Arty Z7 Getting started with Zynq

This guide is out of date. For the most up-to-date version, please visit Getting Started with Vivado and Vitis Baremetal Software Projects.


This guide will provide a step by step walk-through of creating a hardware design using the Vivado IP Integrator for the Arty-Z7 board.

At the end of this tutorial you will have:

  • Created a simple hardware design incorporating the on board LEDs,switches and buttons.
  • Created a .C project in XIlinx Vivado SDK tying the on board LEDs and buttons together along with sending switch status through the USB-UART using the hardware design shown in the previous step.



  • Digilent's Arty-Z7 Development Board and a Micro USB cable for UART communication and JTAG programming


  • Xilinx Vivado 2017.X with the SDK package.

Board Support Files

  • Arty-Z7 Support Files
    • These files will describe GPIO interfaces on your board and make it easier to select your board in the initial design setup and add GPIO IP blocks in the block design
    • Follow this Wiki guide Vivado Board Files for Digilent 7-Series FPGA Boards on how to install Board Support Files for Vivado 2015.X

Features Used

Not Used Used
2 user switches X
2 user LEDs X
2 user RGB LEDs X
4 user push buttons X
Micro SD card connector X
HDMI Sink and HDMI Source X
PWM mono audio out w/ 3.5mm jack X
10/100/1000 Ethernet PHY X
512MB 1050Mb/s DDR3 Memory X
Quad-SPI Flash X
Two Pmod ports X
chipKIT connector for XADC signals X

General Design Flow

I. Vivado

  • Open Vivado and select Arty-Z7 board
  • Create an new Vivado Project
  • Create empty block design workspace inside the new project
  • Add required IP blocks using the IP integrator tool and build Hardware Design
  • Validate and save block design
  • Create HDL system wrapper
  • Run design Synthesis and Implementation
  • Generate Bit File
  • Export Hardware Design including the generated bit stream file to SDK tool
  • Launch SDK

Now the Hardware design is exported to the SDK tool. The Vivado to SDK hand-off is done internally through Vivado. We will use SDK to create a Software application that will use the customized board interface data and FPGA hardware configuration by importing the hardware design information from Vivado.


  • Create new application project and select default Hello World template
  • Program FPGA and run application


1. Creating a New Project

When you first run Vivado this will be the main start window where you can create a new project or open a recent one.

1.1) Click on Create New Project.

1.2) You will be presented with the project creation wizard. Click Next.

1.3) Enter a Project name and location then click Next.

1.4) Select RTL Project and click Next.

1.5) This demo does not use any existing sources, existing IP or constraints. Click through the next three screens.

1.6) Select Boards and select the Arty-Z7-20 or Arty-Z7-10 board file depenting on which board you have.
Click Next and then Finish.

2. Creating a New Block Design

2.1) Once the process has completed, click Create Block Design in the flow navigator.

2.2) Click OK.

2.3) A blank Block Design will open up.

3. Add the Zynq IP & GPIO Blocks

3.1) Click the Add IP button and search for ZYNQ. Double click on ZYNQ7 Processing System to place the bare Zynq block.

3.2) Click the Run Block Automation link and click OK. This will use the board files and correctly configure the ZYNQ processor for the Arty-Z7.

Your Zynq block should now look like the picture below.
3.3) Click the Add IP icon again, this time search for “gpio” and add the AXI GPIO core.

3.4) Double-click on new axi_gpio_0 core that was just added to bring up the customizing window. Under the IP Configuration tab check the Enable Dual Channel box. Click OK.

3.5) Add another GPIO core by repeating step 3.3 but do not enable dual channel.


4. Run the Connection Automation Tool

4.1) The connection automation tool will add the required logic blocks for the demo. Select Run Connection Automation highlighted in blue.

4.2) Check the box by All Automation. Select GPIO under axi_gpio_0 and select btns_4bits in the Board Part Interface drop-down box.

4.3) Select GPIO2 under axi_gpio_0 and select swts_2bits in the drop-down box.

4.4) Select GPIO under axi_gpio_1 and select leds_4bits in the drop-down box and hit OK.

