Display interface

To create a display for LVGL call lv_disp_t * disp = lv_disp_create(hor_res, ver_res). You can create a multiple displays and a different driver for each (see below),

Basic setup

Draw buffer(s) are simple array(s) that LVGL uses to render the screen's content. Once rendering is ready the content of the draw buffer is sent to the display using the flush_cb function.


An example flush_cb looks like this:

void my_flush_cb(lv_disp_t * disp, const lv_area_t * area, lv_color_t * buf)
    /*The most simple case (but also the slowest) to put all pixels to the screen one-by-one
     *`put_px` is just an example, it needs to be implemented by you.*/
    int32_t x, y;
    for(y = area->y1; y <= area->y2; y++) {
        for(x = area->x1; x <= area->x2; x++) {
            put_px(x, y, *color_p);

    /* IMPORTANT!!!
     * Inform LVGL that you are ready with the flushing and buf is not used anymore*/

Use lv_disp_set_flush_cb(disp, my_flush_cb) to set a new flush_cb.

lv_disp_flush_ready(disp) needs to be called when flushing is ready to inform LVGL the buffer is not used anymore by the driver and it can render new content into it.

LVGL might render the screen in multiple chunks and therefore call flush_cb multiple times. To see if the current one is the last chunk of rendering use lv_disp_flush_is_last(disp).

Draw buffers

The draw buffers can be set with lv_disp_set_draw_buffers(disp, buf1, buf2, buf_size_px, render_mode)

  • buf1 a buffer where LVGL can render

  • buf2 a second optional buffer (see more details below)

  • buf_size_byte size of the buffer(s) in bytes

  • render_mode

    • LV_DISP_RENDER_MODE_PARTIAL Use the buffer(s) to render the screen is smaller parts. This way the buffers can be smaller then the display to save RAM. At least 1/10 screen size buffer(s) are recommended. In flush_cb the rendered images needs to be copied to the given area of the display.

    • LV_DISP_RENDER_MODE_DIRECT The buffer(s) has to be screen sized and LVGL will render into the correct location of the buffer. This way the buffer always contain the whole image. If two buffer are used the rendered ares are automatically copied to the other buffer after flushing. Due to this in flush_cb typically only a frame buffer address needs to be changed and always the changed areas will be redrawn.

    • LV_DISP_RENDER_MODE_FULL The buffer can smaller or screen sized but LVGL will always redraw the whole screen even is only 1 pixel has been changed. If two screen sized draw buffers are provided, LVGL's display handling works like "traditional" double buffering. This means the flush_cb callback only has to update the address of the framebuffer (color_p parameter).


static lv_color_t buf[LCD_HOR_RES * LCD_VER_RES / 10];
lv_disp_set_draw_buffers(disp, buf, NULL, sizeof(buf), LV_DISP_RENDER_MODE_PARTIAL);

One buffer

If only one buffer is used LVGL draws the content of the screen into that draw buffer and sends it to the display via the flush_cb. LVGL then needs to wait until the content of the buffer is sent to the display before drawing something new into it.

Two buffers

If two buffers are used LVGL can draw into one buffer while the content of the other buffer is sent to the display in the background. DMA or other hardware should be used to transfer data to the display so the MCU can continue drawing. This way, the rendering and refreshing of the display become parallel operations.

Advnaced options


To set the resolution of the display after creation use lv_disp_set_res(disp, hor_res, ver_res)

It's not mandatory to use the whole display for LVGL, however in some cases the physical resolution is important. For example the touchpad still sees the whole resolution and the values needs to be converted to the active LVGL display area. So the physical resolution and the offset of the active area can be set with lv_disp_set_physical_res(disp, hor_res, ver_res) and lv_disp_set_offset(disp, x, y)


LVGL supports rotation of the display in 90 degree increments. You can select whether you'd like software rotation or hardware rotation.

The orientation of the display can be changed with lv_disp_set_rotation(disp, LV_DISP_ROTATION_0/90/180/270, true/false). LVGL will swap the horizontal and vertical resolutions internally according to the set degree. If the last parameter is true LVGL will rotate the rendered image. If it's false the display driver should rotate the rendered image.

Color format

Set the color format of the display. The default is LV_COLOR_FORMAT_NATIVE which means LVGL render with the follow formats depending on LV_COLOR_DEPTH:

The color_format can be changed with lv_disp_set_color_depth(disp, LV_COLOR_FORMAT_...) to the following values:

If the color format is set to non-native draw_ctx->buffer_convert function will be called before calling flush_cb to convert the native color format to the desired, therefore rendering in non-native formats has a negative effect on performance. Learn more about draw_ctx here.

It's very important that draw buffer(s) should be large enough for both the native format and the target color format. For example if LV_COLOR_DEPTH == 16 and LV_COLOR_FORMAT_XRGB8888 is selected LVGL will choose the larger to figure out how many pixel can be rendered at once. Therefore with LV_DISP_RENDER_MODE_FULL and the larger pixel size needs to be chosen.



lv_disp_set_antialiasing(disp, true / false) enables/disables the antialiasing (edge smoothing) on the given display.

User data

With lv_disp_set_user_data(disp, p) a pointer to a custom data can be stored in display object.


lv_disp_add_event(disp, event_cb, LV_DISP_EVENT_..., user_data) adds an event handler to a display. The following events are sent:

  • LV_DISP_EVENT_INVALIDATE_AREA An area is invalidated (marked for redraw). lv_event_get_param(e) returns a pointer to an lv_area_t variable with the coordinates of the area to be invalidated. The area can be freely modified is needed to adopt it the special requirement of the display. Usually needed with monochrome displays to invalidate Nx8 lines at once.

  • LV_DISP_EVENT_RENDER_START: Called when rendering starts.

  • LV_DISP_EVENT_RENDER_READY: Called when rendering is ready

  • LV_DISP_EVENT_RESOLUTION_CHANGED: Called when the resolution changes due to lv_disp_set_resolution() or lv_disp_set_rotation().

Other options

Decoupling the display refresh timer

Normally the dirty (a.k.a invalid) areas are checked and redrawn in every LV_DEF_REFR_PERIOD milliseconds (set in lv_hal_disp.h). However, in some cases you might need more control on when the display refreshing happen, for example to synchronize rendering with VSYNC or the TE signal.

You can do this in the following way:

/*Delete the original display refresh timer*/
disp->refr_timer = NULL;

/*Call this anywhere you want to refresh the dirty areas*/

If you have multiple displays call lv_disp_set_deafult(disp1) to select the display to refresh before _lv_disp_refr_timer(NULL).


that lv_timer_handler() and _lv_disp_refr_timer() can not run at the same time.

If the performance monitor is enabled, the value of LV_DEF_REFR_PERIOD needs to be set to be consistent with the refresh period of the display to ensure that the statistical results are correct.

Further reading