Preview your UI with Composable previews

A composable is defined by a function and annotated with @Composable:

fun SimpleComposable() {
    Text("Hello World")

A simple text element containing the words "Hello

To enable a preview of this composable, create another composable, annotated with @Composable and @Preview. This new, annotated composable now contains the composable you created initially, SimpleComposable:

fun SimpleComposablePreview() {

The @Preview annotation tells Android Studio that this composable should be shown in the design view of this file. Starting with Android Studio Electric Eel, you can see live updates to your composable preview as you make your edits.

A gif showing real time updates using Compose

You can add parameters manually in your code to customize the way Android Studio renders @Preview. You can even add the @Preview annotation to the same function multiple times to preview a composable with different properties.

One of the primary benefits of using @Preview composables is to avoid reliance on the emulator in Android Studio. You can save the memory-heavy startup of the emulator for more final look-and-feel changes, and @Preview's ability to make and test small code changes with ease.

To leverage @Preview annotation most effectively, make sure to define your screens in terms of the state it receives as input and the events that it outputs. In addition to improved testability, your screens render without a problem in your preview!

Define your @Preview

Android Studio offers some features to extend composable previews. You can change their container design, interact with them, or deploy them directly to an emulator or device.


By default, @Preview dimensions are chosen automatically to wrap its content. To set the dimensions manually, add heightDp and widthDp parameters. Those values are already interpreted as dp, so you don't need to add .dp to them:

@Preview(widthDp = 50, heightDp = 50)
fun SquareComposablePreview() {
    Box(Modifier.background(Color.Yellow)) {
        Text("Hello World")

A yellow square with the words "Hello

Dynamic color preview

If you've enabled dynamic color in your app, use the wallpaper attribute to switch wallpapers and see how your UI reacts to different users' chosen wallpaper. Select from the different wallpaper themes offered by the Wallpaper class. This feature requires Compose 1.4.0 or higher.

Use with different devices

In Android Studio Flamingo, you can edit the device parameter of the Preview annotation to define configurations for your composables in different devices.

Sample Composable

When the device parameter has an empty string (@Preview(device = "")), you can invoke autocomplete by pressing Ctrl + Space. Then, you can set the values of each parameter.

Editing the sample

From autocomplete, you can select any device option from the list–for example, @Preview(device = "id:pixel_4"). Alternatively, you can enter a custom device by choosing spec:width=px,height=px,dpi=int… to set the individual values of each parameter.


To apply, press Enter, or cancel with Esc.

If you set an invalid value, the declaration is underlined in red and a fix may be available (Alt + Enter (⌥ + ⏎ for macOS) > Replace with …. The Inspection attempts to provide a fix that is closest to resembling your input.

Example of invalid


To test different user locales, add the locale parameter:

@Preview(locale = "fr-rFR")
fun DifferentLocaleComposablePreview() {
    Text(text = stringResource(R.string.greeting))

A simple text element containing the word "Bonjour" with a French

Set background color

By default, your composable is displayed with a transparent background. To add a background, add the showBackground and backgroundColor parameters. Keep in mind that backgroundColor is an ARGB Long, not a Color value:

@Preview(showBackground = true, backgroundColor = 0xFF00FF00)
fun WithGreenBackground() {
    Text("Hello World")

A green rectangle with the words "Hello

System UI

If you need to display the status and action bars inside a preview, add the showSystemUi parameter:

@Preview(showSystemUi = true)
fun DecoratedComposablePreview() {
    Text("Hello World")

A preview window showing an activity with the status and action bars.

UI mode

The parameter uiMode can take any of the Configuration.UI_* constants and allows you to change the behavior of the preview accordingly. For example, you can set the preview to Night Mode to see how the theme reacts.

Compose preview UI


You can read from the LocalInspectionMode CompositionLocal to see if the composable is rendered in a preview (inside an inspectable component). If the composition is rendered in a preview, LocalInspectionMode.current evaluates to true. This information lets you customize your preview; for example, you can show a placeholder image in the preview window instead of showing real data.

This way, you can also work around the limitations. For example, showing sample data instead of calling network request.

fun GreetingScreen(name: String) {
    if (LocalInspectionMode.current) {
        // Show this text in a preview window:
        Text("Hello preview user!")
    } else {
        // Show this text in the app:
        Text("Hello $name!")

Interact with your @Preview

Android Studio provides features that allow you to interact with your defined previews. This interaction helps you understand your previews' runtime behavior and allows you to better navigate your UI with previews.

Interactive mode

The interactive mode lets you interact with a preview similarly to how you would on a device running your program, like a phone or tablet. The interactive mode is isolated in a sandbox environment (meaning, isolated from other previews), where you can click elements and enter user input in the preview. It's a quick way to test different states, gestures, and even animations of your composable.

The user clicking the preview's "interactive"

A video of the user interacting with a

Code navigation and composable outlines

You can hover over a preview to see the outlines of the composables contained within. Clicking on a composable outline triggers your editor view to navigate to its definition.

The user hovering over a preview, causing Studio to display the outlines of

Run preview

You can run a specific @Preview on an emulator or a physical device. The preview is deployed within the same project app as a new Activity, so it shares the same context and permissions. It does not require you to write boilerplate code asking for a permission if it has already been granted.

