Open the Arduino IDE and go into Preferences -> Board Manager
Copy and paste this url into the additional board manager
Press Ok in the bottom left corner
Go into Tools -> Board -> Board Manager
Navigate to ESP8266 by ESP8266 Community and install the package for arduino
Choose the version of ESP8266 in Tools -> Board
Now to test if your ESP8266 works with the Arduino IDE.
Assumes that you are using a NodeMCU
Connect an LED to D7 because that is pin 13 in the arduino (NOTE: the pinouts on the NODEMCU have been remapped)
Copy and paste the Arduino Blink Code from below.
I have personally found that sometimes the Arduino IDE has some trouble uploading the script to the NodeMCU 12E. To fix the problem I press the reset button onboard the NodeMCU and then flash the chip (there is also a flash button). Then try upload again and it should work. If it still doesnt work try unplugging the ESP8266 from your USB port then pluging it back in and repeat above.
When this occurs the console has lots of scary errors when trying to upload. To test the syntax and errors of your script use the verify button to see if you have any mistakes in your script. Then upload the script when your code is error free.
Blink - Arduino Code
Trent Conway - Engineering Student at Monash University