Using typical HD44780-compatible LCDs with the Arduino development platform normally takes up six or seven digital output pins - which can be inconvenient at the least or hinder more complex projects at the most. However there are many ways to reduce the number of interface pins required between an Arduino and LCD module, and one of these methods is demonstrated by Matt who uses a 74HC595 shift register to manipulate data between the Arduino and LCD with only three digital output pins.
When working with 74HC595 shift registers such as in the project above, consider using the Freetronics EXPAND: Expansion/Shift register module. It contains the 74HC595 shift register on a small board with standard 0.1" spacing holes that are perfect for soldering header pins into for breadboard use, and a small "power on" LED. By doing this you have a robust vehicle to insert and remove easily without tools or the risk of bending the IC pins. This is only one of our large range of prototyping modules - check the full range today!