Android 4.3 menu item showAsAction=”always” ignored

Probably you are missing required namespace:

<menu xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
      xmlns:[yourapp]="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto">
    <item android:id="@+id/menu_add_size"
        android:title="@string/menu_add_item"
        android:orderInCategory="10"
        [yourapp]:showAsAction="always"
        android:icon="@android:drawable/ic_menu_add" />
</menu>

Replace [yourapp] with your app name or any namespace your heart desires everywhere.

Other things worth checking:

  • See if your activity class extends ActionBarActivity

Check if the issue persists.


Android reference documentation: Adding Action Buttons. Here is the relevant text:

If your app is using the Support Library for compatibility on versions as low as Android 2.1, the showAsAction attribute is not available from the android: namespace. Instead this attribute is provided by the Support Library and you must define your own XML namespace and use that namespace as the attribute prefix. (A custom XML namespace should be based on your app name, but it can be any name you want and is only accessible within the scope of the file in which you declare it.)

Figured out myself. With the support library v7 the showAsAction should go under a custom namespace like this:

<menu xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
      xmlns:balloonberry="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res-auto">
    <item android:id="@+id/menu_add_size"
        android:title="@string/menu_add_item"
        android:orderInCategory="10"
        balloonberry:showAsAction="always"
        android:icon="@android:drawable/ic_menu_add" />
</menu>

Also make sure that you use correct inflater in ActionBarActivity.onCreateOptionsMenu() method.

Correct solution:

MenuInflater menuInflater = getMenuInflater();
menuInflater.inflate(R.menu.menu_example, menu);

Incorrect solution:

MenuInflater menuInflater = new MenuInflater(this);
menuInflater.inflate(R.menu.menu_example, menu);

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