show menu

Download this tutorial in pdf

First Start with Vivado

Posted by Florent - 09 May 2016


This tutorial shows you how to install Vivado and set up the license. This tutorial uses Xilinx Vivado 2016.1. For this tutorial I have used Windows 7 but it should work on every OS supported by Vivado.

Vivado Installation

The installation of Xilinx Vivado is really simple. Download the installation file from the Xilinx Website ( and run the downloaded file. In this tutorial we will use Xilinx Vivado WebPACK Edition which has a free (but limited) license. You can select it during the installation process. It is also interesting to note that you can select Vivado HL Design Edition and Vivado HL System Edition and then use a WebPACK license. But in this case, you will install elements that you won’t be able to use. Vivado HL WebPACK Edition supports the Artix®-7 (7A35T - 7A200T), Kintex®-7 (7K70T, 7K160T) and Zynq®-7000 All Programmable SoC Devices (XC7Z7010 - XC7Z7030) devices.


Vivado HL WebPACK installation

Figure 1 - Vivado HL WebPACK installation

In future tutorials, we will use the Xilinx Software Development Kit (SDK). To use it, we will need to select it during the installation process.


Xilinx SDK installation

Figure 2 - Xilinx SDK

Obtain a license

Even if the WebPACK edition is free, we need to request a license from Xilinx. To request a license you will need to create an account on Xilinx website.

To obtain the Vivado WebPACK edition license, open Vivado License Manager (VLM) and select “Get Free ISE WebPACK, ISE/Vivado IP or PetaLinux Licenses” in the “Obtain License” tab. Then click on “Connect Now” to access your account.


Select Vivado WebPACK license in VLM

Figure 3 - Select Vivado WebPACK license in VLM

Once in your account, select the Vivado WebPACK license in the Certificate Based (CB) licenses part.

Select the Vivado WebPACK license

Figure 4 - Select the Vivado WebPACK license

Complete all the steps on the website. You should then receive an email with the license file attached. Save this .lic file on your computer. In VLM, enter the .lic file path in the “XILINXD_LICENSE_FILE” part in the “Manage License Search Paths” tab.


Path to the .lic file

Figure 5 - Path to the .lic file

In the View License Status tab of VLM, you should see the WebPACK license in the “Certificate Based Licenses” part.


View License Status

Figure 6 - View License Status


Launch Vivado

To launch Vivado you can simply click on the Desktop icon created during the installation. But I think that a better method is to run it from a command line.

Create a folder from which you will start Vivado (for example C:\2016.1). This will be you Current Working Directory (CWD).

In the command Prompt, go into the created folder, set up the environment running the C:\Xilinx\Vivado\2016.1\.setting64-Vivado.bat file. Then, to launch Vivado, enter the command "vivado". This will open Xilinx Vivado in GUI mode.

Starting Vivado from the command prompt

Figure 7 - Starting Vivado from the command prompt


Start an example project

For this tutorial, to discover Vivado we will use a Vivado Xilinx Example project. To open an example project, click on “Open Example Project” in the Vivado Home Page.


Open Example Project

Figure 8 - Open Example Project

In this tutorial we will use the Wavegen example project.

Vivado - Wavegen example project

Figure 9 - Wavegen example project

On the next widows choose the project name and location. In the Default Part page, select the xc7k70tfbg676-1 device(which is included in the WebPACK license).

Vivado - Select the part

Figure 10 - Select the part

We will first analyse the different parts of the Vivado GUI. In the Figure 11, I have divided the Vivado GUI into 4 blocks.

Vivado GUI

Figure 11 - Vivado GUI

The block 1 is the Flow Navigator. The Flow Navigator provides access to the main commands and tools to take a design from design entry to bitstream creation. The block 2 is the Data Windows Area. By default, this area of the Vivado IDE displays information related to design sources and data. The block 3 is the Workspace which displays windows with a graphical interface and those that require more screen space. The block 4 is the Results Windows Area.

Basic steps to generate a Bitstream

A Bitstream is a .bit file that is used to program a FPGA. To generate the Bitstream for this example project, you just have to click on “Generate Bitstream” in the flow navigator and click yes if a “No Implementation Results Available” window appears.

Vivado - Generate Bitstream

Figure 12 - Generate Bitstream


vivado - No Implementation Results Available window

Figure 13 – No Implementation Results Available window

The tool will first run the synthesis process, then the implementation and will finally generate the Bitstream.

When the Bitstream is generated, a “Bitstream Generation Completed” window will appear. For this tutorial, you can simply close it. You can also close Vivado.

vivado - Bitstream Generation Completed window

Figure 14 - Bitstream Generation Completed window

Post a comment

Only connected users can post comments