Productivity Tools in the MPLAB® X IDE Editor

Last modified by Microchip on 2024/06/24 06:34

MPLAB® X IDE Action Items

The Action Items feature provides a convenient means to tag comments in your programs for special attention such as a "To Do" or "Fix Me" reminder. All comments that are tagged with one of the words or character patterns from the following table will be added to the Action Items window the next time the file or project is saved. Once a tagged comment is listed in the window, you can double-click on it and you will be taken immediately to its source in the Editor window.

How to Tag a Comment for Inclusion in the Action Items list

To tag a comment, simply use one of the words or character patterns from the table (or others you add to the list yourself) as the initial text of the comment. For example, to tag a comment with "TODO" you could use the following:

// TODO   Your Comment Here

How to Add, Edit, or Remove Action Items Tags

From the main menu, select Tools > Options

In the window that opens, click on Team.

Tools Options window

Select the Action Items tab.

Use the AddEdit and Remove buttons on the right to modify the list to suit your needs.

Options window Action Items tab

How to Display the Action Items List

Select Window > Action Items from the main menu.

The Action Items window should appear as a tab below the editor near the Output tab.

​Action Items comments in your code will not be added to the window until you save the project.

Action Items window

How to Add an Action Item to the List

Somewhere in one of your project's C source files, add a comment that starts like this:

Save the project by clicking on the Save All icon on the main toolbar. This will force IDE to parse all of the files. The TODO comment should now appear in the Action Items list.

//TODO Your Action Item/Task Here

Diff Utility

The Diff utility in MPLAB X IDE compares two files and displays the results in textual and graphical views. The following will explain how to access the Diff Utility, how to view Diff utility results, and other features offered by MPLAB X Diff utility.

Accessing Diff Utility

To access the Diff utility to compare two files, complete the following steps:

From the Project tree, double-click on the file name that you want to compare with, which will open the file in the Editor window.

In the MPLAB X IDE menu, go to Tools > Diff. This will open up a pop-up box with the title "Diff Filename To…".

Select Diff from the tools menu

Select the second file that you wish to compare with the first and click Diff.

By default, this will generate the graphical two-paned Diff viewer that displays the two files side-by-side with the differences highlighted.

You can also select the Textual View mode by clicking on the Textual tab.

Graphical View

Some of the highlights of this view are:

  • The differences in the two files are highlighted with color code.
  • Blue for actual differences.
  • Green where blank spaces are not ignored.
  • Pink where changes in inner white spaces are not ignored.
  • The total number of differences is indicated at the top of the page.
  • The center arrows indicate locations of differences.
  • If you click on the center arrow, the file on the right side will instantly update with the corresponding contents in the file from the left side.

graphical view tab

Textual View

The textual view displays the differences in a text format. The textual format is useful when the Diff file is to be shared with other users. MPLAB X IDE can use the textual Diff file and modify a file with the Diff file instantly.

Textual view of Diff

Diff Viewer Menu

The Graphical and Textual Viewer also has an additional menu as shown below.

Graphical and Textual Viewer menu

Diff Viewer Options

Additional options in the Diff view include the setting if the user wants to use the internal Diff utility provided in the MPLAB X IDE or use external Diff tool such as Windiff®.

Under the Internal Diff setting, you can also set the option to not use white spaces/changes within white spaces or case changes during Diff. The Diff results with these options selected are marked with color code as mentioned above.

The options menu can also be accessed within the MPLAB X IDE menu by navigating to Tools > Options > Diff tab.

Miscellaneous tab

Generate Doxygen Documentation

This method will show installation and setup of Doxygen Integrator plugin.

Open the Tools - Plugin Dialog

In the Plugins Available Plugins tab. Select  Doxygen Integrator by checking the plugin in the plugin list.
Press the Install button and Select Next on the Plugin Installer Wizard.
Accept the License Agreement and install.
Select Restart Later and press Finish.

Doxygen plugin dialog box

Download the Doxygen Executable from the link and install.

Doxygen Download link

Restart MPLABX and select Tools - Options - Plugins tab.

Select the Doxygen Binary location.
Select or create a Doxygen Configuration file.
Select the Output path for the generated Doxygen documentation files per project.

Plugins tab

Create Doxygen Documentation for Project

In the Projects Window right click on the logical folder project.
Select Create Doxygen from the context menu.
Output window tab for Doxygen Integrator opens with status of Doxygen document generation.
Select Doxygen HTML Output View

Additional Doxygen documentation.

You should now see the folder(s) you selected as logical subfolders in the Projects Window. Inside the folder are all the files it contained.

If the original folder on the hard drive contained subfolders, those will be added as logical subfolders as well. If they don't contain any files you need for the project, it is safe to remove them from the project.

Doxygen Documentation