In order to simulate firmware inside Proteus all you need to do is specify the program file and clock frequencies as properties of the microcontroller part on the schematic.
All Proteus VSM processor models are able to run binary files (i.e. Intel or Motorola Hex files) produced by any assembler or compiler. It follows then that there is no limitation in your tool choice when working with Proteus VSM simulation. However, if you do use a binary file the debugging facilities available are very limited since the processor model has no way to correlate the machine code it is executing with your original source program.
Fortunately, most compilers also produce symbolic debug data files that contain extra information to be used by debuggers and other tools. The Proteus VSM processor models are able to load the debug data files produced by these compilers which enables us to provide full high-level language debugging facilities including the ability to display and step through the original source code as well as display the contents of program variables as the code executes.
The VSM Studio IDE fully integrated into the Proteus Design Suite and is provided as standard with all professional purchases. Learn more about VSM Studio
In addition to normal functionality VSM Studio is capable of detecting and configuring all the (supported) compilers you have installed for use with Proteus. It will even manage the download and install of free compilers for you.
Working through VSM Studio will guarantee full debugging capabilities (single stepping, variables display, etc.) inside the Proteus VSM simulator and will remove all manual configuration problems.
It may be that your compiler of choice is not supported by VSM Studio or you may prefer to write your code in your own tool suite. Proteus VSM supports the vast majority of tools on the market, allowing single step debugging of both high and low level instructions.
If using a tool suite other than VSM Studio you will need to:
Manually configure your compiler to produce a Proteus compatible debug output file.
Specify that output file as the Program property
If you are not working with VSM Studio the following sections outline the debug files types used for the various microcontroller families supported in Proteus.
Regardless of compiler choice you should specify the ELF file as the program property of the schematic part. Make sure the corresponding DWARF file is in the same directory as the ELF file.