Arduino Libraries and how to use them

Getting Started with Arduino Libraries

What are Arduino Libraries?

Arduino libraries are collections of pre-written code or functions that extend the capabilities of the Arduino platform. They are designed to simplify the process of programming and interacting with various hardware components and devices, allowing you to focus on the specific features and functionality of your project rather than writing code from scratch.

Here are some key aspects of Arduino libraries:

  • Reusability: Arduino libraries provide a set of functions that you can use in your sketches (Arduino programs). These functions are designed to perform common tasks, such as controlling LEDs, reading sensors, or communicating with external devices, in a way that is easy to reuse.

  • Abstraction: Libraries often abstract the low-level details of hardware communication, making it easier for you to work with complex hardware components without needing in-depth knowledge of their inner workings.

  • Community Contributions: The Arduino community is highly active and has developed a vast collection of libraries. Many of these libraries are open-source, allowing anyone to contribute, improve, and share their code with the community.

  • Standard Libraries: Arduino comes with a set of standard libraries that are included by default. These libraries cover essential functions like controlling digital and analog pins, working with serial communication, and managing time.

  • Contributed Libraries: In addition to the standard libraries, there are numerous contributed libraries created by Arduino enthusiasts and third-party developers. These libraries expand the Arduino platform’s capabilities to interface with a wide range of sensors, displays, communication protocols, and more.

  • Library Manager: The Arduino IDE includes a Library Manager, which simplifies the process of discovering, installing, and managing libraries. You can search for libraries, install them with a single click, and keep them up to date.

  • Custom Libraries: You can also create your own custom libraries to encapsulate code specific to your project, making it more organized and reusable.

Managing Libraries:

Managing Arduino libraries is an essential skill for Arduino developers, as it allows you to access and use various pre-written code and functions to enhance your projects. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to manage Arduino libraries:

Step 1. Open the Arduino IDE:

If you are yet to install the IDE please follow this guide: Installing the Arduino IDE

  • Launch the Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) on your computer.

Step 2. Access the Library Manager:

  • In the Arduino IDE, go to the “Sketch” menu.
  • Select “Include Library,” and a submenu will appear.
  • Click on “Manage Libraries…” This will open the Library Manager window.

Step 3. Explore Available Libraries:

  • In the Library Manager, you’ll see a list of available libraries along with their descriptions, versions, and installation status.
  • You can scroll through the list to explore different libraries.

Step 4. Install a Library:

  • To install a library, find the library you want to add to your Arduino IDE.
  • Click on the “Install” button next to the library’s name.
  • The IDE will download and install the selected library.

Step 5. Remove or Update Libraries:

  • If you wish to remove a library, click on the “Remove” button next to the library’s name.
  • To update a library to its latest version, click on the “Update” button if an update is available.

Step 6. Using Installed Libraries:

  • Once a library is installed, you can include it in your Arduino sketches.
  • In your sketch, go to the “Sketch” menu, select “Include Library,” and you’ll see a list of installed libraries. Click on the library you want to use, and it will be added to your sketch.

Step 7. Manual Installation (Optional):

  • In some cases, you may encounter libraries that are not available in the Library Manager or want to install a library manually. To do this, you can:
    • Download the library’s .zip file from the library’s repository (usually on GitHub).
    • In the Arduino IDE, go to the “Sketch” menu, select “Include Library,” then click on “Add .ZIP Library…” and navigate to the downloaded .zip file.

Step 8. Update Library Dependencies (if needed):

  • Some libraries may depend on other libraries to work correctly. Be sure to check the documentation or readme files for any dependencies.
  • You can install dependent libraries using the Library Manager in the same way you install other libraries.

Step 9. Manage Your Own Libraries (if needed):

  • If you’ve created your custom libraries, you can manage them by placing them in the “libraries” folder within your Arduino sketchbook directory. The IDE will automatically detect and include them.

Step 10. Keep Libraries Updated: 

Periodically check the Library Manager for updates to your installed libraries. Keeping them up to date ensures you have the latest features and bug fixes.

You can find more information about using Arduino libraries from the official docs here: Arduino Libraries


Arduino libraries are the secret sauce that can supercharge your Arduino projects. With a solid understanding of what they are, where to find them, and how to manage them, you’re well on your way to becoming a proficient Arduino developer. As you continue your journey in the Arduino ecosystem, explore new libraries, share your own creations, and contribute to the thriving Arduino community. Remember, the possibilities are limitless, and you have the tools to turn your innovative ideas into reality.

Happy tinkering!

Luke Barber

Hello, fellow tech enthusiasts! I'm Luke, a passionate learner and explorer in the vast realms of technology. Welcome to my digital space where I share the insights and adventures gained from my journey into the fascinating worlds of Arduino, Python, Linux, Ethical Hacking, and beyond. Armed with qualifications including CompTIA A+, Sec+, Cisco CCNA, Unix/Linux and Bash Shell Scripting, JavaScript Application Programming, Python Programming and Ethical Hacking, I thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of coding, computers, and networks. As a tech enthusiast, I'm on a mission to simplify the complexities of technology through my blogs, offering a glimpse into the marvels of Arduino, Python, Linux, and Ethical Hacking techniques. Whether you're a fellow coder or a curious mind, I invite you to join me on this journey of continuous learning and discovery.

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