How to Take Screenshots on an Android-Based Phone

By James T Wood

If you want to show people how to do things on an Android phone, it's helpful to let them see exactly what they'll be viewing when they attempt the task themselves. Screenshots are a common way to show off the steps of a process. In order to capture screenshots from an Android phone, you'll need to download the Android Software Development Kit. In addition to having all the tools of an Android software developer at your fingertips for free, you'll also be able to snap shots of the screen while you're putting the Android phone through its paces.

Things You'll Need

  • USB cable

Step 1

Download the Android SDK from and download the Java SDK from Double-click on the Java SDK to begin installing the software. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process. Repeat the process for the Android SDK. When the installation is complete, allow the software to download all of the available software packages that go with the SDK. It will take several minutes for all of the files to download.

Step 2

Press the "Home" button then the "List" button on your Android phone. Tap "Settings" on the touchscreen, then press "Applications." Touch "Developer," then check "USB Debugging." Confirm that you want to turn on USB Debugging.

Step 3

Plug your Android phone into your computer with the USB cable. Wait for the computer to recognize the phone. Note that if the phone isn't recognized you will need to install the drivers from the phone's manufacturer. Visit the manufacturer's website and download the drivers before continuing.

Step 4

Open the folder where the Android SDK is installed. It typically installs to "C:\Program Files\Android\android-sdk\". Double-click on the "Tools" folder. Double-click "DDMS.BAT" to start the Dalvik Debug Monitor Service.

Step 5

Click the "Device" menu, then "Screen Capture" to grab an image of the current screen on your Android phone. Open a photo editing application, then press "Ctrl+V" to paste in the picture. Save the image. The next time you perform a screen capture it will wipe the previous one from your computer's clipboard. Paste and save the screenshots you want before you grab another screenshot.