New Buttons and Button Themes

Summary

A new set of basic material button widgets and themes have been added to Flutter. The original classes have been deprecated and will eventually be removed. The overall goal is to make buttons more flexible, and easier to configure via constructor parameters or themes.

The FlatButton, RaisedButton and OutlineButton widgets have been replaced by TextButton, ElevatedButton, and OutlinedButton respectively. Each new button class has its own theme: TextButtonTheme, ElevatedButtonTheme, and OutlinedButtonTheme. The original ButtonTheme class is no longer used. The appearance of buttons is specified by a ButtonStyle object, instead of a large set of widget parameters and properties. This is roughly comparable to the way that the appearance of text is defined with a TextStyle object. The new button themes are also configured with a ButtonStyle object. A ButtonStyle is itself just a collection of visual properties. Many of these properties are defined with MaterialStateProperty, which means that their value can depend on the button’s state.

Context

Rather than try and evolve the existing button classes and their theme in-place, we have introduced new replacement button widgets and themes. In addition to freeing us from the backwards compatibility labyrinthe that evolving the existing classes in-place would entail, the new names sync Flutter back up with the Material Design spec, which uses the new names for the button components.

Old Widget Old Theme New Widget New Theme
FlatButton ButtonTheme TextButton TextButtonTheme
RaisedButton ButtonTheme ElevatedButton ElevatedButtonTheme
OutlineButton ButtonTheme OutlinedButton OutlinedButtonTheme

The new themes follow the “normalized” pattern that Flutter adopted for new Material widgets about a year ago. Theme properties and widget constructor parameters are null by default. Non-null theme properties and widget parameters specify an override of the component’s default value. Implementing and documenting default values is the sole responsibility of the button component widgets. The defaults themselves are based primarily on the overall Theme’s colorScheme and textTheme.

Visually, the new buttons look a little different, because they match the current Material Design spec and because their colors are configured in terms of the overall Theme’s ColorScheme. There are other small differences in padding, rounded corner radii, and the hover/focus/pressed feedback.

Many applications will be able to just substitute the new class names for the old ones. Apps with golden image tests or with buttons whose appearance has been configured with constructor parameters or with the original ButtonTheme may need to consult the migration guide and the introductory material that follows.

API Change: ButtonStyle instead of individual style properties

Except for simple use cases, the APIs of the new button classes are not compatible with the old classes. The visual attributes of the new buttons and themes are configured with a single ButtonStyle object, similar to how a TextField or a Text widget can be configured with a TextStyle object. Most of the ButtonStyle properties are defined with MaterialStateProperty, so that a single property can represent different values depending on the button’s pressed/focused/hovered/etc state.

A button’s ButtonStyle doesn’t define the button’s visual properties, it defines overrides of the buttons default visual properties, where the default properties are computed by the button widget itself. For example, to override a TextButton’s default foreground (text/icon) color for all states, one could write:

TextButton(
  style: ButtonStyle(
    foregroundColor: MaterialStateProperty.all<Color>(Colors.blue),
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('TextButton'),
)

This kind of override is common; however, in many cases what’s also needed are overrides for the overlay colors that the text button uses to indicate its hovered/focus/pressed state. This can be done by adding the overlayColor property to the ButtonStyle.

TextButton(
  style: ButtonStyle(
    foregroundColor: MaterialStateProperty.all<Color>(Colors.blue),
    overlayColor: MaterialStateProperty.resolveWith<Color>(
      (Set<MaterialState> states) {
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.hovered))
          return Colors.blue.withOpacity(0.04);
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.focused) ||
            states.contains(MaterialState.pressed))
          return Colors.blue.withOpacity(0.12);
        return null; // Defer to the widget's default.
      },
    ),
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('TextButton')
)

A color MaterialStateProperty only needs to return a value for the colors whose default should be overridden. If it returns null, the widget’s default will be used instead. For example, to just override the text button’s focus overlay color:

TextButton(
  style: ButtonStyle(
    overlayColor: MaterialStateProperty.resolveWith<Color>(
      (Set<MaterialState> states) {
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.focused))
          return Colors.red;
        return null; // Defer to the widget's default.
      }
    ),
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('TextButton'),
)

The styleFrom() ButtonStyle utility methods

The Material Design spec defines buttons’ foreground and overlay colors in terms of the color scheme’s primary color. The primary color is rendered at different opacities, depending on the button’s state. To simplify creating a button style that includes all of the properties that depend on color scheme colors, each button class includes a static styleFrom() method which constructs a ButtonStyle from a simple set of values, including the ColorScheme colors it depends on.

