How to Pick the Software to Use With a Digilent Board

Introduction: How to Pick the Software to Use With a Digilent Board

Digilent is a company that makes hardware for engineering students and hobbyists. So you order a board, it comes in the mail, and you wonder, what software do I need to use my Digilent board. Well I created a handy flow chart to guide a first time user to the appropriate software.

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Step 1: Who Makes the Product

The first thing you need to ask yourself is who makes the product. Is it a Digilent product or a non- Digilent product.

Step 2: Non-Digilent Products

If it isn't a Digilent product, then unfortunately I can't help you. Head on over to the manufacturers website to see if they have a guide to software for their product.

Step 3: Digilent Products

If it is a Digilent product, then this guide will certainly lead you to the software you need.

Next you need to figure out what type of Digilent product you have. There are 8 categories that I cover in this guide:


Pmod or Vmod




NI Academic Product



Step 4: FMC, Vmod, Pmod, or Shield

If you have an FMC card, Vmod, Pmod, or shield you need to go back to the top of the chart and start again at Product. The software you use is the software required to drive the board that's connected to these products.

Step 5: JTAG

If you have an external JTAG programmer then you have two options. One of the JTAG programmers Digilent sells is made with XUP. For this JTAG programmer you need Xilinx iMPACT. For all other Digilent JTAG programmers you can use Digilent Adept.

Step 6: Scopes

If you have a Scope made by Digilent, then there is only one software option. You need Waveforms.

A scope could include, the EE board or the Analog Discovery.

Step 7: NI Academic

If you have a NI Academic product that is sold on the Digilent website then you need LabVIEW.

Step 8: Microcontroller

Digilent sells two types of microcontrollers. The chipKIT series and chipKIT PRO series. If your microcontroller is a chipKIT then you need to use MPIDE. If your microcontroller is a chipKIT PRO then you can use MPLAB or MPIDE.

You can read about some of the differences between the two softwares here.

Step 9: FPGA

If the product you have is an FPGA there are a few more options for you to consider. In my flow chart I've grouped them by product. Find the FPGA that you have and see the software that follows.

Step 10: Check Out the Demos

Now that you have the appropriate software you are ready to get started. Check out our learn site to learn more about using the products, check out our makerspace for projects using the product you bought, or check out the wiki for demos.

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