Components Tabs

Tabs

Tabs make it easy to explore and switch between different views or functional aspects of an app or to browse categorized data sets.

Usage Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

A tab provides the affordance for displaying grouped content. A tab label succinctly describes the tab’s associated grouping of content.

Mobile tabs

Default app bar and fixed tab bar

Extended app bar and fixed tab bar

Fixed tab bar pinned to top with scrolled content

Inset search, app bar, and fixed tab bar

Default app bar and scrollable tab bar

Text color is the same as the tab indicator

Default app bar and fixed tab bar with icons

Icon color is the same as the tab indicator

Desktop tabs

Default app bar and tab bar

Tabs with a More dropdown menu

Tabs with an expanded More dropdown menu

Tabs with Books selected from a More dropdown menu

Tabs with overflow pagination

Tabs with overflow pagination scrolled

Tab bar centered

When to use

Use tabs to organize content at a high level, for example, presenting different sections of a newspaper. Don’t use tabs for carousels or pagination of content. Those use cases involve viewing content, not navigating between groups of content.

For more detail about using tabs for navigating top-level views, see “Top-level navigation strategies” in Patterns > App structure.

Don't use tabs with content that supports the swipe gesture, because swipe gestures are used for navigating between tabs. For example, avoid using tabs in a map where content is pannable, or a list where items can be dismissed with a swipe.

Fixed tabs should be used with a limited number of tabs and when consistent placement will aid muscle memory. Scrollable tabs should be used when there are many or a variable number of tabs.

Do.

The tabs switch between equally important facets of store content.

Don't.

The tabs switch between destinations of varied importance within the store.

Tab characteristics

Tabs control the display of content in a consistent location.

Formatting specifications:

  • Present tabs as a single row. Wrap tab labels to a second line if needed, and then truncate.
  • Do not include a set of tabbed content within a tab.
  • Highlight the tab corresponding to the visible content.
  • Group tabs together hierarchically. Connect a group of tabs with its content.
  • Keep tabs adjacent to their content. It helps maintain the relationship between the two with less ambiguity.
Do.

Tabs are presented as a single row.

Don't.

Tabs are not presented as a single column.

Do.

Use a content hierarchy such that tabs relate to the currently displayed content.

Don't.

Tabs should not be nested.

Content Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Content presented in tabs can vary widely, even between tabs. For example, tabs showing different years of an artist’s portfolio or tabs containing different types of settings.

All content within a set of tabs should be related under a larger organizing principle (for example, Settings or Directions), with each tab’s content mutually exclusive of the others'.

Tab labels should provide meaningful distinctions that logically organize associated content.

Tab labels may be either all icons or all text. When choosing a text label, use short titles.

Avoid the need for cross-tab comparison of content. Significant cross-tab comparison may indicate the content would benefit from a different organization or presentation that places the content closer together.

Do.

A long label exceeding the maximum width of a tab may wrap to a second line before being truncated.

Don't.

Wrap labels before truncating them. Truncating labels too early can impede comprehension.

Don't.

Do not resize labels. If labels are too long, use scrollable tabs instead, or wrap text to a second line.

Don't.

Do not combine text labels with icons. Use either all text labels or all icon labels.

Types of tabs Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Depending on the platform and the context of use, tabbed content can be presented as either fixed tabs or scrollable (swipeable) tabs.

Fixed tabs

Fixed tabs display all tabs concurrently and are best used with content that benefits from quick pivots between tabs in fixed positions, such as switching transportation methods for directions in Google Maps.

Fixed tabs have equal width, calculated either as the view width divided by the number of tabs, or based on the widest tab label. To navigate between fixed tabs, touch the tab or swipe the content area left or right.

Fixed tabs on mobile

Fixed tabs on mobile

Scrollable tabs

Scrollable tabs display a subset of tabs at any given moment, and can contain longer tab labels and a larger number of tabs than fixed tabs. Scrollable tabs are best used for browsing contexts in touch interfaces when users don’t need to directly compare the tab labels.

To navigate between scrollable tabs, touch the tab or swipe the content area left or right. To scroll the tabs without navigating, swipe the tabs left or right.

Scrollable tabs on mobile

Specs Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Fixed tabs

The width of each tab can be calculated by taking the width of the view and dividing it by the number of tabs. Alternatively, make all tabs the width of the largest tab.

If the margin between the tab edge and view edge is 16dp or less, use full-width tabs instead of centered tabs.

Width minimum and maximum (inclusive of padding)

  • Maximum: 264dp
  • Minimum: 160dp for larger views, 72 dp for smaller views

Height

  • 48dp

Padding

  • 12dp left and right of text
  • 20dp from bottom for a single line of text, 12dp from bottom for two lines of text

Alignment

  • Full-width for smaller views
  • Centered for larger views

Indicator

  • Height: 2dp
  • Color: #fff or accent color

Fixed tabs on mobile, text only, portrait orientation

Mobile portrait example of fixed  tabs, text only

Tabs with text only

Text

  • 14sp Roboto Medium
  • 12sp when wrapped across a maximum of two lines
  • All caps
  • Horizontally and vertically centered
  • Active color: #fff or accent color
  • Unfocused tab color: #fff 70%

Mobile landscape example of same tabs aligned with left keyline

Mobile landscape example of same tabs centered

Tabs with icons and text

Height

  • 72dp

Content alignment

  • Text and icon are centered horizontally in the tab

Padding

  • 10dp between icon and text
  • 16dp under text

Fixed tabs on mobile, icons and text

Fixed tabs on mobile, icons and text

Tabs with icons only

Height

  • 48dp

Content alignment

  • Icon is centered horizontally and vertically in the tab

Padding

  • 12dp under icon

Fixed tabs on mobile, icons only

Fixed tabs on mobile, icons only

Scrollable tabs

The left-most tab content aligns with the keyline. Alignment varies between landscape and portrait to match the different keylines.

The width of each tab is independently calculated.

Width minimum and maximum (inclusive of padding)

  • Maximum (whichever fits and is smaller): 264dp or (the value of view size minus 56dp)
  • Minimum: 160dp for larger views, 72 dp for smaller views

Height

  • 48dp

Padding

  • 12dp left and right of text
  • 20dp from bottom for a single line of text, 12dp from bottom for two lines of text

Indicator

  • Height: 2dp
  • Color: #fff or accent color

Scrollable tab

For illustration only: A max-width scrollable tab with wrapped text. Avoid using excessively long tab labels.

Text

  • 14sp Roboto Medium
  • 12sp when wrapped across a maximum of 2 lines
  • All caps
  • Vertically and horizontally centered
  • Active color:  #fff or accent color
  • Unfocused tab color: #fff 70%

Mobile landscape example of same tabs aligned with left keyline with max-width text

Desktop

Width minimum and maximum (inclusive of padding)

  • Maximum (whichever fits and is smaller): 264dp or (the value of view size minus 56dp)
  • Minimum: 160dp for larger views, 72 dp for smaller views

Height

  • 48dp

Alignment

  • Centered or aligned with left keyline

Text

  • 13sp Roboto Medium
  • All caps
  • Horizontally and vertically centered
  • Wraps across a maximum of two lines
  • Active color: #fff or accent color
  • Unfocused tab color: #fff 70%

Padding

  • 24dp left and right of text
  • 20dp from bottom for a single line of text, 12dp from bottom for two lines of text

Indicator

  • Height: 2dp
  • Color: #fff or accent color

Desktop tabs

Tab touch target animation

Note: Implementations of this component may vary by platform. By using standard platform implementations, you will receive related future improvements.

Animation of tab touch target.