Introduction

LVGL (Light and Versatile Graphics Library) is a free and open-source graphics library providing everything you need to create embedded GUI with easy-to-use graphical elements, beautiful visual effects and low memory footprint.

Key features

  • Powerful building blocks such as buttons, charts, lists, sliders, images etc.

  • Advanced graphics with animations, anti-aliasing, opacity, smooth scrolling

  • Various input devices such as touchpad, mouse, keyboard, encoder etc.

  • Multi-language support with UTF-8 encoding

  • Multi-display support, i.e. use more TFT, monochrome displays simultaneously

  • Fully customizable graphic elements

  • Hardware independent to use with any microcontroller or display

  • Scalable to operate with little memory (64 kB Flash, 16 kB RAM)

  • OS, External memory and GPU supported but not required

  • Single frame buffer operation even with advanced graphical effects

  • Written in C for maximal compatibility (C++ compatible)

  • Simulator to start embedded GUI design on a PC without embedded hardware

  • Binding to MicroPython

  • Tutorials, examples, themes for rapid GUI design

  • Documentation is available as online and offline

  • Free and open-source under MIT license

Requirements

Basically, every modern controller  (which is able to drive a display( is suitable to run LVGL. The minimal requirements are:

  • 16, 32 or 64 bit microcontroller or processor
  • > 16 MHz clock speed is recommended
  • Flash/ROM: > 64 kB for the very essential components (> 180 kB is recommended)
  • RAM:
    • Static RAM usage: ~2 kB depending on the used features and objects types
    • Stack: > 2kB (> 8 kB is recommended)
    • Dynamic data (heap): > 2 KB (> 16 kB is recommended if using several objects).     Set by `LV_MEM_SIZE` in *lv_conf.h*.
    • Display buffer:  > *"Horizontal resolution"* pixels (> 10 × *"Horizontal resolution"* is recommended)
    • One frame buffer in the MCU or in external display controller
  • C99 or newer compiler
  • Basic C (or C++) knowledge: [pointers](https://www.tutorialspoint.com/cprogramming/c_pointers.htm), [structs](https://www.tutorialspoint.com/cprogramming/c_structures.htm), [callbacks](https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/callbacks-in-c/)
*Note that the memory usage might vary depending on the architecture, compiler and build options.*

License

The LVGL project (including all repositories) is licensed under MIT license. It means you can use it even in commercial projects.

The only thing you need to do is to add a notice about you are using LVGL in your product. This notice can be placed in the user guide, on your website, on an about screen, or anywhere else where users might see it.

It's not mandatory but we highly appreciate it if you write a few words about your project in the My projects category of the Forum or a private message from lvgl.io.

Although you can get LVGL for free there is a huge work behind it. It's created by a group of volunteers who made it available for you in their free time.

To make the LVGL project sustainable, please consider Contributing to the project. You can choose from many ways of contributions such as simply writing a tweet about you are using LVGL, fixing bugs, translating the documentation, or even becoming a maintainer.

Repository layout

All repositories of the LVGL project are hosted n GitHub: https://github.com/lvgl

You fill these repositories there:

  • lvgl The library itself

  • lv_examples Examples and demos

  • lv_drivers Display and input device drivers

  • docs Source of the documentation's site (https://docs.lvgl.io)

  • blog Source of the blog's site (https://blog.lvgl.io)

  • sim Source of the online simulator's site (https://sim.lvgl.io)

  • lv_sim_... Simulator projects for various IDEs and platforms

  • lv_port_... LVGL ports to development boards

  • lv_binding_.. Bindings to other languages

  • lv_... Ports to other platforms

The lvgl,  lv_examples and lv_drivers are the core repositories which gets the most attentions regarding maintenance.

Release policy

The core repositories follow the rules of Semantic versioning:

  • Major versions for incompatible API changes. E.g. v5.0.0, v6.0.0

  • Minor version for new but backward-compatible functionalities. E.g. v6.1.0, v6.2.0

  • Patch version for backward-compatible bug fixes. E.g. v6.1.1, v6.1.2

Branches

The core repositories have at least the following branches:

  • master latest version, patches are merged directly here.

  • dev merge new features here until they are merged into master.

  • release/vX stable versions of the major releases

Release cycle

LVGL has 2 weeks release cycle. On every first and third Tuesday of a month:

  1. A major, minor or bug fix release is created (based on the new features) from the master branch

  2. master is merged into release/vX

  3. Immediately after the release dev is merged into master

  4. In the upcoming 2 weeks the new features in master can be tested

  5. Bug fixes are merged directly into master

  6. After 2 weeks start again from the first point

Tags

Tags like vX.Y.Z are created for every release.

