Arduino Makefile Save

Makefile for Arduino sketches. It defines the workflows for compiling code, flashing it to Arduino and even communicating through Serial.

Project README

A Makefile for Arduino Sketches Build Status

This is a very simple Makefile which knows how to build Arduino sketches. It defines entire workflows for compiling code, flashing it to Arduino and even communicating through Serial monitor. You don't need to change anything in the Arduino sketches.


  • Very robust
  • Highly customizable
  • Supports all official AVR-based Arduino boards
  • Supports official ARM-based Arduino boards using Atmel SAM chip family and includes on-device debugging targets.
  • Supports chipKIT
  • Supports Teensy 3.x (via Teensyduino)
  • Supports Robotis OpenCR 1.0
  • Works on all three major OS (Mac, Linux, Windows)
  • Auto detects serial baud rate and libraries used
  • Support for *.ino and *.pde sketches as well as raw *.c and *.cpp
  • Support for Arduino Software versions 0.x, 1.0.x, 1.5.x and 1.6.x except 1.6.2. We recommend 1.6.3 or above version of Arduino IDE.
  • Automatic dependency tracking. Referred libraries are automatically included in the build process. Changes in *.h files lead to recompilation of sources which include them


Through package

Using apt-get (or aptitude)

If you're using FreeBSD, Debian, Raspbian or Ubuntu, you can find this in the arduino-mk package which can be installed using apt-get or aptitude.

sudo apt-get install arduino-mk

homebrew (or linuxbrew)

If you're using homebrew (or linuxbrew) then you can find this in the arduino-mk package which can be installed using the following commands.

Also make sure you have the necessary dependencies installed. Refer to the Requirements section below to install the dependencies.

# add tap
$ brew tap sudar/arduino-mk

# to install the last stable release
$ brew install arduino-mk

# to install the development version
$ brew install --HEAD arduino-mk

Arch Linux

Arch Linux users can use the unofficial AUR package arduino-mk. It can be installed with [AUR] helper using the following command.

yay -S arduino-mk


Fedora Linux users can use our packaging instructions here to build an RPM.

From source

  • Download the latest release
  • Or clone it from Github using the command git clone [email protected]:sudar/Arduino-Makefile.git
  • Check the usage section in this readme about setting usage options


Arduino IDE

You need to have the Arduino IDE. You can either install it through the installer or download the distribution zip file and extract it.


The Makefile also delegates resetting the board to a short Python program. You'll need to install pySerial to use it though.

On most systems you should be able to install it using either pip3 or easy_install3.

pip3 install pyserial

# or if you prefer easy_install

easy_install3 -U pyserial

If you prefer to install it as a package, then you can do that as well.

On Debian or Ubuntu:

apt-get install python3-serial

On Fedora:

dnf install python3-pyserial

On openSUSE:

zypper install python3-serial

On Arch:

sudo pacman -S python-pyserial

On macOS using Homebrew (one can install to System Python but this is not recommend or good practice):

brew install python
pip3 install pyserial

On Windows:

You need to install Cygwin and its packages for Make, Perl, Python3 and the following Serial library.

Assuming you included Python in your Cygwin installation:

  1. download PySerial source package from
  2. extract downloaded package running tar xvzf dowloaded_package_name.tar.gz
  3. navigate to extracted package folder
  4. build and install Python module:
python3 build
python3 install

Alternatively, if you have setup Cygwin to use a Windows Python installation, simply install using pip:

pip3 install pyserial

Arduino-Makefile should automatically detect the Python installation type and use the correct device port binding.


Download a copy of this repo somewhere to your system or install it through a package by following the above installation instruction.

Sample makefiles are provided in the examples/ directory. E.g. Makefile-example demonstrates some of the more advanced options, whilst Blink demonstrates the minimal settings required for various boards like the Uno, Nano, Mega, Teensy, ATtiny etc.


On the Mac with IDE 1.0 you might want to set:

    ARDUINO_DIR   = /Applications/
    ARDMK_DIR     = /usr/local
    AVR_TOOLS_DIR = /usr
    MONITOR_PORT  = /dev/ttyACM0
    BOARD_TAG     = mega2560

On the Mac with IDE 1.5+ it's like above but with

    ARDUINO_DIR   = /Applications/


You can either declare following variables in your project's makefile or set them as environmental variables.

