Making screenshots from an Android device

This will be just a short blog post because there is just not a lot of clear information available about just some practical stuff.

How to make a screenshot of an Android device.

  1. Download and install the Android sdk which can be found here
  2. Once installed navigate to the folder: C:\android-sdk-windows\tools (it might be another folder, this is my installed location)
  3. Find the file ddms.bat and double click it to run the batch file.

This batch file will open the Dalvik Debug Monitor application:

This application is able to create screenshots. Right now there is nothing to see, just because no device is linked to the system.

Just grab a usb cable and connect your device to your system:

There is just a single important setting you must not forget to set. This is a setting on your phone to allow the phone to sort of expose the debug and logging information. This information can be viewed using the Dalvik Debug monitor.
This setting can be found on your device. Open the Settings > Applications > Development > check USB debugging.

Once you have checked the USB debugging preference, you will notice ‘some’ information is entering the DDM:

What you see here is actually quite interesting. All processes information and log data from all applications is written to the log output. But that is not the reason of this blogpost.
Once you see all this data running, it means your device is properly set and you can grab screens from your device. How?
Select your device in the window at the top left(your device will be shown as a bunch of numbers) just hit Ctrl + s to ‘save’ the screen. Make sure your device is not sleeping, otherwise your grab will be black also ;-). Another way is to click ‘Device’ on the menu and select ‘Screen capture…’

Running this action will open the ‘Device screen capture’ window.

On top of the screen you will find actions to save the screenshot, rotate it or copy it to paste it somewhere else. You can leave this window open all the time, just change the screen on the device, open another app and just hit the ‘Refresh’ button in this window. The most actual screen will be grabbed.

Pretty easy!

Logcat info

Just a tip for Android users from a developers point of view, sometimes it’s very hard to understand issues on the client’s phone. There are just a lot of variables which may cause the app isn’t working correctly. What can help is to send the log from ‘Logcat’ to the developer. The developer can track possible issues in this window if the app has proper logs set.
To see create a log, select your device in DDMS, select ‘Device’ on the menu bar and select ‘Run logcat’. A new window will open with lots of data. If you are interested in this data, you can check if by yourself, try to find the applications name in the log and maybe the cause of the problem might be exposed. You can send this information to the developer.


I'm a webdeveloper, looking for the best experience, working between development and design. Just a creative programmer. When I'm getting tired of programming C#, i'd love to create 3D images in 3D Studio Max, play the guitar, create an app for Android or crush some plastics on a climbing wall or try to stay alive when i´m descending some nice white powdered snowy mountains on my snowboard.

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