Capturing screenshots and data from Garmin GPS devices

August 12, 2008 by Victor 

The market of navigational products is cluttered with a multitude of manufacturers, solutions, and products. Historically, Garmin came out as one of the most popular manufacturers of portable handheld GPS devices.

While industrial and military consumers tend to use high resolution frame grabbers in order to capture the screen from advanced GPS devices with VGA outputs, this is not an option for those users that have small personal GPS receivers.

There are several ways to capture the screen of a Garmin GPS device for free:

  1. Using xImage software supplied by Garmin. (last update in 2005)
  2. Using G7ToWin software developed by Ron Henderson. (last update in 2008)
  3. Using the DNR Garmin application written by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. (last update in 2008)

Due to the fact that there are a lot of different Garmin GPS models, not all software programs will work with all Garmin devices. The G7ToWin application also has limited functionality with Magellan GPS receivers. All of the software packages listed above are available as free downloads.


Installation of the xImage software is easy. Download the last release from here, launch the file, and follow the on-screen instructions. You can the launch the xImage application from the Garmin submenu in the Windows Start Menu. The GPS must then be connected via USB or serial port for the software to be able to locate it.

Follow these instructions in order to capture a screenshot from your Garmin GPS device. Remember that the GPS must be connected to the capturing computer at the time of the screen capture.

1. Connect your device to your computer.  Verify that you have selected the ‘Garmin’ I/O format on your GPS unit.  See your GPS unit’s owner’s manual for more information.

2. Open xImage and click Next.

3. After a few moments, your device should be listed in the Device Settings window.  If not, click Find Device.  xImage finds the connected device.  If you have multiple devices connected to your PC, select the desired device from the drop down list.

4. Click Next.

5. Select Get images from the GPS, then click Next.

6. Select ‘Screen Shot’ in the Image Type field.

7. Verify that the desired screen is currently displayed on your GPS.

8. Click Next.

9. Select the desired location on your PC, enter a file name for the screen shot, and click Save.  The screen shot is saved as a .bmp file on your PC.  xImage displays a preview of the screen shot.

10. Click Finish to close xImage.

NOTE: You can also click Back to return to a previous screen and perform additional tasks.


Download G7ToWin from here and install by following the prompts. Once the software is installed and your GPS device is connected, the G7ToWin software will bring you to a main screen that displays all of the waypoints saved in the GPS.

From here, the “Get and Show Display Bitmap” option must be selected from the GPS menu. This takes a screenshot of what is currently being shown on the GPS and saves it to the local hard drive. As well, the Ctrl+D keystroke combination may be pressed to grab the GPS’ screen at any time.

DNR Garmin

DNR Garmin may be downloaded from here. This application was created by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for their internal use, but the department also released the software to the public as a free download. This software is designed for power users and has many advanced functions.

Once the software is instalelled and the GPS receiver is synchronized with the DNR Garmin software, taking a screenshot is as easy as going to the GPS menu, and selecting “Garmin Screen Shot”. The program will then prompt you for a location of where to save the screenshot .bmp file.


xImage, G7ToWin, and DNR Garmin are all capable of saving the contents of the Garmin GPS’ screen to a BMP file on the computer the GPS is connected to, whether it be through a USB or serial port. Note that it is not possible to capture a screenshot of the GPS device when it is not connected to a computer on which one of these software packages is installed.

Using this software, there is also no way to automate the capture proccess or have the GPS screen’s output captured as a movie. This would be useful for archiving or creating instructional videos, for example. If real-time and automated screen capture is required, then a device with a VGA or DVI output coupled with one of these frame grabbers would allow the user to have that functionality.


5 Responses to “Capturing screenshots and data from Garmin GPS devices”

  1. John on July 15th, 2009 7:23 pm

    Thanks for this post about capturing Garmin screen data. I have a Mac and so far can’t find comparable software. What I really want is to capture a movie of the screen—which as you write above isn’t possible yet for the software you review. Any change in this? And if you have suggestions for a Mac user, I’d love to hear them. Thanks.


  2. Jen on August 12th, 2009 7:57 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this information!! I’ve been looking everywhere trying to find software to capture Garmin Venture HC GPS screen shots to use for training materials, this is one of the units that DNR garmin fails to screen capture.

  3. High Pressure Cleaner : on October 28th, 2010 11:07 am

    Garmin GPS are the best, i accidentally dropped one on the pool and it is still functioning after a minor cleanup;-’

  4. alfie_j on July 18th, 2012 8:50 pm

    I have a Garmin etrex 10 and I tried all 3 applications listed above but only xImage worked for me for screen shots.
    It’s very basic and only does one screen at a time but it will produce a bitmap file of whatever is displayed on the device screen.
    Just make sure you are in Garmin USB mode (Setup, System, USB Mode=Garmin) not Mass Storage.

  5. paul on August 27th, 2012 8:55 pm

    This information was very helpful but I too am looking for something to display realtime onto a computer for training purposes. Let me know if such an animal exists

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