IDF Frontend - idf.py
idf.py command-line tool provides a front-end for easily managing your project builds, deployment and debugging, and more.
It manages several tools, for example:
CMake, which configures the project to be built
Ninja which builds the project
esptool.py for flashing the target.
The getting started guide contains a brief introduction to how to set up
idf.py to configure, build, and flash projects.
idf.py should be run in an ESP-IDF “project” directory, i.e. one containing a
Older style projects with a
Makefile will not work with
Start a new project: create-project
idf.py create-project <project name>
This will create a new ESP-IDF project, additionally folder where the project will
be created can be specified by the
Create a new component: create-component
This command creates a new component, which will have a minimum set of files necessary for building.
idf.py create-component <component name>
-C option can be used to specify the directory the component will be
For more information about components see the build system page.
Select the Target Chip: set-target
ESP-IDF supports multiple targets (chips). A full list of supported targets in your version of ESP-IDF can be seen by running
This sets the current project target:
idf.py set-target <target>
idf.py set-target will clear the build directory and re-generate the
sdkconfig file from scratch. The old
sdkconfig file will be saved as
The behavior of
idf.py set-target command is equivalent to:
clearing the build directory (
removing the sdkconfig file (
mv sdkconfig sdkconfig.old)
configuring the project with the new target (
idf.py -DIDF_TARGET=esp32 reconfigure)
It is also possible to pass the desired
IDF_TARGET as an environment variable (e.g.
export IDF_TARGET=esp32s2) or as a CMake variable (e.g.
-DIDF_TARGET=esp32s2 argument to CMake or idf.py). Setting the environment variable is a convenient method if you mostly work with one type of the chip.
To specify the _default_ value of
IDF_TARGET for a given project, add
CONFIG_IDF_TARGET value to
sdkconfig.defaults. For example,
CONFIG_IDF_TARGET="esp32s2". This value will be used if
IDF_TARGET is not specified by other method: using an environment variable, CMake variable, or
idf.py set-target command.
If the target has not been set by any of these methods, the build system will default to
Build the project: build
Running this command will build the project found in the current directory. This can involve multiple steps:
Create the build directory if needed. The sub-directory
buildis used to hold build output, although this can be changed with the
Run CMake as necessary to configure the project and generate build files for the main build tool.
Run the main build tool (Ninja or GNU Make). By default, the build tool is automatically detected but it can be explicitly set by passing the
Building is incremental so if no source files or configuration has changed since the last build, nothing will be done.
Additionally, the command can be run with
partition-table arguments to build only the app, bootloader or partition table
Remove the build output: clean
It is possible to remove the project build output files from the build directory by using:
The project will be fully rebuilt on next build. Using this does not remove the CMake configuration output inside the build folder.
Delete the entire build contents: fullclean
Running this command will delete the entire “build” directory contents. This includes all CMake configuration output. The next time the project is built, CMake will configure it from scratch. Note that this option recursively deletes all files in the build directory, so use with care. Project configuration is not deleted.
Flash the project: flash
Running the following command:
will automatically build the project if necessary, and then flash it to the target.
You can use
-b options to set serial port name and flasher baud rate, respectively.
The environment variables
ESPBAUD can be used to set default values for the
-b options, respectively. Providing these options on the command line overrides the default.
Similarly to the
build command, the command can be run with
partition-table arguments to flash only the app, bootloader
or partition table as applicable.
idf.py commands can be combined into one. For example,
idf.py -p COM4 clean flash monitor will clean the source tree, then build the project and flash it to the target before running the serial monitor.
The order of multiple
idf.py commands on the same invocation is not important, they will automatically be executed in the correct order for everything to take effect (i.e. building before flashing, erasing before flashing, etc.).
For commands that are not known to
idf.py an attempt to execute them as a build system target will be made.
idf.py supports shell autocompletion for bash, zsh and fish shells.
To enable autocompletion for
idf.py use the
export command (see this). Autocompletion is initiated by pressing the TAB key. Type
idf.py - and press the TAB key to autocomplete options.
The autocomplete support for PowerShell is planned in the future.
Open the documentation: docs
Using the following command the documentation for the projects target and version will be opened in the browser:
Show size: size
Will print app size information including occupied RAM and FLASH and section sizes.
Similarly, this will print the same information for each component used in the project.
Will print size information per source file in the project.
If you define variable
-DOUTPUT_JSON=1 when running CMake (or
idf.py), the output will be formatted as JSON not as human readable text. See
idf.py-size for more information.
Reconfigure the project: reconfigure
This command re-runs CMake even if it doesn’t seem to need re-running.
This isn’t necessary during normal usage, but can be useful after adding/removing
files from the source tree, or when modifying CMake cache variables.
idf.py -DNAME='VALUE' reconfigure can be used to set variable
NAME in CMake cache to value
Clean the python byte code: python-clean
Generated python byte code can be deleted from the IDF directory using:
The byte code may cause issues when switching between IDF and Python versions. It is advised to run this target after switching versions of Python.
To list all available root level options, run
idf.py --help. To list options that are specific for a subcommand, run
idf.py <command> --help, for example
idf.py monitor --help. Here is a list of some useful options:
-C <dir>allows overriding the project directory from the default current working directory.
-B <dir>allows overriding the build directory from the default
buildsubdirectory of the project directory.
Note that some older versions of CCache may exhibit bugs on some platforms, so if files are not rebuilt as expected then try disabling CCache and build again. CCache can be enabled by default by setting the
IDF_CCACHE_ENABLE environment variable to a non-zero value.
-vflag causes both
idf.pyand the build system to produce verbose build output. This can be useful for debugging build problems.
-w) will cause CMake to print uninitialized variable warnings found in the project directory only. This only controls CMake variable warnings inside CMake itself, not other types of build warnings. This option can also be set permanently by setting the
IDF_CMAKE_WARN_UNINITIALIZEDenvironment variable to a non-zero value.