Changelog

The changes are recorded in CHANGELOG.md.

Side projects

The docs is rebuilt on every release. By default, the latest documentation is displayed which is for the current master branch of lvgl. The documentation of earlier versions is available from the menu on the left.

The simulator, porting, and other projects are updated with best effort. Pull requests are welcome if you updated one of them.

Version support

In the core repositories each major version has a branch (e.g. release/v6). All the minor and patch releases of that major version are merged there.

It makes possible to add fixed older versions without bothering the newer ones.

All major versions are officially supported for 1 year.

FAQ

Where can I ask questions?

You can ask questions in the Forum: https://forum.lvgl.io/.

We use GitHub issues for development related discussion. So you should use them only if your question or issue is tightly related to the development of the library.

Is my MCU/hardware supported?

Every MCU which is capable of driving a display via Parallel port, SPI, RGB interface or anything else and fulfills the Requirements is supported by LLVGL.

It includes:

  • "Common" MCUs like STM32F, STM32H, NXP Kinetis, LPC, iMX, dsPIC33, PIC32 etc.

  • Bluetooth, GSM, WiFi modules like Nordic NRF and Espressif ESP32

  • Linux frame buffer like /dev/fb0 which includes Single-board computers too like Raspberry Pi

  • And anything else with a strong enough MCU and a periphery to drive a display

Is my display supported?

LVGL needs just one simple driver function to copy an array of pixels into a given area of the display. If you can do this with your display then you can use that display with LVGL.

Some examples of the supported display types:

  • TFTs with 16 or 24 bit color depth

  • Monitors with HDMI port

  • Small monochrome displays

  • Gray-scale displays

  • even LED matrices

  • or any other display where you can control the color/state of the pixels

See the Porting section to learn more.

Nothing happens, my display driver is not called. What have I missed?

Be sure you are calling lv_tick_inc(x) in an interrupt and lv_task_handler() in your main while(1).

Learn more in the Tick and Task handler section.

Why the display driver is called only once? Only the upper part of the display is refreshed.

Be sure you are calling lv_disp_flush_ready(drv) at the end of your "display flush callback".

Why I see only garbage on the screen?

Probably there a bug in your display driver. Try the following code without using LVGL. You should see a square with red-blue gradient

#define BUF_W 20
#define BUF_H 10

lv_color_t buf[BUF_W * BUF_H];
lv_color_t * buf_p = buf;
uint16_t x, y;
for(y = 0; y < BUF_H; y++) {
    lv_color_t c = lv_color_mix(LV_COLOR_BLUE, LV_COLOR_RED, (y * 255) / BUF_H);
    for(x = 0; x < BUF_W; x++){
        (*buf_p) =  c;
        buf_p++;
    }
}

lv_area_t a;
a.x1 = 10;
a.y1 = 40;
a.x2 = a.x1 + BUF_W - 1;
a.y2 = a.y1 + BUF_H - 1;
my_flush_cb(NULL, &a, buf);

Why I see non-sense colors on the screen?

Probably LVGL's color format is not compatible with your displays color format. Check LV_COLOR_DEPTH in lv_conf.h.

If you are using 16 bit colors with SPI (or other byte-oriented interface) probably you need to set LV_COLOR_16_SWAP 1 in lv_conf.h. It swaps the upper and lower bytes of the pixels.

How to speed up my UI?

  • Turn on compiler optimization and enable cache if your MCU has

  • Increase the size of the display buffer

  • Use 2 display buffers and flush the buffer with DMA (or similar periphery) in the background

  • Increase the clock speed of the SPI or Parallel port if you use them to drive the display

  • If your display has SPI port consider changing to a model with parallel because it has much higher throughput

  • Keep the display buffer in the internal RAM (not in external SRAM) because LVGL uses it a lot and it should have a small access time

How to reduce flash/ROM usage?

You can disable all the unused features (such as animations, file system, GPU etc.) and object types in lv_conf.h.

If you are using GCC you can add

  • -fdata-sections -ffunction-sections compiler flags

  • --gc-sections linker flag

to remove unused functions and variables from the final binary

How to reduce the RAM usage

  • Lower the size of the Display buffer

  • Reduce LV_MEM_SIZE in lv_conf.h. This memory used when you create objects like buttons, labels, etc.

  • To work with lower LV_MEM_SIZE you can create the objects only when required and deleted them when they are not required anymore

How to work with an operating system?

To work with an operating system where tasks can interrupt each other (preemptive) you should protect LVGL related function calls with a mutex. See the Operating system and interrupts section to learn more.