Adding item separators and header to FlatList

In this tutorial, we’ll see how we can customize our FlatList component in our React Native app using a header and item separators.

The FlatList component allows you to add and customize the list header and item separators using the ListHeaderComponent and ItemSeparatorComponent props.

Let’s start with the item separator component. In the App.js file, add the following code:

FlatListItemSeparator = () => {
  return (
        height: 1,
        width: "100%",
        backgroundColor: "#000",

We simply use a View component for our separator with a height of 1, a 100% width and a black background color. This will render an horizontal black line that takes the full width of the list.

Next, let’s add a header component in the same App.js file:

FlatListHeader = () => {
  return (
    <View elevation={1} 
        height: 100,
        width: "97%",
        margin: 5,
        backgroundColor: "#fff",
        border: 2.9,
        borderColor: "black",
        alignSelf: "center",
        shadowColor: "#000",
        shadowOffset: {
          width: 0,
          height: 16,
        shadowOpacity: 1,
        shadowRadius: 7.49
      <Text style={{  textShadowColor: 'black', textShadowOffset: { width: 1, height: 3 },textShadowRadius: 10, fontSize: 40, fontWeight: '800', flex: 1, alignSelf: "center", paddingTop: 30, fontSize: 40}}>Latest articles</Text>

For the header, we used a View with a Text components. We have used the style prop for each component to add a bunch of inline styles, particularly the shadow properties for adding some shadows to the View container and Text component.

You can make use of this online React Native shadow generator for generating the shadow styles.

Now, let’s change our FlatList component by adding the ListHeaderComponent and ItemSeparatorComponent props and assigning the previous components:

const HomeScreen = (props) => {
  console.log("articles: ", props.articles);
  return (
          data={ props.articles }
          ListHeaderComponent = { this.FlatListHeader }   
          ItemSeparatorComponent = { this.FlatListItemSeparator }
          keyExtractor={(item, index) => index.toString()}
  renderItem={({item}) => <ArticleItem article = { item }  />}

This is a screenshot of our UI with a list header, item separators and shadow around the header:

FlatList Header and Separators Example

We have a much better UI even with this little customization.

In the next part, we’ll implement the functionality of the open and save buttons attached to each FlastList item. We’ll be able to open the URL of each article in a web browser or save the article using local storage for later reading.

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About the author

Ahmed Bouchefra
is a web developer with 5+ years of experience and technical author with an engineering degree on software development. You can hire him with a click on the link above or contact him via his LinkedIn account. He authored technical content for the industry-leading websites such as SitePoint, Smashing, DigitalOcean, RealPython, freeCodeCamp, JScrambler, Pusher, and Auth0. He also co-authored various books about modern web development that you can find from Amazon or Leanpub

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