This example creates a button that overrides its foreground color, as well as its overlay color, using the specified primary color and the opacities from the Material Design spec.

TextButton(
  style: TextButton.styleFrom(
    primary: Colors.blue,
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('TextButton'),
)

The TextButton documentation indicates that the foreground color when the button is disabled is based on the color scheme’s onSurface color. To override that as well, using styleFrom():

TextButton(
  style: TextButton.styleFrom(
    primary: Colors.blue,
    onSurface: Colors.red,
  ),
  onPressed: null,
  child: Text('TextButton'),
)

Using the styleFrom() method is the preferred way to create a ButtonStyle if you’re trying to create a Material Design variation. The most flexible approach is defining a ButtonStyle directly, with MaterialStateProperty values for the states whose appearance you want to override.

ButtonStyle defaults

Widgets like the new button classes compute their default values based on the overall theme’s colorScheme and textTheme as well as button’s current state. In a few cases they also consider if the overall theme’s color scheme is light or dark. Each button has a protected method that computes its default style as needed. Although apps won’t call this method directly, its API doc explains what all of the defaults are. When a button or button theme specifies ButtonStyle, only the button style’s non-null properties override the computed defaults. The button’s style parameter overrides non-null properties specified by the corresponding button theme. For example if foregroundColor property of a TextButton’s style is non-null, it overrides the same property for the TextButonTheme’s style.

As explained earlier, each button class includes a static method called styleFrom which constructs a ButtonStyle from a simple set of values, including the ColorScheme colors it depends on. In many common cases, using styleFrom to create a one-off ButtonStyle that overrides the defaults, is simplest. This is particularly true when the custom style’s objective is to override one of the color scheme colors, like primary or onPrimary that the default style depends on. For other cases you can create a ButtonStyle object directly. Doing so enables you to control the value of visual properties, like colors, for all of the button’s possible states - like pressed, hovered, disabled, and focused.

Migration guide

Use the following information to migrate your buttons to the new API.

Restoring the original button visuals

In many cases it’s possible to just switch from the old button class to the new one. That’s assuming that the small changes in size/shape and the likely bigger change in colors, aren’t a concern.

To preserve the original buttons’ appearance in these cases, one can define button styles that match the original as closely as you like. For example, the following style makes a TextButton look like a default FlatButton:

final ButtonStyle flatButtonStyle = TextButton.styleFrom(
  primary: Colors.black87,
  minimumSize: Size(88, 36),
  padding: EdgeInsets.symmetric(horizontal: 16.0),
  shape: const RoundedRectangleBorder(
    borderRadius: BorderRadius.all(Radius.circular(2.0)),
  ),
);

TextButton(
  style: flatButtonStyle,
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('Looks like a FlatButton'),
)

Similarly, to make an ElevatedButton look like a default RaisedButton:

final ButtonStyle raisedButtonStyle = ElevatedButton.styleFrom(
  onPrimary: Colors.black87,
  primary: Colors.grey[300],
  minimumSize: Size(88, 36),
  padding: EdgeInsets.symmetric(horizontal: 16),
  shape: const RoundedRectangleBorder(
    borderRadius: BorderRadius.all(Radius.circular(2)),
  ),
);
ElevatedButton(
  style: raisedButtonStyle,
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('Looks like a RaisedButton'),
)

The OutlineButton style for OutlinedButton is a little more complicated because the outline’s color changes to the primary color when the button is pressed. The outline’s appearance is defined by a BorderSide and you’ll use a MaterialStateProperty to define the pressed outline color:

final ButtonStyle outlineButtonStyle = OutlinedButton.styleFrom(
  primary: Colors.black87,
  minimumSize: Size(88, 36),
  padding: EdgeInsets.symmetric(horizontal: 16),
  shape: const RoundedRectangleBorder(
    borderRadius: BorderRadius.all(Radius.circular(2)),
  ),
).copyWith(
  side: MaterialStateProperty.resolveWith<BorderSide>(
    (Set<MaterialState> states) {
      if (states.contains(MaterialState.pressed))
        return BorderSide(
          color: Theme.of(context).colorScheme.primary,
          width: 1,
        );
      return null; // Defer to the widget's default.
    },
  ),
);

