JavaFX: GridPane Overview

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The GridPane class creates a JavaFX layout pane which places controls based on a column and row position. The grid contained in this layout is not predefined. It creates columns and rows as each control is added. This allows the grid to be completely flexible in its design.

Nodes can be placed in each cell of the grid and can span multiple cells either vertically or horizontally. By default the rows and columns will be sized to fit their content - that is the widest child node defines the column width and the tallest child node the row height. 

Import Statement

import javafx.scene.layout.GridPane;


The GridPane class has one constructor which does not accept any arguments:

GridPane playerGrid = new GridPane();

Useful Methods

Child nodes are added to the GridPane using the add method specifying the node to be added with the column and row index:

 //Place the Text control in column 1, row 8
Text rank4 = new Text("4");
playerGrid.add(rank4, 0,7);

Note: The column and row index starts at 0. So the first cell positioned at column 1, row 1 has an index of 0, 0.

Child nodes can also span multiple columns or rows. This can be specified in the add method by adding the number of columns and rows to span to the end of the arguments passed:

//Here the Text control is spanning 4 columns and 1 row
Text title = new Text("Top Scorers in English Premier League");
playerGrid.add(title, 0,0,4,1);

Child nodes contained within the GridPane can have their alignment along the horizontal or vertical axis by using the setHalignment and setValignment methods:

 GridPane.setHalignment(goals4, HPos.CENTER);

Note: The VPos enum contains four constant values to define the vertical position: BASELINE, BOTTOM, CENTER and TOP. The HPos enum only contains three values for the horizontal position: CENTER, LEFT and RIGHT

The padding of child nodes can also be set by using the setPadding method. This method takes the child node being set and Insets object defining the padding:

 //set the padding for all the cells in the GridPane
playerGrid.setPadding(new Insets(0, 10, 0, 10));

The spacing between the columns and rows can be defined by using the setHgap and setVgap methods:


The setGridLinesVisible method can be very useful in seeing where the grid lines are being drawn:


Usage Tips

If two nodes are set to be displayed in the same cell then they will overlap in the JavaFX scene. 

Columns and rows can be set to a preferred width and height through the use of RowConstraints and ColumnConstraints. These are separate classes that can be used to control the size. Once defined they are added to the GridPane by using the getRowConstraints().addAll and getColumnConstraints().addAll methods.

GridPane objects can be styled using JavaFX CSS. All the CSS properties defined under Region can be used.

To see the GridPane layout in action have a look at the GridPane Example Program. It shows how to place Text controls in a table format by defining uniform rows and columns.