How to program Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W using Arduino IDE

You can program the Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W using various programming languages, including MicroPython, C/C++, and CircuitPython. The good news is that you can program your Raspberry Pi Pico with the Arduino IDE. If you are familiar with the Arduino IDE, then it is easy for you. But if you are not familiar with the Arduino IDE, then this tutorial will help you. In this tutorial, I will show you how you can program your Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W with the Arduino IDE. Later, I will show you an LED blink example.

Our other Raspberry Pi Pico related tutorials are:

What you need to Program Raspberry Pi Pico using Arduino IDE

  • A Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W. You can buy Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W from Amazon.
  • Arduino IDE in your PC or Laptop.
  • A Micro USB B connector.

Installing Arduino IDE

You can download and install latest version of Arduino IDE from Go to SOFTWARE and download your Windows or Mac or Linux version and Install to your computer.

How to download Arduino IDE

Prepare Arduino IDE for Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W

Step One:

Open Arduino IDE and go to File>>Preferences then copy and paste the following URL in Additional board managers URLs

How to install Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W to Arduino IDE

If you have more than one URLs then simply place a comma (,) after the existing URL and paste the Pico URL. Just like this one: pico/releases/download/global/package_rp2040_index.json,

Step Two:

Go to Tools>>Board>>Board Manager and search for Pico and install Raspberry Pi Pico/RP2040.

ide4 min

Uploading a Sketch to Raspberry Pi Pico using Arduino IDE

This time we will upload a simple LED blinking sketch to Raspberry Pi Pico using Arduino IDE. We need some components for our project:

Component NameQuantityPurchase Link
Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W1Amazon | Amazon
220ohm resistor1Amazon
Jumper wire pack1Amazon
Micro USB Cable1Amazon

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Connect the anode leg of the LED to GPIO1 (pin number 1) with a 220ohm resistor and the cathode leg of the LED to Ground (GND). You can also connect LED to any GPIO of the Pico. To know more about Raspberry Pi Pico GPIOs click this link.

Circuit Diagram

ckt min

Follow the Steps to Upload a Sketch

Step One:

Go to File>>New Sketch. Clear the existing code.

Step Two:

Copy and paste this code to Arduino IDE

#define LED 1     // define GPIO1 or pin number 1 as LED

void setup() {
  // initialize GPIO1 pin LED as an output.
  pinMode(LED, OUTPUT);

// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
  digitalWrite(LED, HIGH);  // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
  delay(1000);                      // wait for a second
  digitalWrite(LED, LOW);   // turn the LED off by making the voltage LOW
  delay(1000);                      // wait for a second

Save this as a Sketch on your computer.

Step Three:

Go to Tools>>Board>> Raspberry Pi Pico/RP2040 and select Raspberry Pi Pico (you can also select Pico W from this list).

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Step Four:

Now connect the micro-USB cable to your Pico, then press and hold the BOOTSEL button of your Pico. Plug in a USB cable and hold the button at the same time. Now the Raspberry Pi Pico is in bootloader mode.

During the second upload, you do not need to take the Pico in bootloader mode. You just plug the USB into your computer.

IMG 20231005 183922 min

Step Five:

Go to Tools>>Port and select the right port where your Raspberry Pi Pico or Pico W is connected. In my case the port name was UF2.

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After a successful connection with the Pico, you will see this message

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Step Six:

Hit the upload button to upload your sketch.

ide8 min

Step Seven:

After finishing uploading, you will see these messages on Arduino IDE.

ide6 min

And you are done. You will find that the LED turns ON and OFF every second.

Video Tutorial


If you are new to Raspberry Pi Pico, then this article will help you create Raspberry Pi Pico and Pico W projects with the Arduino IDE. So, why wait? Grab your Raspberry Pi Pico, fire up Arduino IDE, and start bringing your creative electronics projects to life!

Rana Bhuiyan

I hold a B.Sc degree in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Daffodil International University, Bangladesh. I am an Electronic circuit designer and Microcontroller programmer. I am interested in Robotics, Embedded System Design and IoT.

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