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Thinking in Java
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Radio buttons

The concept of a radio button in GUI programming comes from pre-electronic car radios with mechanical buttons; when you push one in, any other button that was pressed pops out. Thus, it allows you to force a single choice among many.

All you need to do to set up an associated group of JRadioButtons is to add them to a ButtonGroup (you can have any number of ButtonGroups on a form). One of the buttons can optionally have its starting state set to true (using the second argument in the constructor). If you try to set more than one radio button to true, then only the final one set will be true.

Here’s a simple example of the use of radio buttons. Note that you capture radio button events like all others:

// Using JRadioButtons.
// <applet code=RadioButtons width=200 height=100></applet>
import javax.swing.*;
import java.awt.event.*;
import java.awt.*;
import com.bruceeckel.swing.*;

public class RadioButtons extends JApplet {
  private JTextField t = new JTextField(15);
  private ButtonGroup g = new ButtonGroup();
  private JRadioButton
    rb1 = new JRadioButton("one", false),
    rb2 = new JRadioButton("two", false),
    rb3 = new JRadioButton("three", false);
  private ActionListener al = new ActionListener() {
    public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent e) {
      t.setText("Radio button " +
  public void init() {
    g.add(rb1); g.add(rb2); g.add(rb3);
    Container cp = getContentPane();
    cp.setLayout(new FlowLayout());
  public static void main(String[] args) { RadioButtons(), 200, 100);
} ///:~

To display the state, a text field is used. This field is set to non-editable because it’s used only to display data, not to collect it. Thus it is an alternative to using a JLabel.
Thinking in Java
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire