Table of contents
  1. Using Grids
    1. General Rules
    2. Binding to Data
    3. Adding columns
    4. Sorting
    5. Column Widths
    6. Filters
    7. Conditional Row/Cell formats

Using Grids

Vaadin Grid allows you to display tabular data in a scrollable div, lazy-loading rows as they are scrolled into the viewport. It also allows you to sort and filter for particular column.

Vaadin Grid is probably the most versatile and complex component, and it may take some time to learn all of its capabilities. Just take things slow and you’ll be used to Grid in no time.

You can learn about Grid capabilities in the official Vaadin Grid Documentation page.

There are more ways of using Grid; in the tutorial we will use the easiest way as endorsed by the VoK framework.

Note: this article uses a SQL database to fetch data. If you are using NoSQL or REST or other means to fetch data, please read Accessing NoSQL/REST DataSources for more details.

General Rules

Since the Grid scrolls by itself, it makes no sense to set its height to wrapContent. The best way is to make the Grid to fill its parent in both width and height directions, simply by calling setSizeFull(); then just make sure its parent layout also fills its parent (or has a particular height set, e.g. 200.px) and so on.

Binding to Data

VoK entities automatically provide a DataLoader instance. The DataLoader interface automatically fetches pages of entities lazily from the underlying database table, supporting all optional features such as sorting and filtering.

A simplest Grid loading data from such a DataLoader can be constructed as follows:

grid<Person> {

Note: if you wish to display an outcome of a complex SELECT JOIN, please read the Showing an arbitrary output of any SQL SELECT command section.

You can further configure the DataLoader by for example adding a default sorting, or adding an unremovable filter. If the user has not selected any particular sorting in the Grid, you can provide a default one:

grid<Person> {

You can also impose an unremovable filter which limits the data the user is able to see:

grid<Person> {
  setDataLoader(Person.dataLoader.withFilter { Person::age ge 18 })

Adding columns

By default the Grid will show no columns. You can add columns easily, by calling the columnFor() function as follows:

personGrid = grid<Person> {
  flexGrow = 1.0

  columnFor(Person::id, sortable = false)
  columnFor(Person::dateOfBirth, converter = { it?.toString() })
  // example of a custom renderer which converts value to a displayable string.
  columnFor(Person::created, converter = { it?.toString() })

  // add additional columns with buttons
  addButtonColumn(VaadinIcon.EYE, "view", { person: Person -> navigateToView(PersonView::class,!!) }) {}
  addButtonColumn(VaadinIcon.EDIT, "edit", { person: Person -> createOrEditPerson(person) }) {}
  addButtonColumn(VaadinIcon.TRASH, "delete", { person: Person -> person.delete(); refresh() }) {}

The columnFor() will set the column header automatically, by converting dateOfBirth camelCase to Date Of Birth Human Friendly format. It will also use the default renderer/converter pair which simply calls .toString() on any value of that particular property. The column is also by default sortable. To override this behavior, you can provide a configuration block to the columnFor() function which will allow you to configure the column further (simply by calling setters/methods on the Grid.Column receiver).

The columnFor() function is tailored towards creating columns bound to a bean property. If you wish to create columns not backed by any property (say, a column with the “Show Details” link), you can simply use the addColumn() function as provided by the Vaadin Grid itself. Please see above for the example.


The Grid is initially unsorted and shows the data in the whatever order the DataProvider considers the default one. In entity data providers the data is typically sorted by the primary key by default, which makes little sense for the user. You can hence create a data provider which provides a different default sorting instead:

grid<Person> {

However, this doesn’t cause a sorting indicator to appear in the Grid Column’s header. Therefore, it’s better to configure the Grid itself to sort by given column. That can be achieved by calling Grid.sort(). That way, a visual sort indicator would be displayed for the user as well:

grid<Person> {

Note: please make sure to create appropriate database index for every sortable column, otherwise the database SELECTs would be quite slow.

Column Widths

All columns are by default expanded, with the expand ratio of 1. That means they all use the same portion of available width space and hence they all have the same width. You can turn off this behavior by setting column’s isExpand to false (which is an alias for setting flexGrow to 0):

grid(...) {
    addColumn(newDeleteButtonRenderer()).apply {
        isExpand = false

This will cause the column to have undefined width, which causes automatic sizing based on the widths of the displayed data. You can set column widths explicitly by pixel value with setting the column width property, or relatively using expand ratios with flexGrow.

When using expand ratios, the columns with a non-zero expand ratio use the extra space remaining from other columns, in proportion to the defined ratios. Do note that the minimum width of an expanded column by default is based on the contents of the column (the initially rendered rows).

The user can resize columns by dragging their separators with the mouse. When resized manually, all the columns widths are set to explicit pixel values, even if they had relative values before.


In the simplest case, when you do not wish to fine-tune the filter appearance, you can simply add the following command into your grid{} block:

grid(dataProvider = Person.dataProvider) {
    // ..
    val filterBar = appendHeaderRow().asFilterBar(this)
    columnFor(Person::name) {
        filterBar.forField(TextField(), this).istartsWith()
    columnFor(Person::age) {
        filterBar.forField(NumberRangePopup(), this).inRange()
    columnFor(Person::alive) {
        filterBar.forField(BooleanComboBox(), this).eq()
    columnFor(Person::dateOfBirth, converter = { it?.toString() }) {
        filterBar.forField(DateRangePopup(), this).inRange(Person::dateOfBirth)

You need to create the filter component themselves, but VoK provides the means to bind auto-generate filter components for all bean properties shown in the Grid itself. For more information on this topic please read the VoK Vaadin Utils Documentation.

Note: please make sure to create appropriate database index for every filtrable column, otherwise the database SELECTs would be quite slow.

You can do quite a lot with the data providers - please see the Databases Guide for more details.

Conditional Row/Cell formats

Often it is required to change the cell formating of a Vaadin grid depending on the rows content, for example in order to highlight certain values. In order to achieve that, simply use the Grid.Column.setClassNameGenerator() function as follows:

columnFor(Person::created, converter = { it!!.toInstant().toString() }) {
  filterBar.forField(DateRangePopup(), this).inRange(Person::created)
  setClassNameGenerator { it -> "black" }

Most commonly you only need to align the text within the column cell; for that there’s Grid.Column.setTextAlign() function provided by Vaadin directly.