In developing softwares for PIC Microcontrollers, the first thing that should be done is to prepare the PIC’s development environment. Your PC should already be installed with the IDE used for compiling hex images of the software. And then a programmer or in-circuit emulator is already at hand to download the software image to the PIC microcontroller.

Here are the steps to setup a development environment for PIC Microcontroller using Microchip’s MPLABX IDE:

Download the MPLABX IDE from Microchip.com
1. Go to the download page of MPLABX IDE
2. On the bottom part of the page, select the Downloads tab.

3. Based on your operating system, download the appropriate installer.

Install MPLABX IDE

MPLABX IDE Installation Step 1
MPLABX IDE Installation Step 2
MPLABX IDE Installation Step 3
MPLABX IDE Installation Step 4
MPLABX IDE Installation Step 5
MPLABX IDE Installation in Progress
MPLABX IDE Installation Completed

Download MPLAB XC Compilers
1. Go to the MPLAB XC Compilers download page.
2. On the bottom page, select the downloads tab.

3. Depending on the PIC Microcontroller that you will be using for the development, select the compiler that you need. If it is an 8-bit PIC MCU then select XC8, if it is a 16-bit PIC MCU or dsPIC then select XC16. Lastly if it is a 32-bit PIC MCU, then go ahead and download the XC32. Or you can download and install the three compilers.

Install MPLAB XC Compilers
For the purpose of demonstration, MPLAB XC8 Compiler installation will be shown in this section. The installation for XC16 and XC32 will be closely the same.

MPLAB XC8 Compiler Installation Step 1
MPLABX XC8 Compiler Installation Step 2

We will only be using MPLAB XC8 Compiler’s Free License.

MPLAB XC8 Compiler Installation Step 3
MPLAB XC8 Compiler Installation Step 4
MPLAB XC8 Compiler Installation Step 5
MPLAB XC8 Compiler Installation Step 6
MPLAB XC8 Compiler Installation In Progress

Since we will be using the MPLAB XC Compiler’s free license, we can leave it as it is. However, if you have a license then go ahead and activate it in this step.

MPLAB XC8 Compiler Installation Licensing
MPLAB XC8 Compiler Installation Complete

Confirm the installed compilers in MPLABX IDE
To confirm that the MPLAB XC8 Compiler is installed successfully. Then we check it in MPLABX IDE.

Launch the MPLABX IDE

Go Tools → Options

Then in the Options Window, select Embedded. Under the toolchain box, we should see XC8 as the listed compiler.

Your PIC Development Environment is now ready for action!

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