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Flexible Register/Instruction Extender aNd Documentation


FRIEND is an IDA plugin created to improve disassembly and bring register/instruction documentation right into IDA View.

1. Improved processor modules using third party libraries (like Capstone)

2. Hints for instructions and registers in IDA View and Decompiler View

3. Ability to show external reference for highlighted item in a browser

4. Function Summary in IDA View and Decompiler View

5. Ability to pick only features you are interested in and save setting in IDB

Note: it may be confusing if there's only one element group, you still need to click on it to enable the features.

How to build

Preparing the build environment

To build the IDA plugin, there are few dependencies to satisfy:

  • CMake 3.3 or higher
  • GCC or Clang on Linux/macOS. On Windows, use the Visual Studio 2015.
  • Git
  • IDA SDK (unpack into idasdk)
  • Hex-Rays SDK (optional, copy to hexrays_sdk)

Unzip the contents of the IDA SDK into idasdk, and copy the Hex-Rays SDK to hexrays_sdk (use -DUSE_HEXRAYS=OFF with cmake to build without HexRays support). On Linux or MacOS, one can use the following commands:

$ unzip /path/to/ -d idasdk
$ mv idasdk/idasdkXX/* idasdk
$ rm -r idasdk/idasdkXX
$ cp -r /path/to/ida/plugins/hexrays_sdk hexrays_sdk

CMake options

USE_HEXRAYS=OFF - to build without HexRays decompiler SDK (ON by default)
USE_IDA6_SDK=ON - to build against IDA 6.x SDK (OFF by default)


Use cmake to prepare the build environment and run make to build the plugins:

$ mkdir _build
$ cd _build
$ make


Use cmake to prepare the build environment and run make to build the plugins:

$ mkdir _build
$ cd _build
$ make

If you prefer to have an Xcode project and build everything from there, run the following commands instead:

$ mkdir _build
$ cd _build
$ cmake -G Xcode [-DUSE_HEXRAYS=OFF] [-DUSE_IDA6_SDK=ON] ..
$ open FRIEND.xcodeproj # or simply run xcodebuild


Use cmake to prepare the build environment and run make to build the plugins:

$ mkdir _build
$ cd _build
$ "%VS140COMNTOOLS%\..\..\VC\vcvarsall.bat" x86
$ cmake -G "Visual Studio 14 2015" [-DUSE_HEXRAYS=OFF] [-DUSE_IDA6_SDK=ON] ..
$ msbuild FRIEND.sln /p:Configuration=Release

x64 build instructions (tested for IDA Pro 7.0 on Windows 10 x64):

mkdir _build64
cd _build64
"%VS140COMNTOOLS%\..\..\VC\vcvarsall.bat" x64
cmake -G "Visual Studio 14 2015 Win64" [-DUSE_HEXRAYS=OFF] [-DUSE_IDA6_SDK=ON] ..
msbuild FRIEND.sln /p:Configuration=Release /p:Platform=X64 /m


Copy the built binaries into the IDA Pro plugins directory. These are the default paths:

OS Plugin path
Linux /opt/ida-X.X/plugins
macOS /Applications/IDA Pro X.X/idabin/plugins
Windows %ProgramFiles(x86)%\IDA 6.X\plugins or %ProgramFiles%\IDA 7.X\plugins

Configuration files

The content of hints is discussed here

FRIEND configuration file has following structure:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" standalone="no"?>
	<document id="pdf_id" name="ARM Architecture Reference Manual" version="A.k">
		<group type="reg" name="Group Name">
			<hint page="1" header="Element Header" doc_id="pdf_id" token="R0">info</>
		<group type="ins" name="Group Name">
			<hint page="2" header="Element Header" doc_id="pdf_id" token="MOV">info</>

Please note that you have to put your own <path> to pdf file to be able to use external documentation in a browser.

You can use a local file too. Assuming your pdf is in /Users/foo/doc/doc.pdf, just put that after <path>. Do not add file:// as it will be prepended later.

Hint Editor

To make contribution to this project easier, there is a simple config editor.

NOTE: It can only be built on MacOS with Xcode 8 or higher. Other systems are not supported.

Use cmake to generate Xcode project.

$ cd HintEditor/HintEditor/
$ mkdir _build
$ cd _build
$ cmake -G Xcode ..
$ xcodebuild

Launch the application bundle with open:

$ open Debug/


FRIEND requires:

Hint Editor requires:

  • AEXML (built with Patches/aexml.diff)


@ in7egral, mbazaliy for bug reports and all kind of support
@ qwertyoruiopz, iH8sn0w, Morpheus______, xerub, msolnik, marcograss, pr0x13, _argp, oleavr, brinlyau and other gang for inspiration
@ _kamino_ for porting project to Windows and Linux
@ williballenthin for the idea of function summary


Flexible Register/Instruction Extender aNd Documentation



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