Kotlin Help


Strings in Kotlin are represented by the type String.

Generally, a string value is a sequence of characters in double quotes ("):

val str = "abcd 123"

Elements of a string are characters that you can access via the indexing operation: s[i]. You can iterate over these characters with a for loop:

fun main() { val str = "abcd" //sampleStart for (c in str) { println(c) } //sampleEnd }

Strings are immutable. Once you initialize a string, you can't change its value or assign a new value to it. All operations that transform strings return their results in a new String object, leaving the original string unchanged:

fun main() { //sampleStart val str = "abcd" // Creates and prints a new String object println(str.uppercase()) // ABCD // The original string remains the same println(str) // abcd //sampleEnd }

To concatenate strings, use the + operator. This also works for concatenating strings with values of other types, as long as the first element in the expression is a string:

fun main() { //sampleStart val s = "abc" + 1 println(s + "def") // abc1def //sampleEnd }

String literals

Kotlin has two types of string literals:

Escaped strings

Escaped strings can contain escaped characters.
Here's an example of an escaped string:

val s = "Hello, world!\n"

Escaping is done in the conventional way, with a backslash (\).
See Characters page for the list of supported escape sequences.

Multiline strings

Multiline strings can contain newlines and arbitrary text. It is delimited by a triple quote ("""), contains no escaping and can contain newlines and any other characters:

val text = """ for (c in "foo") print(c) """

To remove leading whitespace from multiline strings, use the trimMargin() function:

val text = """ |Tell me and I forget. |Teach me and I remember. |Involve me and I learn. |(Benjamin Franklin) """.trimMargin()

By default, a pipe symbol | is used as margin prefix, but you can choose another character and pass it as a parameter, like trimMargin(">").

String templates

String literals may contain template expressions – pieces of code that are evaluated and whose results are concatenated into a string. When a template expression is processed, Kotlin automatically calls the .toString() function on the expression's result to convert it into a string. A template expression starts with a dollar sign ($) and consists of either a variable name:

fun main() { //sampleStart val i = 10 println("i = $i") // i = 10 val letters = listOf("a","b","c","d","e") println("Letters: $letters") // Letters: [a, b, c, d, e] //sampleEnd }

or an expression in curly braces:

fun main() { //sampleStart val s = "abc" println("$s.length is ${s.length}") // abc.length is 3 //sampleEnd }

You can use templates both in multiline and escaped strings. To insert the dollar sign $ in a multiline string (which doesn't support backslash escaping) before any symbol, which is allowed as a beginning of an identifier, use the following syntax:

val price = """ ${'$'}_9.99 """

String formatting

To format a string to your specific requirements, use the String.format() function.

The String.format() function accepts a format string and one or more arguments. The format string contains one placeholder (indicated by %) for a given argument, followed by format specifiers. Format specifiers are formatting instructions for the respective argument, consisting of flags, width, precision, and conversion type. Collectively, format specifiers shape the output's formatting. Common format specifiers include %d for integers, %f for floating-point numbers, and %s for strings. You can also use the argument_index$ syntax to reference the same argument multiple times within the format string in different formats.

Let's look at an example:

fun main() { //sampleStart // Formats an integer, adding leading zeroes to reach a length of seven characters val integerNumber = String.format("%07d", 31416) println(integerNumber) // 0031416 // Formats a floating-point number to display with a + sign and four decimal places val floatNumber = String.format("%+.4f", 3.141592) println(floatNumber) // +3.1416 // Formats two strings to uppercase, each taking one placeholder val helloString = String.format("%S %S", "hello", "world") println(helloString) // HELLO WORLD // Formats a negative number to be enclosed in parentheses, then repeats the same number in a different format (without parentheses) using `argument_index$`. val negativeNumberInParentheses = String.format("%(d means %1\$d", -31416) println(negativeNumberInParentheses) //(31416) means -31416 //sampleEnd }

The String.format() function provides similar functionality to string templates. However, the String.format() function is more versatile because there are more formatting options available.

In addition, you can assign the format string from a variable. This can be useful when the format string changes, for example, in localization cases that depend on the user locale.

Be careful when using the String.format() function because it can be easy to mismatch the number or position of the arguments with their corresponding placeholders.

Last modified: 27 March 2024