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Shifts out a byte of data one bit at a time. Starts from either the most (i.e. the leftmost) or least (rightmost) significant bit. Each bit is written in turn to a data pin, after which a clock pin is pulsed to indicate that the bit is available.

This is a software implementation; Arduino (as of 0019) also provides an SPI library that uses the hardware implementation.


shiftOut(dataPin, clockPin, bitOrder, value)


dataPin: the pin on which to output each bit (int)

clockPin: the pin to toggle once the dataPin has been set to the correct value (int)

bitOrder: which order to shift out the bits; either MSBFIRST or LSBFIRST.
(Most Significant Bit First, or, Least Significant Bit First)

value: the data to shift out. (byte)




The dataPin and clockPin must already be configured as outputs by a call to pinMode().

shiftOut is currently written to output 1 byte (8 bits) so it requires a two step operation to output values larger than 255.

// Do this for MSBFIRST serial
int data = 500;
// shift out highbyte
shiftOut(dataPin, clock, MSBFIRST, (data >> 8));  
// shift out lowbyte
shiftOut(data, clock, MSBFIRST, data);

// Or do this for LSBFIRST serial
data = 500;
// shift out lowbyte
shiftOut(dataPin, clock, LSBFIRST, data);  
// shift out highbyte 
shiftOut(dataPin, clock, LSBFIRST, (data >> 8)); 


For accompanying circuit, see the tutorial on controlling a 74HC595 shift register.

//  Name    : shiftOutCode, Hello World                         //
//  Author  : Carlyn Maw,Tom Igoe                               //
//  Date    : 25 Oct, 2006                                      //
//  Version : 1.0                                               //
//  Notes   : Code for using a 74HC595 Shift Register           //
//          : to count from 0 to 255                            //

//Pin connected to ST_CP of 74HC595
int latchPin = 8;
//Pin connected to SH_CP of 74HC595
int clockPin = 12;
////Pin connected to DS of 74HC595
int dataPin = 11;

void setup() {
  //set pins to output because they are addressed in the main loop
  pinMode(latchPin, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(clockPin, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(dataPin, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
  //count up routine
  for (int j = 0; j < 256; j++) {
    //ground latchPin and hold low for as long as you are transmitting
    digitalWrite(latchPin, LOW);
    shiftOut(dataPin, clockPin, LSBFIRST, j);   
    //return the latch pin high to signal chip that it 
    //no longer needs to listen for information
    digitalWrite(latchPin, HIGH);

See also

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This reference is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License and is based on the Arduino reference. Code samples in the reference are released into the public domain.