I use Visual Studio 2015 extensively for work, so it would seem like a logical choice for getting started with Arduino programming (though my C/C++ is rusty, that may take some time to get back). From what I understand the Visual Micro Plugin is popular. Is that sort of the de facto choice for those who come from VS? Does it tie into everything so that I can handle debugging, breakpoints, deployment etc from Visual Studio? Much obliged!

2 Answers 2


I think it is the de facto standard for VS (of course the default Arduino IDE is used most).

However, I think some advanced features (like breakpoint if I recall right) is only temporarily for free and you have to pay later for a subscription.

Note however, that debugging/breakpoints are not used often anyway since mostly it's more realtime controlled than PC applications.

If you need breakpoints etc. probably the easiest is to make stubs for some libraries and first develop the application not using Arduino and later use the Visual Micro plugin. [Update: it seems breakpoints are possible with vMirco, I never got them to work though].

  • OK well it's only $20 for a student license so I guess if I find I like that feature I could buy it. But it does output to Visual Studio right? Like if I write print("Jello World") in my code, does that get outputted to the Visual Studio Immediate Window? Jul 5, 2017 at 19:11
  • I tried it just a few times (without breakpoints) but it worked perfectly ... I have the free version (not being a student). I don't think the output is write to the immediate window but to a specific window from vMicro. Jul 5, 2017 at 19:25
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    You're not going to be able to use breakpoints except in some sort of simulator (if offered) or by buying a suitable hardware interface - they won't work with just they the everyday Arduino USB port interface. Jul 7, 2017 at 3:59
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    It's been about a year, but the last I checked vMicro's breakpoints worked just fine (most of the time). It works by injecting code into your debug builds IIRC.
    – RubberDuck
    Sep 5, 2017 at 15:46

Use Atmel's Atmel Studio 7. Uses the visual studio shell and is supported by Atmel. Also allows you to import your Arduino Sketches. Once I used it, I stopped using the Arduino IDE.

  • How does debugging work? Are you able to attach to the process running on the andruino and step through it? What about print() commands, how are they outputted? Thanks! Jul 6, 2017 at 10:19
  • For debugging you will need a debugger like the Atmel Ice which uses debug wire and interfaces with the Atmel Studio. It's worth the money if you do a lot of coding. As for printf, there are tutorials on how to hook standard I/O into your code. The IDE is irrelevant that that case.
    – PhillyNJ
    Jul 6, 2017 at 10:35
  • so I'm confused then, what is the benefit of this plugin if it doesn't support debugging out of the box? Not even println() statements? Jul 6, 2017 at 16:26
  • Its not a plugin. Is an IDE built off the Visual Studio Shell. Its free. If you want to step up your game, use Atmel Studio and buy the Atmel ICE. IMO Visual Micro is junk.
    – PhillyNJ
    Jul 6, 2017 at 16:32
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    Atmel Studio uses the same vMicro plugin that VS does to get Arduino support, so there's literally no difference here unless OP is interested in doing "raw" avr development.
    – RubberDuck
    Sep 5, 2017 at 15:45

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