So this is part 4 and the final part of our blog series on
the new SOLIDWORKS Admin Portal and Online Licensing. In this final segment I
wanted to summarise with some of the headline messages and FAQs.
Is Online Licensing now the standard for SOLIDWORKS going forward?
No, Online Licensing is just another way of accessing your software.
Traditional activation based licensing is here to stay, as is Network Licensing
(SNL), perpetual (permanent) and term (rental). Online licensing is just
another, optional means of working
with your software.
What are the main exceptions?
Only SOLIDWORKS 2018 and newer licenses will support online licensing, and only
standalone licenses are supported (so no floating licenses). For the Admin
Portal you can manage this account with any version of SOLIDWORKS- it doesn’t
have to be SOLIDWORKS 2018.
Is online licensing for sharing my SOLIDWORKS license between me and my
No, to share licenses, customers should use SolidNetWork Licensing (SNL) as
online licensing is related to a named user login and assignment. It is ideal
for the individual who uses SOLIDWORKS in more than one location- think a home
and office environment. The SOLIDWORKS EULA (End User License Agreement) prohibits sharing of online service logins. Online licensing is for a named user to be able to access their SOLIDWORKS license on multiple computers i.e. office and home.
Can a user/member have more than one licensed managed by online licensing?
Yes, so long as they are different product types/flavours. Online licensing
assignments can also span multiple companies. So if you are a contractor with
SOLIDWORKS, you can make your own SOLIDWORKS (CAD) license online enabled, and
then when contracting for a company take on their SOLIDWORKS Simulation license
as an online license as well. You cannot
be assigned to more than one online license of the same type/flavour, i.e. 2
SOLIDWORKS CAD online licenses.
Can an online license product be used simultaneously on more than one PC?
No, this would not be possible. Initially to swap over to an online licensed
product you must deactivate in the traditional sense to ensure no PCs are using
the software. Then when the license is online enabled, you login to the
software. If a login session is detected elsewhere then the original session
will be forced to be logged out if you choose to continue.
Can I swap back and forth between online and traditional activation based
Yes, and you can do this as often as you wish- so long as the prerequisites are
fulfilled. For example when initially going from Machine Activation to Online,
you must deactivate the machine holding the SOLIDWORKS license. When going back
from Online to Machine Activation you need to have logged out of the SOLIDWORKS
session so no active sessions are seen as in use.
I often forget to transfer/deactivate my SOLIDWORKS license at work when I
intend to use at home and get stuck. Will I hit the same problem with Online
No, and really this is the main benefit of online licensing. If the previous
login is detected on the other machine you will be met with a message which
allows that previous session to be forced to be logged out allowing you to continue
What sort of internet connection is needed to run online licensing, and can I
disconnect when I have opened the software?
standard Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection will suffice. This could be a public Wi-Fi,
or phone hotspot- basically anything that allows a connection to the internet.
This connection also needs to be continuous as SOLIDWORKS uses a “heartbeat”
method to frequently query the SOLIDWORKS activation servers to ensure the
license isn’t being requested for use elsewhere. If a web connection is lost
for more than a few minutes, you will be asked to save work and close the
software. If you have a prolonged period without a web connection then you
won’t be able to reopen SOLIDWORKS at all so this should be carefully considered
if you choose to enable online licensing.
Is there an offline mode?
For situations like point 8 (which you would have to foresee) or if you are
perhaps travelling and know your network connectivity is not guaranteed, you
can use an offline mode for up to 30 days. You must launch SOLIDWORKS with a
connection first, and pull down the profile menu to take a license offline. In
unforeseen circumstances where the internet connection is lost, or you are in a
location where a connection is unavailable, you won’t be able to launch
SOLIDWORKS unless you had setup offline mode in advance.
In offline mode, can other sessions be opened on other PCs?
Offline mode basically locks the license to that machine. You can uncheck
Offline Mode from the profile menu (if you regain a web connection) or you can
wait for the 30 day period to lapse. Note, 30 days is the longest period for
offline mode. When this lapses the user will be asked to login properly and
could then take the license offline for a further 30 days. The license cannot
be reassigned or revoked by an Admin during offline mode either, so if an
employee leaves the company during this period, the Admin would have to wait
until the 30 days has expired.
Why would I see multiple login screens when using online licensing?
The login screen will most likely be different,
with the first being the login to SOLIDWORKS using the SOLIDWORKS ID, and the
second being more of a local login for systems such as SOLIDWORKS PDM or
SOLIDWORKS PCB- these logins will be completely unrelated to SOLIDWORKS Online
Can a user mix an Online License product with other traditional product types?
Yes, for example SOLIDWORKS (CAD) could be online enabled, but have a
SOLIDWORKS Composer installation using activation based licensing and
SolidNetWork Licensing (SNL) for accessing their PDM software.
