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Compiler Reference Guide

Preface Arm Compiler Tools Overview armclang Reference armlink Reference fromelf Reference armar Reference armasm Legacy Assembler Reference armasm Command-line Options --16 --32 --apcs=qualifier…qualifier --arm --arm_only --bi --bigend --brief_diagnostics, --no_brief_diagnostics --checkreglist --cpreproc --cpreproc_opts=option[,option,…] --cpu=list (armasm) --cpu=name (armasm) --debug --depend=dependfile --depend_format=string --diag_error=tag[,tag,…] (armasm) --diag_remark=tag[,tag,…] (armasm) --diag_style={arm|ide|gnu} (armasm) --diag_suppress=tag[,tag,…] (armasm) --diag_warning=tag[,tag,…] (armasm) --dllexport_all --dwarf2 --dwarf3 --errors=errorfile --exceptions, --no_exceptions --exceptions_unwind, --no_exceptions_unwind --execstack, --no_execstack --execute_only --fpmode=model --fpu=list (armasm) --fpu=name (armasm) -g (armasm) --help (armasm) -idir[,dir, …] --keep (armasm) --length=n --li --library_type=lib --list=file --list= --littleend -m (armasm) --maxcache=n --md --no_code_gen --no_esc --no_hide_all --no_regs --no_terse --no_warn -o filename (armasm) --pd --predefine "directive" --reduce_paths, --no_reduce_paths --regnames --report-if-not-wysiwyg --show_cmdline (armasm) --thumb --unaligned_access, --no_unaligned_access --unsafe --untyped_local_labels --version_number (armasm) --via=filename (armasm) --vsn (armasm) --width=n --xref Structure of armasm Assembly Language Modules Syntax of source lines in armasm syntax assembly l Literals ELF sections and the AREA directive An example armasm syntax assembly language module Writing A32/T32 Instructions in armasm Syntax Asse About the Unified Assembler Language Syntax differences between UAL and A64 assembly la Register usage in subroutine calls Load immediate values Load immediate values using MOV and MVN Load immediate values using MOV32 Load immediate values using LDR Rd, =const Literal pools Load addresses into registers Load addresses to a register using ADR Load addresses to a register using ADRL Load addresses to a register using LDR Rd, =label Other ways to load and store registers Load and store multiple register instructions Load and store multiple register instructions in A Stack implementation using LDM and STM Stack operations for nested subroutines Block copy with LDM and STM Memory accesses The Read-Modify-Write operation Optional hash with immediate constants Use of macros Test-and-branch macro example Unsigned integer division macro example Instruction and directive relocations Symbol versions Frame directives Exception tables and Unwind tables Using armasm armasm command-line syntax Specify command-line options with an environment v Using stdin to input source code to the assembler Built-in variables and constants Identifying versions of armasm in source code Diagnostic messages Interlocks diagnostics Automatic IT block generation in T32 code T32 branch target alignment T32 code size diagnostics A32 and T32 instruction portability diagnostics T32 instruction width diagnostics Two pass assembler diagnostics Using the C preprocessor Address alignment in A32/T32 code Address alignment in A64 code Instruction width selection in T32 code Symbols, Literals, Expressions, and Operators in a Symbol naming rules Variables Numeric constants Assembly time substitution of variables Register-relative and PC-relative expressions Labels Labels for PC-relative addresses Labels for register-relative addresses Labels for absolute addresses Numeric local labels Syntax of numeric local labels String expressions String literals Numeric expressions Syntax of numeric literals Syntax of floating-point literals Logical expressions Logical literals Unary operators Binary operators Multiplicative operators String manipulation operators Shift operators Addition, subtraction, and logical operators Relational operators Boolean operators Operator precedence Difference between operator precedence in assembly armasm Directives Reference Alphabetical list of directives armasm assembly la About armasm assembly language control directives About frame directives Directives that can be omitted in pass 2 of the as ALIAS ALIGN AREA ARM or CODE32 directive ASSERT ATTR CN CODE16 directive COMMON CP DATA DCB DCD and DCDU DCDO DCFD and DCFDU DCFS and DCFSU DCI DCQ and DCQU DCW and DCWU END ENDFUNC or ENDP ENTRY EQU EXPORT or GLOBAL EXPORTAS FIELD FRAME ADDRESS FRAME POP FRAME PUSH FRAME REGISTER FRAME RESTORE FRAME RETURN ADDRESS FRAME SAVE FRAME STATE REMEMBER FRAME STATE RESTORE FRAME UNWIND ON FRAME UNWIND OFF FUNCTION or PROC GBLA, GBLL, and GBLS GET or INCLUDE IF, ELSE, ENDIF, and ELIF IMPORT and EXTERN INCBIN INFO KEEP LCLA, LCLL, and LCLS LTORG MACRO and MEND MAP MEXIT NOFP OPT QN, DN, and SN RELOC REQUIRE REQUIRE8 and PRESERVE8 RLIST RN ROUT SETA, SETL, and SETS SPACE or FILL THUMB directive TTL and SUBT WHILE and WEND WN and XN armasm-Specific A32 and T32 Instruction Set Featur armasm support for the CSDB instruction A32 and T32 pseudo-instruction summary ADRL pseudo-instruction CPY pseudo-instruction LDR pseudo-instruction MOV32 pseudo-instruction NEG pseudo-instruction UND pseudo-instruction Appendixes

