What’s the difference between fill_parent and wrap_content? Code Answer

In Android, when layout out widgets, what’s the difference between fill_parent (match_parent in API Level 8 and higher) and wrap_content?

Is there any documentation where you can point to? I’m interested in understanding it very well.


Either attribute can be applied to View’s (visual control) horizontal or vertical size. It’s used to set a View or Layouts size based on either it’s contents or the size of it’s parent layout rather than explicitly specifying a dimension.

fill_parent (deprecated and renamed MATCH_PARENT in API Level 8 and higher)

Setting the layout of a widget to fill_parent will force it to expand to take up as much space as is available within the layout element it’s been placed in. It’s roughly equivalent of setting the dockstyle of a Windows Form Control to Fill.

Setting a top level layout or control to fill_parent will force it to take up the whole screen.


Setting a View’s size to wrap_content will force it to expand only far enough to contain the values (or child controls) it contains. For controls — like text boxes (TextView) or images (ImageView) — this will wrap the text or image being shown. For layout elements it will resize the layout to fit the controls / layouts added as its children.

It’s roughly the equivalent of setting a Windows Form Control’s Autosize property to True.

Online Documentation

There’s some details in the Android code documentation here.

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