OutlinedButton(
  style: outlineButtonStyle,
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('Looks like an OutlineButton'),
)

To restore the default appearance for buttons throughout an application, you can configure the new button themes in the application’s theme:

MaterialApp(
  theme: ThemeData.from(colorScheme: ColorScheme.light()).copyWith(
    textButtonTheme: TextButtonThemeData(style: flatButtonStyle),
    elevatedButtonTheme: ElevatedButtonThemeData(style: raisedButtonStyle),
    outlinedButtonTheme: OutlinedButtonThemeData(style: outlineButtonStyle),
  ),
)

To restore the default appearance for buttons in part of an application you can wrap a widget subtree with TextButtonTheme, ElevatedButtonTheme, or OutlinedButtonTheme. For example:

TextButtonTheme(
  data: TextButtonThemeData(style: flatButtonStyle),
  child: myWidgetSubtree,
)

Migrating buttons with custom colors

The following sections cover use of the following FlatButton, RaisedButton, and OutlineButton color parameters:

textColor
disabledTextColor
color
disabledColor
focusColor
hoverColor
highlightColor*
splashColor

The new button classes do not support a separate highlight color because it’s no longer part of the Material Design.

Migrating buttons with custom foreground and background colors

Two common customizations for the original button classes are a custom foreground color for FlatButton, or custom foreground and background colors for RaisedButton. Producing the same result with the new button classes is simple:

FlatButton(
  textColor: Colors.red, // foreground
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('FlatButton with custom foreground/background'),
)

TextButton(
  style: TextButton.styleFrom(
    primary: Colors.red, // foreground
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('TextButton with custom foreground'),
)

In this case the TextButton’s foreground (text/icon) color as well as its hovered/focused/pressed overlay colors will be based on Colors.red. By default, the TextButton’s background fill color is transparent.

Migrating a RaisedButton with custom foreground and background colors:

RaisedButton(
  color: Colors.red, // background
  textColor: Colors.white, // foreground
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('RaisedButton with custom foreground/background'),
)

ElevatedButton(
  style: ElevatedButton.styleFrom(
    primary: Colors.red, // background
    onPrimary: Colors.white, // foreground
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('ElevatedButton with custom foreground/background'),
)

In this case the button’s use of the color scheme’s primary color is reversed relative to the TextButton: primary is button’s background fill color and onPrimary is the foreground (text/icon) color.

Migrating buttons with custom overlay colors

Overriding a button’s default focused, hovered, highlighted, or splash colors is less common. The FlatButton, RaisedButton, and OutlineButton classes have individual parameters for these state-dependent colors. The new TextButton, ElevatedButton, and OutlinedButton classes use a single MaterialStateProperty<Color> parameter instead. The new buttons allow one to specify state-dependent values for all of the colors, the original buttons only supported specifying what’s now called the “overlayColor”.

FlatButton(
  focusColor: Colors.red,
  hoverColor: Colors.green,
  splashColor: Colors.blue,
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('FlatButton with custom overlay colors'),
)

TextButton(
  style: ButtonStyle(
    overlayColor: MaterialStateProperty.resolveWith<Color>(
      (Set<MaterialState> states) {
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.focused))
          return Colors.red;
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.hovered))
            return Colors.green;
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.pressed))
            return Colors.blue;
        return null; // Defer to the widget's default.
    }),
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('TextButton with custom overlay colors'),
)

The new version is more flexible although less compact. In the original version, the the precedence of the different states is implicit (and undocumented) and fixed, in the new version, it’s explicit. For an app that specified these colors frequently, the easiest migration path would be to define one or more ButtonStyles that match the example above - and just use the style parameter - or to define a stateless wrapper widget that encapsulated the three color parameters.

Migrating buttons with custom disabled colors

This is a relatively rare customization. The FlatButton, RaisedButton, and OutlineButton classes have disabledTextColor and disabledColor parameters that define the background and foreground colors when the button’s onPressed callback is null.

