MPLAB® Xpress: Debugging

MPLABX® Xpress offers a subset of the debugging options that are offered in the full MPLAB X version. MPLAB Xpress offers the Debug Toolbar as shown on this page along with Breakpoints, Variables and Watch windows. These can be found in the main toolbar menu under Window.

Debugging: Controlling program execution, in either a simulator or debugger, with the explicit capability of observing and modifying memory contents. Debugging gives the user the ability to observe program execution and make the necessary changes to ensure proper operation.

To start a debug session
A Debug Session can be started by clicking on the Main_Debug_Project.png Debug Project Icon.

Four things will happen when a debug session has been initiated:

  1. The project will build
  2. MPLAB® X IDE will connect to the selected debug tool and download the built image
  3. The Debug Icons will appear on the Toolbar
  4. The application in the PIC® MCU will run according to the debug startup option

Debug Toolbar

ToolbarDivider.png Debug_Finish_Debugger_Session.png Debug_Pause.png Debug_Reset.gif Debug_Continue.png Debug_Step_Over.png Debug_Step_Into.png ToolbarDivider.png

The debug toolbar will not be visible when you first launch MPLAB Xpress IDE. It will appear automatically when you start a debug session.

Finish Debug Session

Ends the current debug session and closes the connection to the debug tool.


Performs processor reset.


Pauses the debugging operation without finishing the session. Debug windows such as memory views and watches will be updated to reflect the current state of the device.


Resumes debugging until the next breakpoint or the end of the program is reached.

Step Over

Executes one source line of the program. If the line is a function call, executes the entire function then stops.

Step Into

Executes one source line of the program. If the line is a function call, executes the program up to the function's first statement and stops.

 How to Debug a Project Video

This video shows how to Debug a project in MPLAB Xpress.

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