App Inventor and the Activity Starter

Picking files from the SD Card with App Inventor

Jo already found that out some months ago, see this thread: In this link of the reference documentation it shows us in the end How to: PICK FILES FROM THE SD CARD. It teaches us to use third party apps (AndExplorer), which for me has a lot of disadvantages. So after some experimenting I discovered this trick.

After Menno now contacted me using the same technique, I tested again and can now confirm that it really works! Precondition is, a file manager app is installed on your device, but any file manager should do it.

Thank you Jo and Menno!

This example picks a pdf file from your device and displays it with a pdf viewer. You can adjust the example to your needs and pick other file types, too, e.g. to use this technique as an alternative image picker or to pick a mp3 file, etc.

How it works:There are 2 activity starter used: ActivityStarterPick to pick a file using a file manager. In the ActivityStarterPick.ResultUri the path to the file is supplied. Then ActitiyStarterOpen opens another external app (pdf viewer) to display the pdf file.

Note: It has been reported by Marcello, that you do not get the the file name like \media\bong.png with ES File Explorer. You get a content uri like \media\4578 instead. You can use the GetFileName method from the File extension to convert a content uri into the path to the file.

App Inventor Blocks


I used File Manager from Rhyhm Software as example to pick a file here.


Tested successfully on Nexus 5 running Android 4.4.2.

Do you need help with your App Inventor project?

I can help you: for one hour I charge 25 USD.
Please contact me at info [at] puravidaapps [dot] com for details!
For questions about App Inventor, please use the App Inventor forum. Thank you.


If you find this example helpful and you are using it in one of your projects,
be nice and donate a small amount!

Donation amount:

or donate some mBTC to Bitcoin Address:

Thank you! Taifun

Download aia file for App Inventor
Back to top of page ...

Creative Commons License
This work by Pura Vida Apps is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
with attribution (name=Pura Vida Apps and link to the source site) required.

Home | Snippets | Tutorials | Extensions | News | Forums | Links | Search | Contact