How to use the HierarchicalItemRenderer component

The HierarchicalItemRenderer class is designed to render items in a hierarchical data container, such as TreeView or TreeGridView.

Live preview of the HierarchicalItemRenderer component

The Basics

Hierarchical item renderers are managed by data containers, like TreeView and TreeGridView. Unlike other components, item renderers generally aren't added to the display list directly. Instead, the data container will use a DisplayObjectRecycler to manage its item renderers. For instance, TreeView has a itemRendererRecycler property.

var recycler = DisplayObjectRecycler.withFunction(() -> {
    var itemRenderer = new HierarchicalItemRenderer();
    // set common properties for all renderers in the same container here
    return itemRenderer;
treeView.itemRendererRecycler = recycler;

A custom update() method on the recycler can be used to set properties for a specific item from the container's data provider.

recycler.update = (itemRenderer:HierarchicalItemRenderer, state:TreeViewItemState) -> {
    // set properties for a specific item here
    itemRenderer.text = state.text;

The second parameter contains the current state of the item being displayed, including the original data from the data provider, its position within the data provider, the text to display, whether the item is selected, and more. In this case, we pass the text to the item renderer.


An item renderer may display some text. Generally, it's a good idea to make the data container aware of the text too. For TreeView, be sure to set the itemToText() function.

treeView.itemToText = item -> {

The itemToText() function would be appropriate for the following data provider, where each item has a name property.

treeView.dataProvider = new ArrayHierarchicalCollection([
    { name: "Pizza" },
    { name: "Cheeseburger" },
    { name: "French Fries" },

Inside the recycler's update() function, set the item renderer's text property.

recycler.update = (itemRenderer:HierarchicalItemRenderer, state:TreeViewItemState) -> {
    itemRenderer.text = state.text;

Secondary text

A hierarchical item renderer may display a second line of text below the primary text.

recycler.update = (itemRenderer:HierarchicalItemRenderer, state:TreeViewItemState) -> {
    var item =;
    itemRenderer.secondaryText = item.detail;

Inside the recycler's update() function, set the secondaryText property.


An item renderer may optionally display an icon or image. See the following tutorials for more details.

The tutorials below use the ItemRenderer component, but HierarchicalItemRenderer works nearly the same way.


An item renderer may optionally display an accessory to the right of the other content. An accessory may be a UI control, an image, or any OpenFL display object. See the following tutorial for more details.

The tutorial below uses the ItemRenderer component, but HierarchicalItemRenderer works nearly the same way.


When the user interacts with a hierarchical item renderer using the mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen, its state will change, which may affect its appearance. For instance, the item renderer's background skin, font styles, and icon may all be rendered differently in different states.

The ToggleButtonState enum defines the states available to all item renderer components because the ItemRenderer class is a subclass of ToggleButton.

  • UP(selected:Bool) is the item renderer's default state when the user is not interacting with it, and the item renderer is enabled.
  • DOWN(selected:Bool) is the state when the user presses the item renderer with a mouse, touchscreen, or by pressing Keyboard.SPACE when the item renderer is focused.
  • HOVER(selected:Bool) is the state when the mouse is hovering over the item renderer. This state is not used for touchscreens or keyboard interaction.
  • DISABLED(selected:Bool) is the item renderer's state when its enabled property has been set to false.

Notice that each state also defines a boolean value to indicate if the item renderer is selected or not. DOWN(true) and DOWN(false) both indicate that the item renderer is currently pressed down, but the value of true indicates that it is currently selected, while false means that it is not selected.


A number of styles may be customized on an ItemRenderer component, including the font styles, the background skin, and an optional icon. Several more styles may be used to adjust the layout of the item renderer's children.

Font styles

The font styles of the item renderer's text may be customized by passing an openfl.text.TextFormat object to the textFormat property.

itemRenderer.textFormat = new TextFormat("Helvetica", 20, 0x3c3c3c);

If the item renderer's text should use different font styles when the item renderer is selected, pass a TextFormat to the selectedTextFormat property.

itemRenderer.selectedTextFormat = new TextFormat("Helvetica", 20, 0x9a9a9a, true);

Finally, the item renderer's text may use different font styles in a more fine-grained matter — by targeting an exact state. Use the setTextFormatForState() method to pass in a state value and a TextFormat.

itemRenderer.setTextFormatForState(ToggleButtonState.DISABLED(false), new TextFormat("Helvetica", 20, 0xcc0000));

Using the code above, the color of the item renderer's text will change when the item renderer is disabled and not selected.

