Basics of Code::Blocks IDE for C Programming - dummies

Basics of Code::Blocks IDE for C Programming

By Dan Gookin

You’ll find the Internet spackled with various integrated development environments (IDEs) for C programming, and they’re all pretty good. The Code::Blocks IDE works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It comes with everything you need.

How to Install Code::Blocks

Obtain Code::Blocks from the Internet.

This website will doubtless be altered over time, so the following steps for installing the IDE may change subtly:

  1. Use your computer’s web browser to visit the Code::Blocks website.

  2. Enter the Downloads area.

    Download a binary or executable version of Code::Blocks. It must be specific to your computer’s operating system. Further, find the release that includes a C compiler, such as the common MinGW compiler.

  3. Click the link to display the binary or executable installation for Code::Blocks.

    The link is labeled Download the Binary Release.

  4. Choose your computer’s operating system or scroll to the portion of the screen that lists options for that operating system.

    You may find sections (or pages) for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

  5. Click the link that downloads the compiler and IDE for your computer’s operating system.

    The Windows version of the IDE and compiler is named in this fashion:


    The xx and yy represent Code::Block’s major and minor release numbers.

    In Linux, you can choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version, depending on your distribution, or distro, and the file format you want. Choose a stable release.

    Mac OS X users can choose whether to download a .dmg, or disk image, file or the traditional zip file archive.

  6. Extract the Code::Blocks installation program from the archive.

  7. Run the installation program.

    Heed the directions on the screen. Perform a default installation; you don’t need to customize anything at this point.

    In Windows, ensure that you’re installing the MinGW compiler suite. If you don’t see that option presented in the Choose Components window, you’ve downloaded the wrong version of Code::Blocks. Go back to Step 5.

  8. Finish the installation by running Code:Blocks.

    A prompt appeared, asking whether you wanted to run Code::Blocks. Click the Yes button. If you don’t see this prompt, use the computer’s operating system to start Code::Blocks just as you’d start any program.

  9. Close the installation window.

    Even though you may see Code::Blocks splashed all over the screen, you may still need to wrap up the installation by closing the installation window.

A tour of the Code::Blocks workspace

If Code::Blocks hasn’t started, go ahead and start it. It starts just like any other program does: Locate its icon on the Start button menu, or you may also find the Code::Blocks shortcut icon on the desktop, which is the easiest way to start the IDE in Windows 8.


The main areas in the workspace are:

  • Toolbars: These messy strips, adorned with various command buttons, cling to the top of the Code::Blocks window. There are eight toolbars, which you can rearrange, show, or hide. Don’t mess with them until you get comfy with the interface.

  • Management: The window on the left side of the workspace features four tabs, though you may not see all four at one time. The window provides a handy oversight of your programming endeavors.

  • Status bar: At the bottom of the screen, you see information about the project and editor and about other activities that take place in Code::Blocks.

  • Editor: The big window in the center-right area of the screen is where you type code.

  • Logs: The bottom of the screen features a window with many, many tabs. Each tab displays information about your programming projects. The tab you use most often is named Build Log.

The View menu controls the visibility of every item displayed in the window. Choose the proper command, such as Manager, from the View menu to show or hide that item. Control toolbars by using the View→Toolbars submenu.

The most important thing to remember about the Code::Blocks interface is not to let it befuddle you. An IDE such as Code::Blocks can be highly intimidating, even when you consider yourself an old hand at programming. Don’t worry: You’ll soon feel right at home.

  • Maximize the Code::Blocks program window so that it fills the screen. You need all that real estate.

  • Each of the various areas on the screen — Management, Editor, Logs — can be resized: Position the mouse pointer between two areas. When the pointer changes to a double-arrow thingy, you can drag the mouse to change an area’s size.

  • The Editor and Logs areas feature tabbed interfaces. Each window displays multiple “sheets” of information. Switch between the sheets by choosing a different tab.