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.

For questions about App Inventor,
please ask in the App Inventor community.Thank you.


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Thank you! Taifun

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