What IDE Should I use?

Dear Arduino Forum,

I am completely new to Arduino and programming. I still have not loaded the IDE for it yet due to confusion about which one to use. I think I have read all of the information I could get on the IDEs (at least what I could find on the internet/Google), and I exhausted all my resources (as described at http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php/topic,148850.0.html), and I still do not know which one would be preferable and easiest for me to use…

Here’s some information you might need to help me…

I have an “Arduino UNO Rev3 Ultimate Starter Kit”,
I am using “Windows Vista Home Premium SP2 (32-bit)”.

I have downloaded:the following IDEs:
(1) Windows Installer (from http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software)
(2) Windows (ZIP File), (from http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Software)
(3) setup_Arduino_ERW_1.0.5_20130524 (from http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=118440.0)

I have attached a screenshot of the files listed above in their native (Windows Installer) and the others in their zipped/unzipped forms. At first I thought I would use the Windows Installer (as I thought it might be the easiest to use), but then changed my mind because the instructions found at http://arduino.cc/en/Guide/Windows#toc2 didn’t address the Windows Installer. Do you see my predicament?

I could really use some help on this one and want to thank you in advance for your assistance in this matter.


Dennis Primm 8)

Hello and welcome,

The (3) is the one I recommend for beginners.

(1) and (2) are the same thing, and (3) is very similar but with some useful features added.

There are some other options, for example using Visual Studio and this: http://visualstudiogallery.msdn.microsoft.com/aff7d8be-02a2-4afb-b5c9-3c32e89825e5

But requires VS Pro...

I don't use Windows so I don't have any direct opinion on your options.

However, if you are new to Arduino it would be good to use the same IDE as everyone else because that means it will be easier to get help if you run into a problem. I think that implies options 1 or 2.

Presumably you could install 1 or 2 AND 3 so that you can get the experience.

Another option is to use the standard IDE for compiling (verifying) and uploading sketches but use an external editor to do the editing. There is an option for this in preferences. It means that if you edit a sketch in the external editor and save your changes your IDE will use that latest version when it compiles and uploads.


Dear guix and Robin2,

I want to thank you both for your replies.

Since I’m so new at this and item number 3 seems to be way above my head (since the detailed instructions for usage that I found seems to complex for me to understand), then I think I’m going to load item number 1 - Windows Installer, and run with it. Hopefully I’ll be able to figure things out with item number 1 and then when I get accustomed to it, then I can try out item numbers 2 or 3.

Also, I have one other question that may or may not be for this forum, but… Can you tell me how to respond to the folks that post replies to me individually? The reason I ask is that I wanted to respond to “guix’s” reply, but since two (2) replies/responses were made to me before I could respond to the first reply I found that the “Post Reply” button was below “Robin2’s” reply to me, so I am assuming that my response/reply will go under “Robin2’s” reply to me. I hope I haven’t confused you with this question! :slight_smile:

Again, thank you both for your assistance into these matters.


Dennis 8)

Convention is to start your replies thusly:

@guix, Thanks, that worked.

@Robin2, That didn't seem to work.


You could also quote items back

Also, I have one other question that may or may not be for this forum, but…

Not sure which button adds [ quote ] and [ /quote ] (withou the spaces), I just type them in. Same for img & /img, code and /code


Thank you for your help!



Dennis_Primm: Dear Arduino Forum,

I am completely new to Arduino and programming. .........Do you see my predicament?

I don't know why you are asking the question. Since you are new to Arduino, what you do is the bleeding obvious - follow Arduino's instructions and use their IDE, just like everybody else does. I don't see your predicament. If you feel you have one, the first thing to to do is, as usual, to question why nobody else does. It is probably a matter of simply misreading the instructions, a mistake you will only make once and then everything will be fine. In short, a minor glitch.

I recognise Arduino's IDE is a bit quirky and some of the heavyweights around here are quite disdainful about it, but it does work and I don't understand what they are talking about, so I can't see the point of doing it any other way.

I submit the time to use a different IDE is after you have used the official IDE, and found good reasons not to.

I still use the IDE exclusively, creating some pretty interesting programs.