4.5) This process will add:
  * The AXI interconnect
  * Processor System Reset 
  * The board parts for the buttons, switches and LEDs.

4.6) Next let's clean up our Block Design. Click the Regenerate Layout button to rearrange your block design.

5. Generate HDL Wrapper and Validate Design

5.1) Select Validate Design. This will check for design and connection errors.
5.2) After the design validation step we will proceed with creating a HDL System Wrapper. In the block design window, under the Design Sources tab, right-click on the block diagram file. We labeled it “” and select Create HDL Wrapper.

This will create a top module in VHDL or Verilog depending on what language you choose and will allow you to generate a bitstream.

6. Generate the Bitstream

6.1) Click on Generate Bitstream at the bottom of the Flow Navigator.

6.2) Next there are a series of popup boxes. On the first popup select save

On the second popup select yes. You can choose to have this not notify you again.

On the last popup choose the max number of jobs allowed if you have no other tasks going on your PC. Otherwise choose the number of jobs based on system needs.

7. Export hardware files for SDK

7.1) Go to file→Export→Export Hardware… Make sure to check the box for Include bitstream then click OK.

8. Launch SDK

8.1) Go to File→Launch SDK and click OK.


9. Create a new Hello World Application Project in SDK

9.1) Go to File→New→Application Project.

9.2) Enter a Project name and leave the rest of the options on default settings. Then select NEXT

9.3) Select the Hello World template. Then select FINISH

9.4) Expand Getting_started_with_zynq(the application you made) then open src and double click on “helloworld.c”. This is the default Hello World C code.

10. Creating Our Own Hello World

10.1) Copy and paste the code below into the helloworld.c file.
Getting Started Guide for Arty-Z7

This demo displays the status of the buttons on the
LEDs and prints a message to the serial communication
when a switch is on.

Terminal Settings:
   -Baud: 115200
   -Data bits: 8
   -Parity: no
   -Stop bits: 1

9/21/17: Created by JPEYRON

#include <stdio.h>
#include "platform.h"
#include <xgpio.h>
#include "xparameters.h"
#include "sleep.h"

int main()
   XGpio input, output;
   int button_data = 0;
   int switch_data = 0;

   XGpio_Initialize(&input, XPAR_AXI_GPIO_0_DEVICE_ID);	//initialize input XGpio variable
   XGpio_Initialize(&output, XPAR_AXI_GPIO_1_DEVICE_ID);	//initialize output XGpio variable

   XGpio_SetDataDirection(&input, 1, 0xF);			//set first channel tristate buffer to input
   XGpio_SetDataDirection(&input, 2, 0xF);			//set second channel tristate buffer to input

   XGpio_SetDataDirection(&output, 1, 0x0);		//set first channel tristate buffer to output


      button_data = XGpio_DiscreteRead(&input, 1);	//get switch data

      XGpio_DiscreteWrite(&output, 1, button_data);	//write switch data to the LEDs

      switch_data = XGpio_DiscreteRead(&input, 2);	//get button data

      //print message dependent on whether one or more buttons are pressed
      if(switch_data == 0b00){} //do nothing

      else if(switch_data == 0b01)
         xil_printf("switch 0 on\n\r");

      else if(switch_data == 0b10)
         xil_printf("switch 1 on\n\r");

         xil_printf("both switches on\n\r");

      usleep(200000);			//delay

   return 0;

11. Run the Project

11.1) Make sure that the Arty-Z7 is connected to the host PC via the UART USB Port and that JP4 is set to JTAG. To program the FPGA, on the top toolbar, click the Program FPGA button.
11.2) Save the project. The project will automatically build.
11.3) Right click the Getting_started_with_zynq directory and select run as → Launch on Hardware(System Debugger).
11.4) The demo will be running on the Arty-Z7. Try playing around with the (labeled BTN0-BTN3). Pressing each button should light its respective LED. Also over the serial port, the 2 switches (labeled SW0-SW1) will produce the message “switch x on” or “both switches on”.
11.5) Tera Term or any serial terminal will work as a Console for displaying the output of the BTN's.
Set up the terminal as:
You should see something like this on the terminal depending on what you do with the switches.