Coding with VEXcode IQ (1st gen)

VEXcode IQ is the coding environment for programming a VEX IQ Robot. The following article provides links to other articles that will help you start coding with VEXcode IQ. At the end of this article, you will have the option of either programming the VEX Clawbot IQ to drive forward or to create a project to print ‘VEX’ on the LCD display of the VEX IQ Brain.


Note: in order to test your project at the end of this article, ensure you begin with a charged IQ Battery.

This article will include:

  • Download the application
  • Devices and Templates
  • Using Blocks
  • Saving
  • Update firmware if needed
  • Downloading and Running
  • Opening a project
  • Additional helpful links
  • My First Project
    • Print ‘VEX’ example (no robot build required)
    • Drive Forward example (Clawbot IQ build required)

Download the application

VEXcode IQ is available for several different types of devices. The application needs to be downloaded onto your device. View the VEXcode download page


The following links will help you download the application onto your device:

Devices and Templates


When you open a new VEXcode IQ project, the project is set up to only use the VEX IQ Brain. The only blocks which will appear in the Toolbox are the default blocks. 

A project is customized by adding the devices that are being used on your robot. Additional blocks will populate the Toolbox for each device that is added.


For example, adding a ‘DRIVETRAIN 2 motor’ device will add the set of ‘Drivetrain’ blocks to the Toolbox.


There are a number of standard VEX IQ builds, such as the Clawbot and the Autopilot, that can be used in the classroom and the VEX STEM Labs.


VEXcode IQ has a number of templates that are already set up for these builds. For example, an easy way to start a VEXcode IQ project for the Clawbot IQ, is to use an example template. This will configure the Clawbot’s devices and add the specific devices’ blocks to the Toolbox.


Open an example project by selecting ‘Open Examples’ from the File menu.


Select ‘Templates’ from the Filter bar.


Then select the Clawbot (Drivetrain 2-motor) Template.

Note: view the Robot Config section of articles for more information on configuring devices.

Using Blocks

VEXcode IQ opens as a Blocks project. Programming with blocks provides an environment that is accessible, with a very low entry threshold. However, coding a Blocks project also allows for an advanced level of programming.

A block can be added to a project by dragging it over from the Toolbox to the workspace.


 It can be just as easily deleted from the project by dragging the block off of the workspace. 


Some additional helpful articles using blocks include:


Once you have completed your VEX IQ project, it will need to be saved to your device. Saving your project differs depending on your device.


The following articles explain how to save your project on your device:

Update firmware if needed

The VEX IQ Brain and other smart devices have an underlying software that allows the devices to work with the VEXcode IQ project. This software is called firmware, or otherwise known as VEXos.


If the firmware is not up to date with your current version VEXcode IQ, you will not be able to download your project to the IQ Brain. VEXcode IQ alerts you when the firmware is not up to date by displaying an orange brain icon as soon as a powered IQ Brain is connected to your device.


Note: view the Firmware - Get Started - VEXcode IQ article for more information about firmware.

Downloading and Running


Your VEXcode IQ project needs to be downloaded to the VEX IQ Brain in order for your project to run. This is accomplished with a USB cord connected between the IQ Brain and your device. 


Or, wirelessly with iPad/Android tablet devices.


The VEX IQ Brain has four download slots which allows four different projects to be stored on the IQ Brain at the same time.

Once the VEX IQ Brain is connected and a slot is selected, your project can be downloaded to the IQ Brain, and then run. When a project is run, it allows you to see how the project affects the behavior of your robot.

Occasionally, a download error may occur during the download process. However, these are usually easy to troubleshoot.

The following articles will help you with downloading and running your VEXcode IQ project:

Note: Before downloading your project, review the Pre-Downloading a Project Checklist.

Opening a Project

Once a VEXcode IQ project has been saved on your device, it can be opened at a later time to be re-downloaded onto your robot, or the project can be modified.


The following articles will help you open your VEXcode IQ project on your specific device:

Additional helpful links

There are many additional VEX Library articles to assist you when working with the VEXcode IQ.

Some additional helpful articles to get started include:

There are also many fun and educational activities found in the VEX IQ STEM Labs.


My First Project

The following two projects will allow you to practice building a project in VEXcode IQ.

Print ‘VEX’

This project will allow you to build a project without having to assemble a robot. All that will be needed is the VEX IQ Brain and a charged battery.


Ensure the IQ Brain is connected to your device and powered on.


Launch VEXcode IQ.


A new blank project will open.


From the ‘Looks’ category select a [Print] block and attach it to the {When started} block.


Replace the word ‘Hello’ in the parameter with the word ‘VEX.’


Save, download, and run your project.


‘VEX’ will print on the LED display of the IQ Brain.

Drive Forward

This project is intended to be used with the standard Clawbot IQ. View the Clawbot with Controller STEM Lab for build instructions.



Ensure the IQ Brain is connected to your device and powered on.


Launch VEXcode IQ.


A new blank project will open.


Open the ‘Clawbot (Drivetrain 2-motor)’ example project.

Note: The template requires a Gyro to be plugged into Smart Port 4.


From the ‘Drivetrain’ category, select a [Drive for] block and attach it to the {When started} block.

Note: Driving forward for 200 millimeters will move the Clawbot’s wheels forward one rotation.

Save, download, and run your project. The Clawbot will now drive forward 200 mm.

Note: if you experience any issues when working with VEXcode IQ, please use the feedback tool found within VEXcode IQ.


For more information, help, and tips, check out the many resources at VEX Professional Development Plus

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