Include libraries as separate tab in Arduino IDE

Not sure if this is possible with current IDE (if it is please show me how) but I am finding that more frequently than not I need to refer to the libraries I've included in my Arduino code.

At the moment these do not load into the Arduino IDE, which is great as a default, so I have to use an alternative editor to view which is a hassle.

Would it not be helpful if under the new tab icon on the right hand side of menu bar I could have an option that "shows libraries in a new tab" which can be turned on or off and is read only (or if possible have an editable option).



, so I have to use an alternative editor to view which is a hassle.

Use the alternative editor for everything and it stops being the alternative. I use the Geany editor.


Actually in many way having the files open in another package is better than in a tab in the IDE because in a separate program you can easily flip between them with the keyboard (ALT-TAB), I find that's often easier than clicking a tab with the mouse.

But the BEST option is an editor that allows split screens so you can see 2 (or even 3) programs at the same time, this does need a large screen though.

Eventually when the IDE gets real debug capability, the editor will need to show library code if it's going to allow you to see where your program stopped (assuming it's stuck in a lib) and to step through the code, set breakpoints, view variable values, etc.

Not really what you're looking for but it is possible to open and edit some libraries in the Arduino IDE. For example if the library is named FooLib:

  • Create the file FooLib/FooLib.ino
  • Create the file FooLib/.development
  • Create a FooLib/ file if it doesn't exist
  • Restart the Arduino IDE if it's running
  • Open the file FooLib/FooLib.ino

The reason for the .development file is that the IDE treats all files in a libraries folder as read-only unless that file is present. This feature was added a year ago so any IDE version older than that won't work.

This won't work if the library has subfolders like src. That hasn't been a problem for me because I put the source files in the root for backwards compatibility with IDE 1.0.x, though at this point there probably aren't many people using such old IDE versions. I use the FooLib.ino file for to-do lists and notes. I actually have my system set up so I can edit the keywords.txt, and files in the IDE also as .ino files that are copied to the correct file names and the block comment operators removed from the first and last lines of the file and whenever they're modified.

The reason I do this is so I can have a consistent editor interface to work with instead of switching back and forth between two different applications. I like to use the Arduino IDE's editor so I can spot bugs and report them to the developers. I do prefer to use notepad++ for non-Arduino coding. The stupid automatic bracket feature they added and the broken code folding is making me seriously consider switching from using the IDE editor. I did recently get notepad++ set up to do Arduino style Auto Format using AStyle. After that the only thing I can think of missing from notepad++ is library keywords.txt handling which kind of sucks in the IDE anyway.

Strikes me that would be just a waste of some programmer's time. For the market it is aimed at the added complexity would not be a benefit to the user IMHO. Less is more!