Arduino as an ESP-IDF component


You can use the Arduino framework as an ESP-IDF component. This allows you to use the Arduino framework in your ESP-IDF projects with the full flexibility of the ESP-IDF.

This method is recommended for advanced users. To use this method, you will need to have the ESP-IDF toolchain installed.

For a simplified method, see Installing using Boards Manager.

If you plan to use these modified settings multiple times, for different projects and targets, you can recompile the Arduino core with the new settings using the Arduino Static Library Builder. For more information, see the Lib Builder documentation.


Latest Arduino Core ESP32 version (3.0.X) is now compatible with ESP-IDF v5.1. Please consider this compatibility when using Arduino as a component in ESP-IDF.

For easiest use of Arduino framework as a ESP-IDF component, you can use the IDF Component Manager to add the Arduino component to your project. This will automatically clone the repository and its submodules. You can find the Arduino component in the ESP Registry together with dependencies list and examples.


  1. Download and install ESP-IDF.

Installing using IDF Component Manager

To add the Arduino component to your project using the IDF Component Manager, run the following command in your project directory: add-dependency "espressif/arduino-esp32^3.0.2"

Or you can start a new project from a template with the Arduino component: create-project-from-example "espressif/arduino-esp32^3.0.2:hello_world"

Manual installation of Arduino framework

  1. Create a blank ESP-IDF project (use sample_project from /examples/get-started) or choose one of the examples.

  2. In the project folder, create a new folder called components and clone this repository inside the newly created folder.

mkdir -p components && \
cd components && \
git clone arduino && \
cd arduino && \
git submodule update --init --recursive && \
cd ../.. && \ menuconfig


If you use Arduino with ESP-IDF often, you can place the arduino folder into global components folder.

If you’re targeting the ESP32-S2 or ESP32-S3 and you want to use USBHID classes such as USBHID, USBHIDConsumerControl, USBHIDGamepad, USBHIDKeyboard, USBHIDMouse, USBHIDSystemControl, or USBHIDVendor:

  1. Clone these nested repos somewhere:

git clone esp32-arduino-lib-builder && \
git clone esp32-arduino-lib-builder/components/arduino_tinyusb/tinyusb
  1. In the project folder, edit CMakeLists.txt and add the following before the project() line:

set(EXTRA_COMPONENT_DIRS <path to esp32-arduino-lib-builder/components/arduino_tinyusb>)


Depending on one of the two following options, in the menuconfig set the appropriate settings.

Go to the section Arduino Configuration --->

  1. For usage of app_main() function - Turn off Autostart Arduino setup and loop on boot

  2. For usage of setup() and loop() functions - Turn on Autostart Arduino setup and loop on boot

Experienced users can explore other options in the Arduino section.

After the setup you can save and exit:

  • Save [S]

  • Confirm default filename [Enter]

  • Close confirmation window [Enter] or [Space] or [Esc]

  • Quit [Q]

As the Arduino libraries use C++ features, you will need to swap some file extensions from .c to .cpp:

  • In main folder rename file main.c to main.cpp.

  • In main folder open file CMakeLists.txt and change main.c to main.cpp as described below.

Option 1. Using Arduino setup() and loop()

Your main.cpp should be formatted like any other sketch. Don’t forget to include Arduino.h.

//file: main.cpp
#include "Arduino.h"

void setup(){
    ; // wait for serial port to connect

void loop(){

Option 2. Using ESP-IDF appmain()

In main.cpp you need to implement app_main() and call initArduino(); in it.

Keep in mind that setup() and loop() will not be called in this case. Furthermore the app_main() is single execution as a normal function so if you need an infinite loop as in Arduino place it there.

//file: main.cpp
#include "Arduino.h"

extern "C" void app_main()

  // Arduino-like setup()
    ; // wait for serial port to connect

  // Arduino-like loop()

  // WARNING: if program reaches end of function app_main() the MCU will restart.

Build, flash and monitor

  • For both options use command -p <your-board-serial-port> flash monitor

  • The project will build, upload and open the serial monitor to your board

    • Some boards require button combo press on the board: press-and-hold Boot button + press-and-release RST button, release Boot button

    • After a successful flash, you may need to press the RST button again

    • To terminate the serial monitor press Ctrl + ]

Logging To Serial

If you are writing code that does not require Arduino to compile and you want your ESP_LOGx macros to work in Arduino IDE, you can enable the compatibility by adding the following lines:

#include "esp32-hal-log.h"

FreeRTOS Tick Rate (Hz)

The Arduino component requires the FreeRTOS tick rate CONFIG_FREERTOS_HZ set to 1000Hz in make menuconfig -> Component config -> FreeRTOS -> Tick rate.

Compilation Errors

As commits are made to esp-idf and submodules, the codebases can develop incompatibilities that cause compilation errors. If you have problems compiling, follow the instructions in Issue #1142 to roll esp-idf back to a different version.

Adding arduino library

There are few approaches:

  1. Add global library to components/arduino-esp32/libraries/new_library

  2. Add local project library to examples/your_project/main/libraries/new_library

1 Adding global library

Download the library:

cd ~/esp/esp-idf/components/arduino/
git clone --recursive libraries/new_library

Edit file components/arduino-esp32/CMakeLists.txt

Get the source file list with shell command:

find libraries/new_library/src/ -name '*.c' -o -name '*.cpp'

Locate block which starts with set(LIBRARY_SRCS and copy the list there. Now it should look something like this:


After this add the library path to block which starts with set(includedirs. It should look like this:


2 Adding local library

Download the library:

cd ~/esp/esp-idf/examples/your_project
mkdir components
git clone --recursive components/new_library

Create new CMakeists.txt in the library folder: components/new_library/CMakeLists.txt

idf_component_register(SRCS "new_library.cpp" "another_source.c"
                      INCLUDE_DIRS "."
                      REQUIRES arduino-esp32

You can read more about CMakeLists in the IDF documentation regarding the Build System


If you want to use arduino-esp32 both as an ESP-IDF component and with Arduino IDE you can simply create a symlink:

ln -s ~/Arduino/hardware/espressif/esp32  ~/esp/esp-idf/components/arduino-esp32

This will allow you to install new libraries as usual with Arduino IDE. To use them with IDF component, use -e ~/Arduino/libraries/New_lib