The Arduino Integrated Development Environment (Arduino IDE) is the free software required to interact with your Arduino controller board, without the Arduino IDE you can’t program your Arduino microcontroller to do cool stuff like control a cool robot car.

Choose a device to install the Arduino IDE software on, in the example below I’ll be installing the software on a Desktop PC running Windows 7.

Download the Arduino IDE Software

Go to the Arduino IDE Download webpage & download the relevant version for your device.

The Arduino IDE software is available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.

Download the Arduino IDE

Download the Arduino IDE

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Since I’m installing on a Desktop PC running Windows 7 I downloaded the Windows Installer, for Windows XP and up with filename: arduino-1.8.5-windows.exe.

Install the Arduino IDE Software

Install the Arduino IDE software by running the downloaded file and follow the instructions. Installing the IDE software is like installing any software on a PC, lots of mouse clicking :-)

Install the Arduino IDE Software

Install the Arduino IDE Software

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Read the Arduino License agreement and click the “I Agree” button.

Arduino IDE Software Components

Arduino IDE Software Components

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Unless you have a reason to change them, keep all the Arduino IDE software components ticked and click the “Next” button.

Arduino IDE Software Folder

Arduino IDE Software Folder

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On the next window you can choose to change the folder where the Arduino IDE software is installed, or keep the default location and click the “Install” button.

The Arduino software will start to install.

Installing Arduino Device Drivers

Installing Arduino Device Drivers

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This can take sometime and you’ll be presented with various drivers to install including Arduino USB drivers and COM/LPT port drivers, I suggest you install them all.

When complete the Arduino IDE Software is ready to run.

Running the Arduino IDE Software

Arduino IDE Software Version 1.8.5

Arduino IDE Software Version 1.8.5

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Attach your Arduino Microcontroller board (I’m working with an Arduino UNO clone) to your device with a USB cable.

Arduino UNO Attached to a PC via USB Cable

Arduino UNO Attached to a PC via USB Cable

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After connecting the Arduino UNO via USB to a Desktop PC, the power light on the Arduino UNO will light up (the USB cable powers the UNO board, no need for a power supply) and you should get a “Found New Hardware” message from Windows.

Windows will attempt to install the Arduino Driver Software. Some Arduino tutorials recommend canceling Windows automatically installing the Arduino driver software and installing manually via the Device Manager. No idea why they recommend making the process more difficult?

Arduino Driver Software Installed Successfully on COM4

Arduino Driver Software Installed Successfully on COM4

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It took a while for Windows to install the driver for my UNO, but everything worked perfectly first time and the Arduino UNO was installed on COM4.

We are almost done.

Select the Correct COM Port

Although Windows has successfully installed the Arduino on COM4 (could be COM3 or another port) the Arduino IDE Software doesn’t automatically select the relevant serial port.

To select the correct port click “Tools”, hoverover ‘Port:”COM4 Arduino Genuino UNO”‘ and click “COM4 Arduino Genuino UNO”.

Port COM4 Arduino Genuino UNO

Port COM4 Arduino Genuino UNO

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That’s it, you’ve successfully installed the Arduino IDE Software.

Feel free to confirm everything is setup correctly by going to “Tools” > “Get Board Info”.

Arduino IDE Get Board Information

Arduino IDE Get Board Information

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The “Get Board Info” pop up will list information about your Arduino microcontroller board.

Arduino Genuino UNO Board Info

Arduino Genuino UNO Board Info

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The board info above shows it’s an Arduino/Genuino UNO which in simple terms means it’s an Arduino UNO.