Click the Run Preview icon Run Preview
icon next to the @Preview annotation or at the top of the preview, and Android Studio deploys that @Preview to your connected device or emulator.

The user clicking the preview's "run preview"

Video of the user deploying a preview to the

Copy @Preview render

Every rendered preview can be copied as an image by right clicking on it.

The user clicking on a preview to copy it as an

Multiple previews of the same @Preview annotation

You can showcase multiple versions of the same @Preview composable with different specifications, or different parameters passed to the composable. This way, you can reduce the boilerplate code that you would need to write otherwise.

Multipreview annotations

With multipreview, you can define an annotation class that itself has multiple @Preview annotations with different configurations. Adding this annotation to a composable function automatically renders all of the different previews at once. For example, you can use this annotation to preview multiple devices, font sizes, or themes at the same time without repeating those definitions for every single composable.

Start by creating your own custom annotation class:

    name = "small font",
    group = "font scales",
    fontScale = 0.5f
    name = "large font",
    group = "font scales",
    fontScale = 1.5f
annotation class FontScalePreviews

You can use this custom annotation for your preview composables:

fun HelloWorldPreview() {
    Text("Hello World")

Android Studio design tab showing the composable with small and large

You can combine multiple multipreview annotations and normal preview annotations to create a more complete set of previews. Combining multipreview annotations doesn't mean all the different combinations are shown. Instead, each multipreview annotation acts independently and renders only its own variants.

    name = "Spanish",
    group = "locale",
    locale = "es"
annotation class CombinedPreviews

fun HelloWorldPreview2() {
    MaterialTheme { Surface { Text(stringResource(R.string.hello_world)) } }

Android Studio design tab showing the composable in all

The mix-and-match nature of multipreview-- and normal preview!-- lets you more comprehensively test many properties of larger scale projects.

@Preview and large data sets

Very often, a need arises where you must pass a large dataset to your composable preview. To do this, simply pass sample data to a Composable Preview function by adding a parameter with the @PreviewParameter annotation.

fun UserProfilePreview(
    @PreviewParameter(UserPreviewParameterProvider::class) user: User
) {

To provide the sample data, create a class that implements PreviewParameterProvider and returns the sample data as a sequence.

class UserPreviewParameterProvider : PreviewParameterProvider<User> {
    override val values = sequenceOf(

This renders one preview per data element in the sequence:

Previews showing Elise, Frank and Julia

You can use the same provider class for multiple previews. If necessary, limit the number of previews by setting the limit parameter.

fun UserProfilePreview2(
    @PreviewParameter(UserPreviewParameterProvider::class, limit = 2) user: User
) {

Limitations and best practices

Android Studio executes previews code directly in the preview area. It doesn't require running an emulator or physical device because it leverages a ported part of the Android framework called Layoutlib. Layoutlib is a custom version of the Android framework designed to run outside of Android devices. The goal of the library is to provide a preview of a layout in Android Studio that is very close to its rendering on devices.

Previews limitations

Because of the way previews are rendered within Android Studio, they are lightweight and don't require the whole Android framework to render them. However, this comes with the following limitations:

  • No network access
  • No file access
  • Some Context APIs may not be fully available

Previews and ViewModels

Previews are limited when using ViewModel within a composable. The previews system is not capable of constructing all of the parameters passed to a ViewModel, such as repositories, use cases, managers, or similar. Also, if your ViewModel participates in dependency injection (such as with Hilt), the previews system can't build the whole dependency graph to construct the ViewModel.

When you try to preview a composable with ViewModel, Android Studio shows an error when rendering the particular composable:

Android studio problem pane with Failed to instantiate a `ViewModel`

If you want to preview a composable that uses a ViewModel, you should create another composable with the parameters from ViewModel passed as arguments of the composable. This way, you don't need to preview the composable that uses the ViewModel.

fun AuthorColumn(viewModel: AuthorViewModel = viewModel()) {
    name = viewModel.authorName,
    // ViewModel sends the network requests and makes posts available as a state
    posts = viewModel.posts

fun AuthorScreenPreview(
  // You can use some sample data to preview your composable without the need to construct the ViewModel
  name: String =,
  posts: List<Post> = samplePosts[sampleAuthor]
) {
  AuthorColumn(...) {
    name = NameLabel(name),
    posts = PostsList(posts)

Annotation class @Preview

You can always 'ctrl or ⌘ + click' the @Preview annotation in Android Studio for a full list of parameters that can be adjusted when customizing your preview.

annotation class Preview(
    val name: String = "",
    val group: String = "",
    @IntRange(from = 1) val apiLevel: Int = -1,
    val widthDp: Int = -1,
    val heightDp: Int = -1,
    val locale: String = "",
    @FloatRange(from = 0.01) val fontScale: Float = 1f,
    val showSystemUi: Boolean = false,
    val showBackground: Boolean = false,
    val backgroundColor: Long = 0,
    @UiMode val uiMode: Int = 0,
    @Device val device: String = Devices.DEFAULT,
    @Wallpaper val wallpaper: Int = Wallpapers.NONE,

Additional resources

To read more about how Android Studio promotes @Preview ease of use, and learn more Tooling tips, check out the blog Compose Tooling.