How do I align string print out in left, right, center alignment?

The following code snippet will teach you how to align string in left, right or center alignment when you want to print out string to a console. We will print the string using the printf(String format, Object... args) method. The format specifier / parameter defines how the string will be formatted for output and the args is the value that will be formatted.

The format parameter / specifier include flags, width, precision and conversion-characters in the order shown below. The square brackets in the notation means the part is an optional parameter.

% [flags] [width] [.precision] conversion-character
Flags Description
- left-align the output, when not specified the default is to right-align
+ print (+) or (-) sign for numeric value
0 zero padded a numeric value
, comma grouping separator for number greater that 1000
space will output a (-) symbol for negative value and a space if positive
Conversion Description
s string, use capital S to uppercase the strings
c character, use capital C to uppercase the characters
d integer: byte, short, integer, long
f floating point number: float, double
n new line

Width: Defines the field width for printing out the value of argument. It also represents the minimum number of characters to
be printed out to the output.

Precision: For floating-point conversion the precision define the number of digits of precision in a floating point value. For string value this will extract the substring.

To center the string for output we use the StringUtils.center() method from the Apache Commons Lang library. This method will center-align the string str in a larger string of size using the default space character (‘ ‘). You can supply the third parameter to define your own space character / string.

package org.kodejava.example.lang;

import org.apache.commons.lang3.StringUtils;

import java.time.LocalDate;
import java.time.Month;
import java.time.temporal.ChronoUnit;

public class StringAlignment {
    private static Object[][] people = {
        {"Alice", LocalDate.of(2000, Month.JANUARY, 1)},
        {"Bob", LocalDate.of(1989, Month.DECEMBER, 15)},
        {"Carol", LocalDate.of(1992, Month.JULY, 24)},
        {"Ted", LocalDate.of(2006, Month.MARCH, 13)},
    };

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String nameFormat = "| %1$-20s | ";
        String dateFormat = " %2$tb %2$td, %2$tY  | ";
        String ageFormat = " %3$3s |%n";
        String format = nameFormat.concat(dateFormat).concat(ageFormat);
        String line = new String(new char[48]).replace('\0', '-');

        System.out.println(line);
        System.out.printf("|%s|%s|%s|%n",
            StringUtils.center("Name", 22),
            StringUtils.center("Birth Date", 16),
            StringUtils.center("Age", 6));
        System.out.println(line);

        for (Object[] data : people) {
            System.out.printf(format,
                data[0], data[1],
                ChronoUnit.YEARS.between((LocalDate) data[1], LocalDate.now()));
        }

        System.out.println(line);
    }
}

Here is the output of our code snippet above:

------------------------------------------------
|         Name         |   Birth Date   | Age  |
------------------------------------------------
| Alice                |  Jan 01, 2000  |   17 |
| Bob                  |  Dec 15, 1989  |   27 |
| Carol                |  Jul 24, 1992  |   24 |
| Ted                  |  Mar 13, 2006  |   10 |
------------------------------------------------

Maven Dependencies

<!-- http://repo1.maven.org/maven2/org/apache/commons/commons-lang3/3.6/commons-lang3-3.6.jar -->
<dependency>
    <groupId>org.apache.commons</groupId>
    <artifactId>commons-lang3</artifactId>
    <version>3.6</version>
</dependency>

How do I generate random string?

package org.kodejava.example.security;

import java.security.SecureRandom;
import java.util.Random;

public class RandomString {
    public static final String SOURCES =
            "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz1234567890";

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        RandomString rs = new RandomString();
        System.out.println(rs.generateString(new Random(), SOURCES, 10));
        System.out.println(rs.generateString(new Random(), SOURCES, 10));
        System.out.println(rs.generateString(new SecureRandom(), SOURCES, 15));
        System.out.println(rs.generateString(new SecureRandom(), SOURCES, 15));
    }

    /**
     * Generate a random string.
     *
     * @param random the random number generator.
     * @param characters the characters for generating string.
     * @param length the length of the generated string.
     * @return
     */
    public String generateString(Random random, String characters, int length) {
        char[] text = new char[length];
        for (int i = 0; i < length; i++) {
            text[i] = characters.charAt(random.nextInt(characters.length()));
        }
        return new String(text);
    }
}

Example string produced by the code snippets are:

uxEUFqTqS0
vr89vdF4gh
ysYF9XEHhO5FtDf
aBANhrLObZ1XLJi

How to split a string by a number of characters?

The following code snippet will show you how to split a string by numbers of characters. We create a method called splitToNChars() that takes two arguments. The first arguments is the string to be split and the second arguments is the split size.

This splitToNChars() method will split the string in a for loop. First we’ll create a List object that will store parts of the split string. Next we do a loop and get the substring for the defined size from the text and store it into the List. After the entire string is read we convert the List object into an array of String by using the List‘s toArray() method.

Let’s see the code snippet below:

package org.kodejava.example.lang;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.List;

public class SplitStringForEveryNChar {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String text = "ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ";

        System.out.println(Arrays.toString(splitToNChar(text, 3)));
        System.out.println(Arrays.toString(splitToNChar(text, 4)));
        System.out.println(Arrays.toString(splitToNChar(text, 5)));
    }

    /**
     * Split text into n number of characters.
     *
     * @param text the text to be split.
     * @param size the split size.
     * @return an array of the split text.
     */
    private static String[] splitToNChar(String text, int size) {
        List<String> parts = new ArrayList<>();

        int length = text.length();
        for (int i = 0; i < length; i += size) {
            parts.add(text.substring(i, Math.min(length, i + size)));
        }
        return parts.toArray(new String[0]);
    }
}

When run the code snippet will output:

[ABC, DEF, GHI, JKL, MNO, PQR, STU, VWX, YZ]
[ABCD, EFGH, IJKL, MNOP, QRST, UVWX, YZ]
[ABCDE, FGHIJ, KLMNO, PQRST, UVWXY, Z]