    ARDUINO_DIR – Directory where Arduino is installed
    ARDMK_DIR – Directory where you have copied the makefile
    AVR_TOOLS_DIR – Directory where avr tools are installed

Keep in mind, that Arduino 1.5.x+ comes with it's own copy of avr tools which you can leverage in your build process here.

Example of ~/.bashrc file:

    export ARDUINO_DIR=/home/sudar/apps/arduino-1.0.5
    export ARDMK_DIR=/home/sudar/Dropbox/code/Arduino-Makefile
    export AVR_TOOLS_DIR=/usr/include

Example of the project's make file:

    BOARD_TAG     = mega2560
    MONITOR_PORT  = /dev/ttyACM0


On Windows (using Cygwin), you might want to set:

    # Symbolic link to Arduino installation directory - see below
    ARDUINO_DIR   = C:/Arduino
    ARDMK_DIR     = path/to/mkfile
    MONITOR_PORT  = com3
    BOARD_TAG     = mega2560

NOTE: Use forward slash not backslash and there should be no spaces or special characters in the Windows paths (due to Win/Unix crossover). The paths should not be cygdrive paths.

On Windows (using MSYS and PuTTY), you might want to set the following extra parameters:

    MONITOR_CMD   = putty
    MONITOR_PARAMS = 8,1,n,N

On Arduino 1.5+ installs, you should set the architecture to either avr or sam and if using a submenu CPU type, then also set that:

    BOARD_TAG     = atmegang
    BOARD_SUB     = atmega168

It is recommended in Windows that you create a symbolic link to avoid problems with file naming conventions on Windows; unless one installs to a non-default location. For example, if your your Arduino directory is in:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino

You will get problems with the special characters on the directory name. More details about this can be found in issue #94

To create a symbolic link, you can use the command “mklink” on Windows, e.g.

mklink /d C:\Arduino C:\Program Files (x86)\Arduino

Alternatively if you've setup Cygwin hard symbolic links (CYGWIN=winsymlinks:native):

ln -s /cygdrive/c/Program Files\ \(x86\)/Arduino/ C:/Arduino

After which, the variables should be:


Instead of:

    ARDUINO_DIR=C:/Program\ Files\ \(x86\)/Arduino

Useful Variables

The list of all variables that can be overridden is available at file.

  • BOARD_TAG - Type of board, for a list see boards.txt or make show_boards
  • MONITOR_PORT - The port where your Arduino is plugged in, usually /dev/ttyACM0 or /dev/ttyUSB0 in Linux or Mac OS X and com3, com4, etc. in Windows.
  • ARDUINO_DIR - Path to Arduino installation. Using Windows with Cygwin, this path must use Unix / and not Windows \ (eg "C:/Arduino" not "C:\Arduino).
  • ARDMK_DIR - Path where the *.mk are present. If you installed the package, then it is usually /usr/share/arduino. On Windows, this should be a path without spaces and no special characters, it can be a cygdrive path if necessary and must use / not \.
  • AVR_TOOLS_DIR - Path where the avr tools chain binaries are present. If you are going to use the binaries that came with Arduino installation, then you don't have to set it. Otherwise set it relative and not absolute.

Including Libraries

You can specify space separated list of libraries that are needed for your sketch in the variable ARDUINO_LIBS.

	ARDUINO_LIBS = Wire SoftwareSerial

The libraries will be searched for in the following places in the following order.

  • /libraries directory inside your sketchbook directory. Sketchbook directory will be auto detected from your Arduino preference file. You can also manually set it through ARDUINO_SKETCHBOOK.
  • /libraries directory inside your Arduino directory, which is read from ARDUINO_DIR.

The libraries inside user directories will take precedence over libraries present in Arduino core directory.