When font styles aren't available for a specific state, the item renderer will use the default textFormat as a fallback (preferring selectedTextFormat when selected, of course).

Background skin

Give the item renderer a background using the backgroundSkin property. The following example sets it to a RectangleSkin instance.

var skin = new RectangleSkin();
skin.border = SolidColor(1.0, 0x999999);
skin.fill = SolidColor(0xcccccc);
skin.width = 64.0;
skin.height = 32.0;
itemRenderer.backgroundSkin = skin;

The border and fill properties of the RectangleSkin are used to adjust its appearance. They support a variety of values — from solid colors to gradients to bitmaps.

The button automatically calculates its preferred size based on the initial dimensions of its background skin (accounting for some other factors too, like the dimensions of the text and icon), so it's important to set a skin's width and height properties to appropriate values to use in this calculation.

See Skinning with common shapes for more details about how to use RectangleSkin with the LineStyle and FillStyle enums that change its border and fill appearance.

The appearance of the item renderer's border or fill may change when the item renderer is selected. In the next example, the same RectangleSkin displays a different fill when selected by setting the selectedFill property.

skin.selectedFill = SolidColor(0xcc9999);

Similarly, use the selectedBorder property to set the border when selected.

skin.selectedBorder = SolidColor(2.0, 0x999999);

The fill or border may be customized for an exact state too. In the next example, the same RectangleSkin displays a different border when the item renderer is down and not selected.

skin.setFillForState(ToggleButtonState.DOWN(false), SolidColor(0xaa9999));
skin.setBorderForState(ToggleButtonState.DOWN(false), SolidColor(1.0, 0x9999cc));

In the examples above, the item renderer uses the same RectangleSkin for all states, and that skin listens for changes to the item renderer's current state. Alternatively, the item renderer's selectedBackgroundSkin property and setSkinForState() method allow the item renderer to display a completely different display object when its current state changes.

var defaultSkin = new RectangleSkin();
// ... set border, fill, width, and height
itemRenderer.backgroundSkin = defaultSkin;

var selectedSkin = new RectangleSkin();
// ... set border, fill, width, and height
itemRenderer.selectedBackgroundSkin = selectedSkin;

var hoverSkin = new RectangleSkin();
// ... set border, fill, width, and height
itemRenderer.setSkinForState(ToggleButtonState.HOVER(false), hoverSkin);

In the example above, the item renderer will display a custom skin when it is not selected and the mouse is hovering over it, the selected states will share the selectedBackgroundSkin, and all remaining states will share the default backgroundSkin.


Padding may be added on each side of the item renderer, including top, right, bottom, and left.

itemRenderer.paddingTop = 5.0;
itemRenderer.paddingRight = 8.0;
itemRenderer.paddingBottom = 5.0;
itemRenderer.paddingLeft = 8.0;

The icon may be positioned on any side of the item renderer's text. For instance, the following example moves the icon above the text, so that the icon and text are stacked vertically.

itemRenderer.iconPosition = TOP;

Set the iconPosition property to any of the RelativePosition values.

The gap refers to the space, measured in pixels, between the icon and the text. = 10.0;

The horizontalAlign and verticalAlign properties will adjust the alignment of the icon and text inside the item renderer, allowing you to anchor them at the edges or in the center.

itemRenderer.horizontalAlign = CENTER;
itemRenderer.verticalAlign = MIDDLE;

The indentation property refers to the space, measured in pixels, to the left side of the content for children of branches. The indentation may be added multiple times, depending on how many branches deep in the data provider the item is located.

itemRenderer.indentation = 10.0;

Disclosure Button

The disclosure button in a HierarchicalItemRenderer component is of type ToggleButton. It is displayed for items that are branches, and it controls whether the branch is opened or closed. Its appearance may be customized globally in a theme, or it may be customized outside of a theme on an specific, individual HierarchicalItemRenderer.

See How to use the ToggleButton component for complete details about which styles are available for the disclosure button.

Style disclosure button globally

Use the HierarchicalItemRenderer.CHILD_VARIANT_DISCLOSURE_BUTTON constant in a theme to provide a function that globally styles the buttons in all HierarchicalItemRenderer components.


The function should use the following signature.

function setHierarchicalItemRenderer_DisclosureButton_Styles(button:Button):Void {
    // ... set styles here

Style the disclosure button in a specific HierarchicalItemRenderer

The disclosureButtonFactory property may be used to customize the creation of an individual toggle button.

treeView.disclosureButtonFactory = () -> {
    var button = new ToggleButton();
    // ... set styles here
    return button;