Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for Kinetis MCUs

NXP® has partnered with leading providers to offer best-in-class featured commercial IDEs for Arm® Cortex®-based microcontrollers, with detailed support for Kinetis® microcontrollers.

Each of the featured IDE offerings include:

  • Build tool chain, single/multi-core debug, IDE, Kinetis development hardware connections.
  • Hardware probes and advanced trace capabilities.
  • Bare metal and RTOS support with kernel awareness and task debug.
  • Full support from board bring up, to firmware development, to application development, to code analysis, test and deployment.
  • Full range of demos and startup code.
  • Global technical support.

NXP also offers a complimentary IDE for Kinetis MCUs that enables editing, compiling and debugging with no code-size restrictions. Our MCUXpresso IDE is based on free, open-source software including Eclipse, GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), GNU Debugger (GDB), and others.

MCUXpresso IDE

  • A free-of-charge, code size unlimited IDE for Kinetis and LPC MCUs.
  • Industry-standard GNU toolchain with a choice of libraries.
  • Can be extended with many Eclipse plug-ins.

Arm® Keil® Microcontroller Development Kit

  • Specifically designed for microcontroller applications, easy to learn and use, yet powerful enough for the most demanding embedded applications.
  • Arm C/C++ build toolchain and Execution Profiler and Performance Analyzer enable highly optimized programs and is safety certified by TUV for IEC 61508 and ISO 26262 and other safety applications.
  • Complete Code Coverage information about your program's execution.

Emprog ThunderBench™

  • Highly optimized and integrated embedded C/C++ development tools for Arm Cortex with a large cloud based repository of BSPs and sample code
  • Designed from the ground up for embedded C/C++ developers with best price to quality Ratio coupled with Emprog best in class technical support
  • Plugins for Processor Expert® and others supporting a wide range of middleware, JTAG probes and a large ecosystem

Green Hills Software® Multi® Integrated Development Environment

  • Complete and integrated software and hardware environment with advanced multicore debugger.
  • Industry first TimeMachine trace debugging and profiler.
  • EEMBC certified top performing C/C++ compilers.

IAR Embedded Workbench®

  • A powerful and reliable IDE designed for ease of use with outstanding compiler optimizations for size and speed.
  • A broad Arm Cortex MCU offering with dedicated versions available with functional safety certification.
  • Support for multi-core, low power debugging, trace, and more.


  • Complete SW Development and Test Platform which is easy to learn and use
  • Only fully scalable solution providing a free entry with unlimited code size ranging to a high end advanced analysis and test solution
  • Unique test solution without code instrumentation

Lauterbach TRACE32® Microprocessor Development Tools

  • Full featured debug and trace environment for embedded designs
  • Powerful code coverage and run-time analysis of functions and tasks
  • Energy profiling time correlated to the program flow

MikroElektronika mikroC, mikroBasic, mikroPascal for Arm

  • Over 500 function libraries included free of charge, plus community website (
  • Powerful IDE with user friendly interface and built-in additional software tools.
  • Compatible with MikroElektronika's hardware toolchain for Kinetis MCUs.
  • 1-time payment (no maintenance fee), frequent updates add support for new chip families.

mbed Development Platforms

  • The fastest way to get started with Kinetis MCUs
  • Online project management and build tools – no installation required
  • Includes comprehensive set of drivers, stacks and middleware with a large community of developers

Rowley Crossworks for Arm

  • CrossStudio embedded IDE natively built for Windows/Linux/Macos which takes care of edit, build, download, and debugging.
  • C/C++ support from either GCC or CLANG/LLVM
  • Debug and trace support for MCU and MPU

SEGGER Embedded Studio®

  • A leading cross platform IDE for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
  • Enhanced support for the J-Link and J-Trace Probe.
  • FREE for any non-commercial use without any limitiation – educational and evaluation purpose.