The makefile can autodetect the libraries that are included from your sketch and can include them automatically. But it can't detect libraries that are included from other libraries. (see issue #93)


To upload compiled files, avrdude is used. This Makefile tries to find avrdude and its config (avrdude.conf) below ARDUINO_DIR. If you like to use the one installed on your system instead of the one which came with Arduino, you can try to set the variables AVRDUDE and AVRDUDE_CONF. On a typical Linux system these could be set to

      AVRDUDE      = /usr/bin/avrdude
      AVRDUDE_CONF = /etc/avrdude.conf

Teensy 3.x

For Teensy 3.x support you must first install Teensyduino.

See examples/BlinkTeensy for example usage.

Robotis OpenCM

For Robotis OpenCM support you must first install the OpenCM IDE

See examples/BlinkOpenCM for example usage.

For large Robotis projects, libmaple may be more appropriate, as the OpenCM IDE uses a very old compiler release.

Arduino ARM Boards

For Arduino boards using ARM architechure, specifically the Atmel SAM series ((SAM3X8E) Due; (SAMD21) Arduino M0 [Pro], Zero, MKR1000, Feather M0, etc.), first install the board support package from the IDE or other distribution channels.

DefineARDUINO_PACKAGE_DIR as the root path containing the ARM support package (the manufacturer folder) and the BOARD_TAG (see make show_boards for help) within your project Makefile. Include '' rather than '' at the end of your file - see examples/ZeroBlink, examples/MZeroBlink and examples/DueBlink for example usage.

Note: The Arduino IDE does not install board support packages to the base Arduino installation directory (the directory that will work with AVR Makefiles). They are generally installed to a '.arduino15/packages' folder in the users home directory. This is the reason for the new ARDUINO_PACKAGE_DIR define. On Windows, the package directory is often in the user home directory so advice is to create a symblic link to avoid slash/space in path problems. You can also manually install support packages in your Sketchbook 'hardware' folder, then define ARDUINO_PACKAGE_DIR as this path.

If using a SAM board from a manufacturer other than Arduino, one must still install the Arduino board support as above (unless using externally defined toolchain) and then define the location of the manufacturer board support core using the ALTERNATIVE_CORE_PATH define. For example: ALTERNATE_CORE_PATH = $(ARDUINO_SKETCHBOOK)/hardware/sparkfun/samd

The programing method will auto-detect based on the BOARD_TAG settings read from boards.txt:

Programming using OpenOCD CMSIS-DAP with the Programming/debug USB is currently supported (the same method used by the IDE), including burning bootloaders. External CMSIS tools such as Atmel Ice will also work with this method. Black Magic Probe (BMP) support is also included using GDB for both uploading and debugging.

Native USB programing using Bossa (Due, Zero, MKR1000, Feather style bootloaders) and avrdude (M0 bootloaders) is supported. The bootloaders on these devices requires a double press of the reset button or open/closing the serial port at 1200 BAUD. The automatic entry of the bootloader is attempted using ard-reset-arduino when using the general make upload target by polling attached devices until the bootloader port re-attaches (same method as the IDE). On Windows, the USB enumerates as differnt COM ports for the CDC Serial and bootloader and these must be defined. On encountering problems, one can manually enter the bootloader then upload using the make raw_upload target. Note that the make reset target will enter the bootloader on these devices; there is no way to reset over USB.

If using system installed tools, be aware that openocd and bossa were orginally forked for Arduino support and system distributions may not be up to date with merged changes. bossa must be version 1.7->. openocd should work but there may be problems at run time ref. Ideally, use the support packaged version or compile and install the Arduino fork.

With the ARM chipset and using a CMSIS-DAP tool, on-device debugging is made available:

  • debug_init and debug targets for on-device debugging using GDB. To use this, one must start the GDB server with make debug_init &, followed by connecting to the target with make debug. If using a Black Magic Probe, one can just use make debug. At the moment, a system wide arm-none-eabi-gdb must be installed as the one supplied with the Arduino toolchain does not appear to work.
  • Example usage:
  • See the examples/MZeroBlink Makefile for a commented example.


The current version of the makefile is 1.6.0. You can find the full history in the file

This project adheres to Semantic Versioning 2.0.


This makefile and the related documentation and examples are free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2.1 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.


All contributions (even documentation) are welcome :) Open a pull request and I would be happy to merge them. Also checkout the contribution guide for more details.

