Configuring & Using micro-tools

If you installed the micro:bit v2 build environment through a method other than the script-assisted setup, you will not have had micro-tools installed in the setup process. In addition, the default micro:bit v2 build environment only permits you to build code from within the sample repository’s “source” directory, which can be limiting when programming multiple micro:bit projects at once. With these things in mind, micro-tools allows you to remove these restrictions, as well as adding a suite of useful utilities for working with micro:bit v2 projects. So, what is micro-tools, and how is it installed?

What is micro-tools?

The micro-tools repository is a companion project to this documentation, and contains useful utility scripts for working with micro:bit v2 projects, as well as handy alias setup for calling the scripts from anywhere on your system. The repository can be found at c272/micro-tools on Github. The project is only compatible with Linux and MacOS, and does not explicitly support Windows. There are several utilities contained within the project, the most notable of which being:

  • microinstall
  • microinit
  • microbuild
  • microflash

Below is a brief explanation of what each tool does, how it is used, and what systems it is compatible with.


This tool allows you to install the SDK from scratch, without having cloned anything else but the micro-tools repository. After cloning, you can simply run:


And the SDK will be downloaded, installed, and configured to work with the rest of the tools & utilities in the micro-tools suite. This supports systems with either the apt package manager (Debian, Ubuntu, Pop!_OS and other Debian-based), the xbps-install package manager (Void Linux), or brew (MacOS). This tool also isn’t added as an alias in, as you’ll likely only want to use it once.


This tool allows you to set up Visual Studio Code configurations for a micro:bit v2 project, to allow you to access the APIs with Visual Studio Code’s code completion and Intellisense features without the need to be inside the microbit-v2-samples folder. It also gives you the ability to automatically run microbuild from within Visual Studio Code’s interface. To start a new project with microinit, you can run something like the following command:

microinit my-project-name

This will create a folder named “my-project-name”, containing the appropriate VSCode configuration for your system. Alternatively, if you already have a project directory, you can simply specify the directory name and it will perform setup there. For instance, to initialise in the current directory:

microinit .

Once this is done, you should be able to launch VSCode and see that include paths are properly resolved, and that you can build with microbuild through Visual Studio Code’s build system.


This tool allows for the building of micro:bit v2 projects outside of the microbit-v2-samples source folder. Running microbuild without any parameters will build the default directory (this is a config value found in, by default this is simply the current working directory ‘.’).


To specify a directory to build when running the command, you can add the argument BUILD_DIRECTORY with the desired folder. In addition, you can specify the output directory of the MICROBIT.hex file with the BUILD_OUTPUT_DIRECTORY argument. Most arguments in micro-tools are specified with a key-value format, like so:


This would take src as the source project to build, and bin as the destination for the MICROBIT.hex file.


This tool allows for the flashing of built micro:bit v2 projects to the micro:bit. By default, microflash will search for a file named MICROBIT.hex in the executing directory (this can be configured in config.h or passed in as the command line parameter MICROBIT_HEX_FILE), and flash this onto the microbit once mounted. You can perform this with simply:


The first time the micro:bit is flashed, it is mounted to a directory on the filesystem. By default, this is mnt/microbit within the scripts directory, however you can configure this directory in or pass it in as the command line option MICROBIT_MOUNT_DIR. If you want to just mount or unmount the micro:bit without performing a flash for whatever reason, you can simply pass the DO_MOUNT and DO_UNMOUNT arguments respectively to microflash like so:

microflash DO_UNMOUNT=true # Unmounts the micro:bit from the system, then exits.
microflash DO_MOUNT=true # Mounts the micro:bit to the mount directory, then exits.

Installing micro-tools

Without an Existing Build Environment

To install micro-tools along with a copy of the micro:bit v2 build environment, simply clone the Git repository and run the script from within the cloned folder. This will set up your micro-tools install to use a freshly downloaded copy of the build environment.

git clone
cd micro-tools/

Once this is done, you should see the terminal prompt you to add a source command to your terminal rc file, like so:

Setup complete! Add the following to your terminal's startup file (eg. '~/.bashrc') to add micro-tools to your PATH:
	source /my/path/to/micro-tools/

Add this to your preferred terminal’s startup file (for bash, this is likely located at ~/.bashrc), and then create a new terminal instance. Now you’re all set up to use micro-tools commands!

With an Existing Build Environment

This section describes how to install micro-tools after you have already downloaded and set up an existing copy of the micro:bit v2 build environment, and thus do not have micro-tools already installed and configured. If you have set up micro:bit v2 through, you should ignore this section.

To install micro-tools, you should first clone the repository into a user-executable directory, and then run the “” script. This will prompt you for the location of your micro:bit v2 SDK, which is the microbit-v2-samples repository that we cloned during the setup process. Simply enter the absolute path of this repository, and then hit enter. The setup will complete, and prompt you to add a source line to your terminal’s .****rc file in order to be able to easily use the micro-tools utilities from throughout the system.

micro-tools setup v0.1 (c) C272, 2022
revision: a4489eae34

Enter the location of the micro:bit v2 SDK, as cloned from the 'microbit-v2-samples' repository:

Updating config with SDK directory...
Creating aliases for micro-tools scripts...

Setup complete! Add the following to your terminal's startup file (eg. '~/.bashrc') to add micro-tools to your PATH:
	source /my/path/to/micro-tools/

After adding this to your terminal’s startup file, simply restart your terminal instance and you will be able to access the full suite of utilities made available by micro-tools.


There is a global configuration file “”, which can be found at the root of the micro-tools directory which specifies default options for all of the utilities within micro-tools. It also defines the global location of the micro:bit v2 SDK (the microbit-v2-samples repository clone). If you wish to move the SDK somewhere else, you must let micro-tools know about the new location of the SDK, otherwise all utilities will stop working. You can do this by editing the global config value MICROBIT_SDK_DIRECTORY, like so:

## Global Options ##

# Location of the micro:bit v2 SDK (as cloned from microbit-v2-samples).
export MICROBIT_SDK_DIRECTORY=/path/to/my/microbit-v2-samples

There are also other default options for microinit and microbuild contained within this file which you can edit.