Kinetis Design Studio IDE

  • Complimentary basic capability integrated development environment (IDE) for Kinetis MCUs
  • Eclipse and GCCbased IDE for C/C++ editing, compiling and debugging

Comparison of Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) for Kinetis MCUs

  Free version / Limitations IDE Framework Debugger Compiler Standard Libraries Run Control Interfaces Trace/Profiling Support MCUXpresso SDK Support FreeRTOS Support Other RTOS Support Includes
MCUXpresso IDE Yes, code size unlimited, Pro with extended trace features Full featured Eclipse with ease-of-use extensions, managed linker scripts, SDK package manager and wizards GDB with LinkServer GNU Tools for Arm Embedded Processors v5 newlib, newlib-nano, Redlib (reduced RAM/ROM footprint for embedded devices) P&E, SEGGER, NXP LinkServer with CMSIS-DAP, OpenSDA, LPC-Link and LPC-Link2 Yes, Live variables, data watch, interrupt tracing, SWO, ETM/ETB trace and power analysis (LinkServer) Yes Yes, Thread Awareness and dedicated RTOS views  
Keil PRO Edition Microcontroller Development Kit (MDK) MDK Lite: 32KB Proprietary uVison ® armcc Arm MicroLib
Arm Standard
Emprog ThunderBench™ Full Evaluation 30-days Emprog Embedded Eclipse Emprog GDB with supporting plugins Emprog compatible GCC compiler newlib, newlib-nano, libstc++, soft/hard FP support, short/long calls Segger Jlink, CMSIS-DAP, P&Emicro, OpenOCD and any gdbserver compatible interface Yes Yes Yes N/A
Green Hills Software Multi IDE Evaluation: 30 days Proprietary Multi Multi Multi GHS Probe, GHS SuperTrace™ Probe, OpenOCD, CMSIS-DAP (coming soon) Yes   No u-velOSity™
IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm (EWARM) Evaluation: 30-day
KickStart Edition: 32KB
Proprietary / Eclipse plugin available IAR C-SPY ® IAR icc IAR DLIB i-jet™, P&E, SEGGER, OpenOCD, CMSIS-DAP Yes Yes Yes Micrium®µC/OS
iSYSTEM winIDEA/testIDEA Evaluation: 30 days winIDEAOpen: Unlimited with GCC, 32K with other compilers Proprietary / Eclipse plugin available winIDEA GNU gcc 4.8 included, interoperable with all other compilers e.g. IAR icc, Arm armcc etc. newlib, newlib-nano, libstc++ iTag50, iTag2K, iC5000, SEGGER, CMSIS-DAP Yes No Yes N/A
Lauterbach TRACE32® Microprocessor Development Tools Evaluation: Limited by time or code size Proprietary TRACE32® In-Circuit-Debugger Support for all common compilers Support for all common libraries µTrace ® Yes No Yes N/A
MikroElektronika mikroC, mikroBasic, mikroPascal for Arm Free version/Limitations - 8Kbytes of output code Proprietary Proprietary Proprietary C, Basic, and Pascal Proprietary mikroProg No No No N/A
Rowley Crossworks for Arm Evaluation:30 days / 16k free code limit Proprietary Proprietary GCC or CLANG/LLVM Proprietary C/C++ and STLPort CMSIS-DAP, CrossConnect, FTDI2232, P&E, SEGGER Yes Yes No N/A
SEGGER Full Unlimited Non-Commercial Use Proprietary Proprietary Enhanced LLVM and optional GCC Proprietary Highly Optimized C/C++ SEGGER J-Link / J-Trace Yes Yes No SEGGER embOS
Kinetis Design Studio Yes, Unlimited Eclipse GDB GNU gcc 4.8
GNU Tools for Arm Embedded (launchpad) 4.8 - Q3 2014
newlib 2.1.0
newlib-nano 2.1
P&E, SEGGER, OpenOCD/CMSIS-DAP No Yes Yes Micrium® µC/OS