Add images to your Android Project

Android Layouts: 1 2 3 4 5 6

We're now going to add a picture to Android Studio. This picture will be used in an Image View.

First, download this picture: (Right click and select Save Image As.)

Picture of Tower Bridge

Save it to your own computer and remember where you saved it to.

We need to import this picture into the res > drawable folder. Open up your Project Explorer again by clicking its tab:

Close the Project window in Android Studio

Now expand the res item and locate the drawable folder:

The Android drawable folder

Right click the drawable folder, and select Show in Explorer from the menu:

Menu with Show in Explorer highlighted

This will open a window showing a list of folders. The image below is from Windows 10:

Windows Explorer showing a list of Android folders

All of these folders are from your res directory. (The mipmap ones are used mainly for icons. You can create them in different sizes. We'll do this much later in the course.)

What you need to do is to copy and paste your image from where you saved it on your computer into the drawable folder (we're assuming you know how to copy and paste files from one folder to another):

An image copied to the drawable folder of Android Studio

Now go back to Android Studio and you should see it there:

An image copied to res > drawable

We can now use this image in our app.

Go back to your blueprint. Locate the Image View control in the Palette, which is under Images:

The ImageView widget in the Palette

Drag an Image View to just below your Text View. As soon as you do, you should the following dialogue box appear:

The Resources dialogue box

Select the bridge image and click OK. Your blueprint will then look like this:

Android Studio layout showing an ImageView on a Blueprint

As you can see, the Image View has ended up in the top left. We don't want it there.

With the Image View selected, click anywhere inside of it with your left mouse button. Keep the left mouse button held down and drag it below the Text View:

ImageView repositioned

(You won't be able to see the image itself in Blueprint View.)

Now we'll add a Constraint. We want to connect the top middle circle of the Image View to the bottom middle circle of the Text View. Hold your mouse over the top middle circle of the Image View. It will turn green. Now hold your left mouse button down. Keep it held down and drag to the bottom middle circle of the Text View:

Dragging from one Constraint Anchor to another

You should see a blue arrow connecting the two:

A Constraint added using Android  Studio

Now add a constraint from the left of the Image View to the left edge of the screen, just like you did for the Text View. Likewise, connect the right edge of the Image View to the right edge of the screen. Your blueprint will then look like this:

Adding left and right constraints

It can be a little bit fiddly, so don't forget you can undo with CTRL + Z.

If you have a look at the properties area again, you may be wondering what all those lines are for:

The ImageView Properties area

The straight lines indicate which sides of your view are constrained, and to where. They also tell you the size of the margins, 8 in the image above. Hold your mouse over one of the lines and you'll see a dropdown list. You can change your margins from here:

Changing the margins via the Properties area

The other lines to be aware of are the ones inside the square, pointy arrows in the image above. There are three different settings here:

Wrap Contents
Match constraints

Click the arrows to see what they do. Watch what happens to the Image View when you click a set of arrows. In the image below, we've set the arrows to Fixed:

A Fixed constraint

The arrows have turned into straight lines. Notice that layout_width value has changed to 200dp. It has changed to 200 because that was the width of the image we used. Notice that the Image View hasn't changed its size. But move the horizontal slider from 50 to something else. Watch what happens to your Image View in the blueprint.

Click the straight lines inside the square to see the third of the settings, Match Constraints:

The Match Constraints setting

Notice that image has now stretched to the margins of the screen. Notice, too, that the layout_width has been reset to zero. Click again, though, to go back to Wrap Contents.


In the next lesson, you'll learn about a different type of layout - LinearLayout.