By default, all of the buttons use the color scheme’s onSurface color, with opacity 0.38 for the disabled foreground color. Only ElevatedButton has a non-transparent background color and its default value is the onSurface color with opacity 0.12. So in many cases one can just use the styleFrom method to override the disabled colors:

RaisedButton(
  disabledColor: Colors.red.withOpacity(0.12),
  disabledTextColor: Colors.red.withOpacity(0.38),
  onPressed: null,
  child: Text('RaisedButton with custom disabled colors'),
),

ElevatedButton(
  style: ElevatedButton.styleFrom(onSurface: Colors.red),
  onPressed: null,
  child: Text('ElevatedButton with custom disabled colors'),
)

For complete control over the disabled colors, one must define the ElevatedButton’s style explicitly, in terms of MaterialStateProperties:

RaisedButton(
  disabledColor: Colors.red,
  disabledTextColor: Colors.blue,
  onPressed: null,
  child: Text('RaisedButton with custom disabled colors'),
)

ElevatedButton(
  style: ButtonStyle(
    backgroundColor: MaterialStateProperty.resolveWith<Color>(
      (Set<MaterialState> states) {
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.disabled))
          return Colors.red;
        return null; // Defer to the widget's default.
    }),
    foregroundColor: MaterialStateProperty.resolveWith<Color>(
      (Set<MaterialState> states) {
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.disabled))
          return Colors.blue;
        return null; // Defer to the widget's default.
    }),
  ),
  onPressed: null,
  child: Text('ElevatedButton with custom disabled colors'),
)

As with the previous case, there are obvious ways to make the new version more compact in an app where this migration comes up often.

Migrating buttons with custom elevations

This is also a relatively rare customization. Typically, only ElevatedButtons (originally called RaisedButtons) include elevation changes. For elevations that are proportional to a baseline elevation (per the Material Design specification), one can override all of them quite simply.

By default a disabled button’s elevation is 0, and the remaining states are defined relative to a baseline of 2:

disabled: 0
hovered or focused: baseline + 2
pressed: baseline + 6

So to migrate a RaisedButton for which all elevations have been defined:

RaisedButton(
  elevation: 2,
  focusElevation: 4,
  hoverElevation: 4,
  highlightElevation: 8,
  disabledElevation: 0,
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('RaisedButton with custom elevations'),
)

ElevatedButton(
  style: ElevatedButton.styleFrom(elevation: 2),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('ElevatedButton with custom elevations'),
)

To arbitrarily override just one elevation, like the pressed elevation:

RaisedButton(
  highlightElevation: 16,
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('RaisedButton with a custom elevation'),
)

ElevatedButton(
  style: ButtonStyle(
    elevation: MaterialStateProperty.resolveWith<double>(
      (Set<MaterialState> states) {
        if (states.contains(MaterialState.pressed))
          return 16;
        return null;
      }),
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('ElevatedButton with a custom elevation'),
)

Migrating buttons with custom shapes and borders

The original FlatButton, RaisedButton, and OutlineButton classes all provide a shape parameter which defines both the button’s shape and the appearance of its outline. The corresponding new classes and their themes support specifying the button’s shape and its border separately, with OutlinedBorder shape and BorderSide side parameters.

In this example the original OutlineButton version specifies the same color for border in its highlighted (pressed) state as for other states.

OutlineButton(
  shape: StadiumBorder(),
  highlightedBorderColor: Colors.red,
  borderSide: BorderSide(
    width: 2,
    color: Colors.red
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('OutlineButton with custom shape and border'),
)

OutlinedButton(
  style: OutlinedButton.styleFrom(
    shape: StadiumBorder(),
    side: BorderSide(
      width: 2,
      color: Colors.red
    ),
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('OutlinedButton with custom shape and border'),
)

Most of the new OutlinedButton widget’s style parameters, including its shape and border, can be specified with MaterialStateProperty values, which is to say that they can have different values depending on the button’s state. To specify a different border color when the button is pressed, do the following:

OutlineButton(
  shape: StadiumBorder(),
  highlightedBorderColor: Colors.blue,
  borderSide: BorderSide(
    width: 2,
    color: Colors.red
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('OutlineButton with custom shape and border'),
)

OutlinedButton(
  style: ButtonStyle(
    shape: MaterialStateProperty.all<OutlinedBorder>(StadiumBorder()),
    side: MaterialStateProperty.resolveWith<BorderSide>(
      (Set<MaterialState> states) {
        final Color color = states.contains(MaterialState.pressed)
          ? Colors.blue
          : Colors.red;
        return BorderSide(color: color, width: 2);
      }
    ),
  ),
  onPressed: () { },
  child: Text('OutlinedButton with custom shape and border'),
)

Timeline

Landed in version: 1.20.0-0.0.pre
In stable release: 2.0

References

API documentation:

Relevant PRs: