Vivado Tools Installation

Installing the proper tools for your course


Software Requirements for the Courses

Hardware designs are created for Real Digital boards using the Vivado design tool using Verilog, VHDL, or HLS. Software designs are created for the ARM core on the ZYNQ device (used on the Blackboard) or for the Microblaze softcore using the Vitis tool in Assembly or C. Both tools are complete, stand-alone integrated design environments that offer everything needed to create, analyze, synthesize, compile, download and debug designs. The Digital Logic course uses Vivado, the Microprocessors course uses Vitis, and the Digital Systems course uses both.

Both tools are available as free downloads using the “Unified Installer” available at You must create a Xilinx account before you can do the download.

On the Xilinx downloads page, look for the latest version of the Self Extracting Web Installer available for Windows or Linux (Apple is not supported).

Figure 1. Chose the web installer
Figure 1. Chose the web installer

In the next window, reenter your credentials and select download and install now.

In the next window, you can chose to install Vivado by itself, or Vitis (which includes Vivado).

In the next window, you can leave all defaults.

At the end of the install, you will select a license. Make sure to select the free WebPack version.


If you have a desktop environment that supports desktop shortcuts the installer will try to add shortcuts for you, and these will launch the tools. Otherwise, you can start Vivado via shell commands.

The default Xilinx/linux install directory is /opt/Xilinx/, and directories for the Vivado and/or Vitis tools are located in that directory. The Vivado and Vitis directories contain folders for each release, so the default path for a specific version of a tool should be /opt/Xilinx/toolname/realeaseversion.

To run Vivado or Vitis, first source the settings file from the path for the correct tool, then run the tool’s command. For example, Vivado 2020.2 can be started from a shell with the following commands. The syntax will be the same for any other version of Vivado, but the path will be different based on the release.

$ source /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2020.2/
$ vivado &

Linux Cable drivers

If you’re running linux you may need to install Xilinx’s cable drivers to communicate with the blackboard. Xilinx includes the necessary files and scripts but does not install them on some systems. To install the cable drivers you will need root access (if you aren’t the system administrator you will need to ask your admin for help).

Steps to install the Linux cable drivers

After you’ve installed Xilinx tools follow these steps to install the correct driver (note that since you may only have Vivado or Vitis installed, replace (toolname) below with Vivado or Vitis respectivly and replace (version) with the version you have installed.)

  1. Navigate to /opt/Xilinx/(toolname)/(version)/data/xicom/cable_drivers/lin64/install_script/install_drivers/ .
  2. Gain root access (through su, or use sudo in front of the command in the following step).
  3. In the directory run the install_drivers script.


To install the Drivers included with Vivado 2020.42, installed to the default path, you can run the following commands if you have sudo privilege:

$ cd /opt/Xilinx/Vivado/2020.2/data/xicom/cable_drivers/lin64/install_script
$ sudo ./install_drivers