If you are looking for ideas to work on, then check out the following TODO items or the issue tracker.

Limitations / Known Issues / TODO's

  • Since it doesn't do any pre processing like Arduino IDE, you have to declare all methods before you use them (issue #59)
  • More than one .ino or .pde file is not supported yet (issue #49)
  • When you compile for the first time, it builds all libs inside Arduino directory even if it is not needed. But while linking only the relevant files are linked. (issue #29). Even Arduino IDE does the same thing though.
  • This makefile doesn't support boards or IDE from

If you find an issue or have an idea for a feature then log them in the issue tracker

Interfacing with other projects/frameworks/IDE's


It is possible to use colorgcc with this makefile. Check out this comment to find usage instructions.

Emacs/Flymake support

On-the-fly syntax checking in Emacs using the Flymake minor mode is now possible.

First, the flymake mode must be configured to recognize ino files :

Edit the flymake configuration :

    M-x customize-option RET
    flymake-allowed-file-name-masks RET

Add the line :

      ("\\.ino\\'" flymake-simple-make-init)

Then click on "Apply and Save" button

Then, the following line must be added to the project Makefile :

        $(CXX) -c -include Arduino.h   -x c++ $(CXXFLAGS)   $(CPPFLAGS)  -fsyntax-only $(CHK_SOURCES)

Code:Blocks integration

In Code:Blocks open Project -> Properties -> Project settings tab -> check "This is custom Makefile".

Now go to Settings -> Environment -> Environment variables -> Add

Add three keys with paths as values, using full paths (!):


Now to set DEBUG target (this will compile the project) go to Build options -> Debug -> "Make" commands

In Build Project/Target remove $target:

$make -f $makefile

In Clean Project/Target remove $target:

$make -f $makefile clean

To set the RELEASE target (which will compile and upload) go to Build options -> Release -> "Make" commands

In Build Project/Target put:

$make -f $makefile upload

In Clean Project/Target remove $target:

$make -f $makefile clean

Test Suite

This project includes a suite of example Makefiles and small Arduino and chipKIT programs to assist the maintainers of the Makefile. Run tests/script/ to attempt to automatically install the dependencies (Arduino IDE, MPIDE, etc.). Run tests/script/ to attempt to compile all of the examples. The bootstrap script is primarily intended for use by a continuous integration server, specifically Travis CI. It is not intended for normal users.

Makefile Generator and Project Initialisation

ardmk-init within the bin/ folder is a utility Python script to create a Arduino-mk Makefile for a project and also has option to create a traditional tree organization (src, lib, bin). It can be used as with commanline arguments or prompted - see examples below (append $ARDMK_DIR/bin/ to command if not on path):

  • Run prompted within current working directory: ardmk-init
  • Create Arduino Uno Makefile (useful within a library example): ardmk-init -qb uno
  • Create boilerplate Arduino Uno project in current working directory of same name: ardmk-init -b uno --quiet --project
  • Create Arduino-mk nano Makefile in current working directory with template .ino: ardmk-init -b nano -u atmega328 -qtn my-project
  • See ardmk-init --help for more.


If you are planning on using this makefile in a larger/professional project, you might want to take a look at the Bare-Arduino–Project framework.

Similar to HTML frameworks, Bare-Arduino–Project aims at providing a basic tree organization, Makefile configurations for both OS X and Linux and a handful of instruction on how to get started with a robust Arduino project architecture.

Further information are available in the as well as in the use/installation procedure.

Please be sure to report issues to Bare-Arduino–Project if you use it instead of this project.


This makefile was originally created by Martin Oldfield and he maintained it till v0.10.2. From May 2013, it is maintained by Sudar Muthu and Simon John with the help of 40+ contributors.

Similar works

  • It's not a derivative of this, but Alan Burlison has written a similar thing.
  • Alan's Makefile was used in a Pragmatic Programmer's article.
  • Rei Vilo wrote to tell me that he's using the Makefile ina Xcode 4 template called embedXcode. Apparently it supports many platforms and boards, including AVR-based Arduino, AVR-based Wiring, PIC32-based chipKIT, MSP430-based LaunchPad and ARM3-based Maple.
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