Visual Studio

The Microsoft Visual Studio (Free) is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. Visual Studio includes a code editor supporting IntelliSense (the code completion component) as well as code refactoring.

Refer to the Visual Studio Documentation page for more detailed information.



Integration process consists of these steps:

  1. Open system Terminal and install PlatformIO Core (CLI)

  2. Create new folder for your project and change directory (cd) to it

  3. Generate a project using PlatformIO Core Project Generator (pio project init --ide)

  4. Import project in IDE.

Project Generator

Choose board ID using pio boards or Embedded Boards Explorer command and generate project via pio project init --ide command:

pio project init --ide visualstudio --board <ID>

# For example, generate project for Arduino UNO
pio project init --ide visualstudio --board uno


  1. Import this project via Menu: File > Open > Project/Solution and specify root directory where is located “platformio.ini” (Project Configuration File)

  2. Open source file from src directory (*.c, *.cpp, *.ino, etc.)

  3. Build project: Menu: Build > Build Solution.


The libraries which are added, installed or used in the project after generating process won’t be reflected in IDE. To fix it you need to reinitialize project using pio project init (repeat it).

Manual Integration

Setup New Project

First of all, let’s create new project from Visual Studio Start Page: Start > New Project or using Menu: File > New > Project, then select project with Makefile type (Visual C++ > General > Makefile Project), fill Project name, Solution name, Location fields and press OK button.


Secondly, we need to configure project with PlatformIO Build System:


If we want to use native AVR programming, we have to specify additional preprocessor symbol (“Preprocessor definitions” field) about your MCU. For example, an Arduino Uno is based on the ATmega328 MCU. In this case We will add new definition __AVR_ATmega328__.


Release Configuration is the same as Debug, so on the next step we check “Same as Debug Configuration” and click “Finish” button.


Thirdly, we need to add directories with header files using project properties (right click on the project name or Alt-Enter shortcut) and add two directories to Configuration Properties > NMake > Include Search Path:


First program in Visual Studio

Simple “Blink” project will consist from two files:

1. Main “C++” source file named main.cpp must be located in the src directory. Let’s create new file named main.cpp using Menu: File > New File or shortcut Ctrl+N:


Copy the source code which is described below to file main.cpp.

#include "Arduino.h"

void setup()
  pinMode(LED_BUILTIN, OUTPUT);  // set pin as output

void loop()
  digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, HIGH);  // set the LED on
  delay(1000);               // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(LED_BUILTIN, LOW);   // set the LED off
  delay(1000);               // wait for a second
  1. Project Configuration File named platformio.ini must be located in the project root directory.


Copy the source code which is described below to it.

; PlatformIO Project Configuration File
;   Build options: build flags, source filter, extra scripting
;   Upload options: custom port, speed and extra flags
;   Library options: dependencies, extra library storages
; Please visit documentation for the other options and examples

platform = atmelavr
framework = arduino
board = uno


Taking everything into account, we can build project with shortcut Ctrl+Shift+B or using Menu: Build > Build Solution.

Known issues

IntelliSense Errors

VS Studio does not allow one to specify for project other toolchain which will be used by IntelliSense. In this case, IntelliSense does not understand GCC-specific definitions.

However, these errors does not have any influence on PlatformIO Build System. It means that you can ignore them and rely on PlatformIO Build System messages which will be shown in output console after build.

Nevertheless, you can provide an IntelliSense-friendly definition of problematic GCC constructs and make sure that the GCC will ignore such definitions or disable IntelliSense error reporting at all. See details in issue #543