps with multiple activities, it often makes sense to instead provide an Up button so that the user can move up to a higher level in the app hierarchy (that is, the app pops the user back multiple activities in the back stack rather than popping back to the previously-visited Activity). To enable the Up button in a second activity that uses a Toolbar as its action bar, call the SetDisplayHomeAsUpEnabled and SetHomeButtonEnabled methods in the second activity's OnCreate method:

SetActionBar (toolbar);
ActionBar.SetDisplayHomeAsUpEnabled (true);
ActionBar.SetHomeButtonEnabled (true);

The Support v7 Toolbar code sample demonstrates the Up button in action. This sample (which uses the AppCompat library described next) implements a second activity that uses the Toolbar Up button for hierarchical navigation back to the previous activity. In this example, the DetailActivity home button enables the Up button by making the following SupportActionBar method calls:

SetSupportActionBar (toolbar);
SupportActionBar.SetDisplayHomeAsUpEnabled (true);
SupportActionBar.SetHomeButtonEnabled (true);

When the user navigates from MainActivity to DetailActivity, the DetailActivity displays an Up button (left pointing arrow) as shown in the screenshot:

Screenshot example of an Up button left arrow in the toolbar

Tapping this Up button causes the app to return to MainActivity. In a more complex app with multiple levels of hierarchy, tapping this button would return the user to the next highest level in the app rather than to the previous screen.

Xamarin Workbook

If it's not already installed, install the Xamarin Workbooks app first. The workbook file should download automatically, but if it doesn't, just click to start the workbook download manually.