The MPLAB® Xpress IDE shares many of the same features as the full featured MPLAB® X IDE. Here we have provided for you an interactive summary of the features in the Xpress IDE showing the five main sections to understand and use when developing a project.


Main Toolbar

The main toolbar is the primary method of accessing and building MPLAB® Xpress Projects


Click on an icon to jump to its description.

ToolbarDivider.png Main_New_File.png Main_New_Project.png Main_Open_Project.png Main_Save_All.png ToolbarDivider.png Main_Undo.png Main_Redo.png ToolbarDivider.png Main_Build_Project.png Main_Down_Arrow.png Main_Rebuild_Project.png Main_Down_Arrow.png Main_Program_Target_Project.png Main_Down_Arrow.png Main_Debug_Project.png ToolbarDivider.png Main_PC.png

New File

File ▶ New File…

Creates a new file with the New File wizard.

New Project

File ▶ New Project…

Creates a new project with the New Project wizard.

Open Project

File ▶ Open Project…

Opens an existing project.

Save All

File ▶ Save All

Saves all open files.


Edit ▶ Undo

Reverses (one at a time) a series of editor actions (except Save).


Edit ▶ Redo

Reverses a series of Undo commands one at a time.

Build Project

Run ▶ Build Project

Builds the project using the compiler/assembler selected in the Project Properties. The utility will build only the files in the project that have changed since the last build. Click on down arrow next to it for other related options.

Clean and Build Project

Run ▶ Clean and Build Project

Deletes files from previous builds and then builds the all project files. Click on down arrow next to it for other related options.

Make and Program Target Project

Builds the project and produces a .hex file that will either be downloaded to your computer (Xpress Board) or launches the MPLAB Xpress USB Bridge Tool (Curiosity Board) to programs the PIC® Microcontroller. Click on down arrow for other related options.

Debug Project

Debug ▶ Debug Project (Name)

Builds the project in debug mode (links in the debug executive), programs the target and runs the ­project on the target using the debugger selected in the project properties.

Main_PC.png Program Counter

Shows the current value of the Program Counter when a debug session is running. These may be visible even when a debug session is not active.


Project Window


When in the Project window you will be able to:

Add files to the project
Remove files from the project
Edit a project file
Modify the Projects properties including the

* MCU being used
* Compiler(and version) being used
* Debug Tool
* Project Configuration.


Project Dashboard


The Project Dashboard displays the current status of the project including memory usage, and debug information as well as other useful information.


Editor Window


Double clicking on a file from the Project Window launches the MPLAB® X Editor which opens the source file in the editor window.

The user enters the modifications directly in the window.

MPLAB® Xpress saves all modified files when the project is built. The user can also save any modified files directly by clicking the Save icon in the editor window toolbar.

For details on using the editor click here.


Output Window


When the user opens a window in order to observe the contents of the project, the window is opened as a tab in this window.

Examples of new windows opening in the output window include the Watches Window, Variables Window, and Debugger Console Window, among others.

During a project build the compiler displays the build status in the Output Window.


MCC (Microchip Code Configurator)

As you move forward in the IDE, you will also become familiar with Microchip's Code Configurator. You can use the Microchip Code Configurator Introduction on the wiki, or check out the video below for an overview of the IDE.

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