How to use Material Design Actionbar for Pre-Android L

Hey devs,

Android developers released support libraries for pre L Androids, but they haven’t updated their official documentation,

and I couldn’t find detailed tutorials or examples online.

I just followed the instructions in this page AppCompat v21 — Material Design for Pre-Lollipop Devices!.

It’s easy to use AppCompat in your existing application instead of the deprecated Actionbar in API 21

Step 1

If you are using Android Studio, add the following line to your Gradle (build.gradle):

compile ‘’
compile ‘’



Make sure targetSdkVersion is 21 and

compileSdkVersion 21
buildToolsVersion ‘21.0.2’


Step 2

Make your activity extend ActionBar Activity instead of Activity

public class HomeUI extends ActionBarActivity


Step 3

Replace getActionbar with getSupportActionBar()

and that’s it 😀


I had an issue with implementing SearchView in my Activities (my question in StackOverflow link),

the following code solved the problem

SearchManager searchManager = (SearchManager) getSystemService(Context.SEARCH_SERVICE);
SearchView searchView = (SearchView) MenuItemCompat.getActionView(menu.findItem(;



1. AppCompat custom style
2. Flatten your icons: tutorial or use this generator


Happy Coding 🙂