Android XML Percent Symbol

The question:

I have an array of strings in which the % symbol is used. Proper format for using the % is %. When I have a string in that array with multiple % it gives me this error.

 Multiple annotations found at this
 - error: Multiple substitutions specified in non-positional format;
   did you mean to add the formatted="false" attribute?
 - error: Found tag </item> where </string-array> is expected

The Solutions:

Below are the methods you can try. The first solution is probably the best. Try others if the first one doesn’t work. Senior developers aren’t just copying/pasting – they read the methods carefully & apply them wisely to each case.

Method 1

The Android Asset Packaging Tool (aapt) has become very strict in its latest release and is now used for all Android versions. The aapt-error you’re getting is generated because it no longer allows non-positional format specifiers.

Here are a few ideas how you can include the %-symbol in your resource strings.

If you don’t need any format specifiers or substitutions in your string you can simply make use of the formatted attribute and set it to false:

<string formatted="false">%a + %a == 2%a</string>

In this case the string is not used as a format string for the Formatter so you don’t have to escape your %-symbols. The resulting string is “%a + %a == 2%a”.

If you omit the formatted="false" attribute, the string is used as a format string and you have to escape the %-symbols. This is correctly done with double-%:

<string>%%a + %%a == 2%%a</string>

Now aapt gives you no errors but depending on how you use it, the resulting string can be “%%a + %%a == 2%%a” if a Formatter is invoked without any format arguments:

Resources res = context.getResources();

String s1 = res.getString(R.string.str);
// s1 == "%%a + %%a == 2%%a"

String s2 = res.getString(R.string.str, null);
// s2 == "%a + %a == 2%a"

Without any xml and code it is difficult to say what exactly your problem is but hopefully this helps you understand the mechanisms a little better.

Method 2

To allow the app using formatted strings from resources you should correct your xml. So, for example

<string name="app_name">Your App name, ver.%d</string>

should be replaced with

<string name="app_name">Your App name, ver.%1$d</string>

You can see this for details.

Method 3

You can escape % using %% for XML parser, but it is shown twice in device.

To show it once, try following format: %%

For Example

<string name="zone_50">Fat Burning (50%% to 60%%)</string> 

is shown as
Fat Burning (50% to 60%) in device

Method 4


<string name="win_percentage">%d%% wins</string>

to get

80% wins as a formatted string.

I’m using String.format() method to get the number inserted instead of %d.

Method 5

to escape the percent symbol, you just need %%

for example :

String.format("%1$d%%", 10)

returns “10%”

Method 6

In your strings.xml file you can use any Unicode sign you want.

For example, the Unicode number for percent sign is 0025:

<string name="percent_sign">%</string>

You can see a comprehensive list of Unicode signs here

Method 7

Not exactly your problem but a similar one.

If you have more than one formatting in your string entry, you should not use “%s” multiple times.


<string name="entry">Planned time %s - %s (%s)</string>

DO :

<string name="entry">Planned time %1$s - %2$s (%3$s)</string>

Method 8

You can escape the % in xml with %%, but you need to set the text in code, not in layout xml.

Method 9

A tricky method: using small percent sign as below

 <string name="zone_50">Fat Burning (50﹪ to 60﹪)</string> 

Percent Sign on Wikipedia

Method 10

This could be a case of the IDE becoming too strict.

The idea is sound, in general you should specify the order of substitution variables so that should you add resources for another language, your java code will not need to be changed. However there are two issues with this:

Firstly, a string such as:

You will need %.5G %s

to be used as You will need 2.1200 mg will have the order the same in any language as that amount of mass is always represented in that order scientifically.

The second is that if you put the order of variables in what ever language your default resources are specified in (eg English) then you only need to specify the positions in the resource strings for languages the use a different order to your default language.

The good news is that this is simple to fix. Even though there is no need to specify the positions, and the IDE is being overly strict, just specify them anyway. For the example above use:

You will need %1$.5G %2$s

Method 11

Try this one (right):

<string name="content" formatted="false">Great application %s  ☞  %s  ☞  %s \n\nGo to download this application %s</string>

Method 12

Per google official documentation, use %1$s and %2$s

Hello, %1$s! You have %2$d new messages.

Method 13

Suppose you want to show (50% OFF) and enter 50 at runtime. Here is the code:

<string name="format_discount"> (
<xliff:g id="discount">%1$s</xliff:g>
<xliff:g id="percentage_sign">%2$s</xliff:g>

In the java class use this code:

String formattedString=String.format(context.getString(R.string.format_discount),discountString,"%");

Method 14

Try using a backslash in front of it, like below:


All methods was sourced from or, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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