Kotlin Multiplatform Development Help

Images and resources

Compose Multiplatform provides a special library and Gradle plugin support for accessing resources in common code across all supported platforms. Resources are static content, such as images, fonts, and strings, which you can use from your application.

When working with resources in Compose Multiplatform, consider the current conditions:

  • Almost all resources are read synchronously in the caller thread. The only exceptions are raw files and all of the resources on the JS platform that are read asynchronously.

  • Reading big raw files, like long videos, as a stream is not supported yet. Use separate files on the user device and read them with the file system API, for example, the kotlinx-io library.

  • Multimodule projects are not supported yet. The JetBrains team is working on adding this functionality in future releases. For now, store all resources in the main application module.

  • The publication of Compose Multiplatform libraries with resources is not supported yet. The JetBrains team is working on adding this functionality in future releases.

  • Currently, accessors are generated for the commonMain source set only. The JetBrains team is working on expanding this functionality in future releases.

    However, you can still store platform-specific resources in a platform composeResources directory and read them as a byte array. All resources will be included in each final app.


To access resources in your multiplatform projects:

  1. In the build.gradle.kts file in the composeApp directory, add a dependency to the commonMain source set:

    kotlin { sourceSets { commonMain.dependencies { implementation(compose.components.resources) } } }
  2. Create a new directory composeResources in the commonMain directory:

    Compose resources project structure
  3. Organize the composeResources directory structure according to these rules:

    • Images should be in the drawable directory.

    • Fonts should be in the font directory.

    • Strings (strings.xml) should be in the values directory.

    • Other files with any hierarchy should be in the files directory.


Sometimes, the same resource should be presented in different ways depending on the environment, such as locale, screen density, or interface theme. For example, you might need to localize texts for different languages or adjust images for the dark theme. For that, the library provides special qualifiers.

All resource types (except for raw files in the files directory) support qualifiers. Apply qualifiers to directory names using a hyphen:

Qualifiers in compose resources

The library supports (in the order of priority) the following qualifiers: language, theme, and density.

  • Different types of qualifiers can be applied together. For example, "drawable-en-rUS-mdpi-dark" is an image for the English language in the United States region, suitable for 160 DPI screens in the dark theme.

  • If a resource with the requested qualifier doesn't exist, the default resource without a qualifier is used instead.

Language and regional qualifiers

The language is defined by a two-letter ISO 639-1 language code.

You can add a two-letter ISO 3166-1-alpha-2 regional code to your language code. In this case, the regional code must have a lowercase r prefix.

The language and regional codes are not case-sensitive.

Theme qualifier

You can add "light" or "dark" qualifiers. Compose Multiplatform then selects the necessary resource depending on the current system theme.

Density qualifier

You can use the following density qualifiers:

  • "ldpi" − 120 DPI, 0.75x density

  • "mdpi" − 160 DPI, 1x density

  • "hdpi" − 240 DPI, 1.5x density

  • "xhdpi" − 320 DPI, 2x density

  • "xxhdpi" − 480 DPI, 3x density

  • "xxxhdpi" − 640dpi, 4x density

The resource is selected depending on the screen density defined in the system.

Resource usage

After importing a project, a special Res class is generated which provides access to resources. To manually generate the Res class, run the generateComposeResClass Gradle task.


You can access drawable resources as simple images, rasterized images, or XML vectors:

  • To access drawable resources as Painter images, use the painterResource() function:

    @Composable fun painterResource(resource: DrawableResource): Painter {...}

    The painterResource() function takes a resource path and returns a Painter value. The function works synchronously on all targets except for web. For the web target, it returns an empty Painter for the first recomposition that is replaced with the loaded image in subsequent recompositions.

    • painterResource() loads either a BitmapPainter for rasterized image formats, such as .png, .jpg, .bmp, .webp, or a VectorPainter for the Android XML vector drawable format.

    • XML vector drawables have the same format as Android, except that they don't support external references to Android resources.

  • To access drawable resources as an ImageBitmap rasterized image, use the imageResource() function:

    @Composable fun imageResource(resource: DrawableResource): ImageBitmap {...}
  • To access drawable resources as an ImageVector XML vector, use the vectorResource() function:

    @Composable fun vectorResource(resource: DrawableResource): ImageVector {...}

Here's an example of how you can access images in your Compose Multiplatform code:

Image( painter = painterResource(Res.drawable.my_icon), contentDescription = null )


Store all string resources in the strings.xml file in the composeResources/values directory, for example:

<resources> <string name="app_name">My awesome app</string> <string name="title">Some title</string> </resources>

A static accessor is generated for each item in the strings.xml file.

To get string resources as a String, use the following code:

@Composable fun stringResource(resource: StringResource): String {...} @Composable fun stringResource(resource: StringResource, vararg formatArgs: Any): String {...} @Composable fun stringArrayResource(resource: StringResource): List<String> {...}

For example:

suspend fun getString(resource: StringResource): String suspend fun getString(resource: StringResource, vararg formatArgs: Any): String suspend fun getStringArray(resource: StringResource): List<String>

For example:

coroutineScope.launch { val appName = getString(Res.string.app_name) }

You can use special symbols in string resources:

  • \n — for a new line

  • \t — for a tab symbol

  • \uXXXX — for a specific Unicode character

String templates

Currently, arguments have basic support in string resources:

<!-- strings.xml --> <resources> <string name="str_template">Hello, %1$s! You have %2$d new messages.</string> </resources>

There is no difference between %...s and %...d when using string templates with arguments from composable code, for example:

Text(stringResource(Res.string.str_template, "User_name", 100))


Store custom fonts in the composeResources/font directory as *.ttf or *.otf files.

To load a font as a Font type, use the Font() function:

@Composable fun Font( resource: FontResource, weight: FontWeight = FontWeight.Normal, style: FontStyle = FontStyle.Normal ): Font

For example:

val fontAwesome = FontFamily(Font(Res.font.font_awesome))

Raw files

To load any raw file as a byte array, use the Res.readBytes(path) function:

suspend fun readBytes(path: String): ByteArray

You can place raw files in the composeResources/files directory and create any hierarchy inside it.

For example, to access raw files, use the following code:

var bytes by remember { mutableStateOf(ByteArray(0)) } LaunchedEffect(Unit) { bytes = Res.readFileBytes("files/myDir/someFile.bin") } Text(bytes.decodeToString())
coroutineScope.launch { val bytes = Res.readFileBytes("files/myDir/someFile.bin") }

Remote files

Only files that are part of the application are considered resources.

You can also load remote files from the internet using their URL. To load remote files, use special libraries:

What's next?

Check out the official demo project that shows how resources can be handled in a Compose Multiplatform project targeting iOS, Android, and desktop.

Last modified: 28 February 2024