Adding the Android SDK to PATH [Windows] [Tutorial]

The Android SDK (Software Developer Kit) is a set of tools that is automagically installed when you blindly follow tutorials on getting started with Android Development. Some of those tutorials include instructions on adding the SDK to your PATH, but others don’t. What is the PATH you might ask? Honestly, I’m really not sure. I believe whenever you call anything from anywhere in the shell, it checks your PATH directory first. That means, even if I’m in my pictures directory, I could call ADB commands. Anyway, those details are unimportant for the scope of this quick tutorial. Let’s get into it.

First things first, you need to have the Android SDK installed. I’m going to go ahead and assume you have gotten that far and that you’re running Android Studio.


1) To find out where the hell the SDK was automatically installed, open up the SDK manager. (In Android Studio, t’s the icon with the Android guy sticking out of a blue box with a black down arrow at the time of this writing)

2) The title of the window that pops up should be something very, very close to Android SDK Manager. If it doesn’t say that, I’m not sure where you’ve gone wrong. Maybe developing Android apps isn’t meant for you.

3) Under the title (Android SDK Manager) and the toolbar, you should see SDK Path: <path-name-here>, where path-name-here is the path on your machine of where the SDK is located. Take note of that path.

4) Open up the System Properties window by pressing the Windows key and typing “Edit System” and then pressing enter.

5) At the bottom of the window that pops up, you should see a button titled “Environment Variables” , click that button.

6) There should be two windows within the “Environment Variables” window. We are going to loook at the “System variables” window.

7) Scroll down until you find the Path (or PATH) variable. These should be in alphabetical order.

8) Double click Path (or PATH) and click in the Variable value box.

9) Press the “End” key on your keyboard to get all the way to the end of the input box.

10) Type a semicolon, and then type the path of the SDK you found from 3.

11) Click OK, OK, Apply, and you should be all good!

12) To test, open up a Command Line and type adb. If you get a help prompt about adb, you’re good. If you get something that says adb is not recognized, this tutorial hasn’t worked for you and I’m dearly sorry. Not quite sure what went wrong.