Syntax of source lines in armasm syntax assembly language

F2.1 Syntax of source lines in armasm syntax assembly language

The armasm assembler parses and assembles armasm syntax assembly language to produce object code.


Each line of armasm syntax assembly language source code has this general form:

{symbol} {instruction|directive|pseudo-instruction} {;comment}

All three sections of the source line are optional.

symbol is usually a label. In instructions and pseudo-instructions it is always a label. In some directives it is a symbol for a variable or a constant. The description of the directive makes this clear in each case.

symbol must begin in the first column. It cannot contain any white space character such as a space or a tab unless it is enclosed by bars (|).

Labels are symbolic representations of addresses. You can use labels to mark specific addresses that you want to refer to from other parts of the code. Numeric local labels are a subclass of labels that begin with a number in the range 0-99. Unlike other labels, a numeric local label can be defined many times. This makes them useful when generating labels with a macro.

Directives provide important information to the assembler that either affects the assembly process or affects the final output image.

Instructions and pseudo-instructions make up the code a processor uses to perform tasks.


Instructions, pseudo-instructions, and directives must be preceded by white space, such as a space or a tab, irrespective of whether there is a preceding label or not.

Some directives do not allow the use of a label.

A comment is the final part of a source line. The first semicolon on a line marks the beginning of a comment except where the semicolon appears inside a string literal. The end of the line is the end of the comment. A comment alone is a valid line. The assembler ignores all comments. You can use blank lines to make your code more readable.


Comments inside source files and header files that are provided by Arm might not be accurate and must not be treated as documentation about the product.

Considerations when writing armasm syntax language source code

You must write instruction mnemonics, pseudo-instructions, directives, and symbolic register names (except a1-a4 and v1-v8 in A32 or T32 instructions) in either all uppercase or all lowercase. You must not use mixed case. Labels and comments can be in uppercase, lowercase, or mixed case.

        AREA     A32ex, CODE, READONLY
                                ; Name this block of code A32ex

        ENTRY                   ; Mark first instruction to execute
        MOV      r0, #10        ; Set up parameters
        MOV      r1, #3
        ADD      r0, r0, r1     ; r0 = r0 + r1
        MOV      r0, #0x18      ; angel_SWIreason_ReportException
        LDR      r1, =0x20026   ; ADP_Stopped_ApplicationExit
        SVC      #0x123456      ; AArch32 semihosting (formerly SWI)
        END                     ; Mark end of file

To make source files easier to read, you can split a long line of source into several lines by placing a backslash character (\) at the end of the line. The backslash must not be followed by any other characters, including spaces and tabs. The assembler treats the backslash followed by end-of-line sequence as white space. You can also use blank lines to make your code more readable.


Do not use the backslash followed by end-of-line sequence within quoted strings.

The limit on the length of lines, including any extensions using backslashes, is 4095 characters.

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