What if I am reassigned an online license to a “higher level” product, but my
PC install is not yet setup for this?
Online licensing is purely the means to validate your access to the software.
The local install must coincide with this to allow you to use the installed
modules. So let’s say early in the year you have SOLIDWORKS Standard installed and
you are actively using it. Later, you are assigned a higher level and therefore
more feature-rich product like SOLIDWORKS Premium (or you have your software
upgraded). It is not enough to just reallocate the license to you and have the
login facilitate access to the Premium features, you would have to modify your
local machine install(s) to ensure that Premium products are installed on the
local hard drive. If there is any expectation this could happen, then it may be
best to install the highest level product your company has as a matter of
cause. This is all done via Control Panel > Programs and Features and you
can find SOLIDWORKS in the list and Change the install.
Does online licensing mean I am using SOLIDWORKS in the cloud?
No, online licensing is purely the means of validating your access to use the
software- everything is still locally installed and used.
Can I jump on to any machine (a colleague, or company I am working with as a
contractor) and start using SOLIDWORKS with my login?
With some set up yes, but by default no. A local install carries a serial key, and
behind the scenes in the Admin Portal that serial key will be set to be online
enabled or machine based activation. Therefore the PCs you can use your login
on would have to have their SOLIDWORKS product installed with the serial key
assigned to you. This can be modified by using the Control Panel > Programs
and Features and modifying the SOLIDWORKS install to take on your serial key.
I get this error when launching SOLIDWORKS and logging in- what does it mean?
To see this message SOLIDWORKS would have determined the serial key used for
the install version of SOLIDWORKS must be Online enabled as you would have been
asked to login, so the issue here is that your login account has not been
attached to the SOLIDWORKS license properly. As the message suggests you would
need to ask the person who controls things in the Admin Portal to help you out.
To find out who this may be, you can login to MySOLIDWORKS and click the Admin Portal
link from your profile menu- this should tell you your Admin user’s details.
17- Can I assign two users to an online license so they can share it?
No, only one user can be assigned to an online license and the login information cannot be shared.
Is there a cost to use Online Licensing?
No this is available to any customer that currently has a SOLIDWORKS 2018 product or
newer, as 2018 is the first year to support online licensing.
Must I enter my login credentials for each session of SOLIDWORKS- I am worried
about automated tasks that close and reopen the software like Task Scheduler?
No, you would login once and then would only need to login subsequently if you
use the “Logout” option in the profile menu, or if an alternative machine takes
on the license which would have forced you to logout on the original.
I have multiple online licenses assigned to me- can I run one product on one
machine and the other on an alternative?
It is true some SOLIDWORKS products run independently from one another i.e.
SOLIDWORKS CAD and SOLIDWORKS Composer are two separate applications. However
online licensing is all based on user accounts, so all of your online licensed products
follow where you login. To prevent misuse, you cannot have an active login on
more than one machine so unfortunately multiple online licenses assigned to you
cannot be split up.
21- For the SOLIDWORKS Admin Portal, who becomes
the default Administrator?
This would be the first person to access the account. Further Admin users can
be promoted and then once there is a 2nd admin the first can be
demoted. If the sole Admin user leaves the company, contact us and we can ask
SOLIDWORKS to reset things to allow another Admin to be designated.
I see some “External Members” that I cannot delete and they are no longer part
of my company?
Contact us and we can have SOLIDWORKS remove these members.
We deploy our SOLIDWORKS installations using Administrative Images- can this
work with Online Licenses?
Yes, in the 2018 Options Editor for Admin Images you can create a machine name
for the user and set whether their license is online ready. This will set
things up for their first login to the program.
Do resellers see our Admin Portal information so they can help me?
We do not see this as default- of course we can use our screen sharing
tools to help you out, but things like deleting old Admins etc. must be done by
SOLIDWORKS, but we as the reseller can put this request in.
Can I be Admin or a Member across multiple company accounts?
Yes - contractors for example may have their own personal copy of SOLIDWORKS
as an online license, but also be granted a separate online license for
Simulation by the company they are working with. As a result this
person would be a member across two accounts. You can only be assigned one
serial key per flavour of product, otherwise the login wouldn’t know which to
use. So only one SOLIDWORKS CAD product could be assigned to you. For Admins,
you can administrate multiple accounts too as it may be you are the CAD or IT
Manager for a group of companies and so want overall control of license
If you register as an Admin for more than one account you will see a "Change Company" option when logged in so you can switch to manage whichever you choose.
Thanks for taking an interest in SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing and the Admin
Portal. Hopefully you have enough information to make a decision on whether to
utilise these two new but optional tools. If you have any further questions not
covered in these blog posts then please contact our support team.
You may also find some useful information on the official SOLIDWORKS Help file on this subject.
By Adam Hartles
Group Technical Manager
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03 Using SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing