Each time we post a set of Android images on our Flickr account, I get several request to explain the process of capturing screens. I wrote a simple guide for using the Android app Screenshot, but it requires root access. If you are looking for a free, easy to use method that works on most operating systems, installing the Android SDK(software development kit) is the way to go.
Included with the Android SDK is a tool named Davlik Debug Monitor(DDMS). Once everything is installed properly, you can use DDMS to capture screens with a single click. When I installed the SDK on my pc running Windows XP, I had everything working in under 5 minutes. However, when I tried to get things working on Vista x64(idk why I’m running Vista) I ran into problems.
The following guide is for users running the 64-bit version of Windows Vista, but the same basic steps apply to different operating systems.
Part 1 – Ensure the Java Development Kit(JDK) is installed and working
Before we begin to install the Android SDK, we need to check if Java Development kit is properly setup.
- Open up a command prompt window (Shortcut: Windows key + R, then type: cmd)
- Type the following in the command prompt: java -version
- If a version number is returned, the JDK is working. Skip to Part 2.
If java is not a recognized command then complete the following steps:
- Visit the official Sun Java site http://java.sun.com/javase/downloads/index.jsp
- Download the latest Java SE Development Kit. Current version at the publish of this article is JDK 6 Update 14
- When prompted for platform at download, select Windows and not Windows x64
- Install the JDK when download is finished. Note the install location
- Right click on My Computer > Select Properties
- Go to the Advanced system settings > Find the Advanced tab and click Environmental Variables
- In the System variables window, scroll down to Path and click Edit
- At the end of the Variable value add the following path. Note a semicolon separates each path. ;C:Program Files (x86)Javajdk1.6.0_14bin
- Hit Ok and return to a command prompt
- Type “java -version” (minus quotes) and this time you should see the version returned.
Part 2 – Download and unpack the Android SDK
Complete the following steps to unpack the Android SDK(Software Development Kit).
- Visit the official Android developer site: http://developer.android.com/sdk/
- Download the latest SDK. Current version at publish is 1.5r2: Download SDK
- Follow the installation instructions: Installing the Android SDK
Part 3 – Launch Davlik Debug Monitor and begin capturing screens
After Java is working and the Android SDK is unpacked, you should be able to launch the Davlik Debug Monitor.
- Hook your phone to your PC via a USB cable
- If prompted to install drivers, search the SDK folder in “usb_drivers”
- Browse to the tools directory located in the Android SDK folder
- Locate the file ddms.bat and click to launch
- When Davlik Debug Monitor has loaded, find your device and click it
- Once device is selected, from the main menu pick Device > Screen Capture
- Preview the capture and then save it. All images are saved as .png files
If clicking ddms.bat fails to launch the application, try the following steps:
- Open up a command prompt and navigate to the Android SDK tools directory
- Type ddms.bat
- Look for any error messages that are present
Practice taking screenshots and share your results. If you run into problems, someone here probably had the same issues and can offer you help. Learn to take screenshots now, because our next contest will require you to share some with us.