Convert your SOLIDWORKS standalone license to an online license

What can’t you do online these days? Why not convert your SOLIDWORKS standalone licenses to online licenses?

What is an online license I hear you say?

An online license allows you to work between an unlimited number of machines using the existing SOLIDWORKS installation and your own individual profile. To use your online license, you’ll need to login with your SOLIDWORKS ID, the very same information that you currently use to access the SOLIDWORKS Customer Portal. If you don’t already have a SOLIDWORKS ID, you can register for access to the Customer Portal here.

What does this mean?

This now means that the days of activating/deactivating your licenses through the SOLIDWORKS help menu are gone. No longer do you need to get frustrated because you have left your license active on another machine. Through the use of online licensing you will be prompted to login when launching SOLIDWORKS, don’t worry if you did not close your  active session on the last machine as you can now remotely logout of your other machine. Not only this, but if you have left a file open it will even prompt you to save before logging out and closing the session.

What else does it mean?

We all know how frustrating it can be working on a different machine when it doesn’t have the customisations you are used to, or even worse when someone else has customised it in a completely different way. Well, previously the solution here would be to use the copy settings wizard to take your personalised settings with you, online licensing removes the need for this as your settings can be synchronized to your account. This means that no matter which machine you login to the settings will be exactly how you like them.
But wait, there’s more…if you’re going to be working away from the office, with limited/no access to the internet, you can now take your license offline for up to 30 days. This means you can continue to work no matter where you go.

What are the requirements?

Online licensing is available to anyone using standalone SOLIDWORKS 2018 or newer and is compatible with all products except SOLIDWORKS PDM and Network licenses. Online licensing can also be reversed to machine activation at any time if needed.
Online licensing is only suited to licenses being assigned to a specific user. If you currently use one license between multiple people, online licensing is not suitable as it is tied to a single SOLIDWORKS ID. If this is the case, a network license is probably the best option for you.

So, how does it work?

First thing first, it is up to the CAD admin within your organisation to decide if online licensing can be used. If you are the CAD admin or if your CAD admin has confirmed the use of online licensing, you will need to follow the following process to activate online licensing:

1. Launch SOLIDWORKS on the machine with the standalone licenses.

2. Deactivate the license from this machine  Help > Deactivate Licenses

3. Once deactivated, login to using your SOLIDWORKS ID

4. From the drop-down under you name select Admin Portal

If you have issues logging into the Admin Portal you may need to speak to your CAD admin to invite you as a member.

5. In the Admin Portal select the Products tab from the top menu bar

6. From the list of products search for the product you wish to convert to an online license and select the product name (ensuring it is the correct serial number).

7. In the product details window select the option Change to Online Licensing

8. You will then be faced with a confirmation window, stating you can change the license back to a machine activation at any point.
Click OK to confirm.

You will now see that the activation type has changed to Online Licensing.

9. If the product was not assigned, this can be done under the Members tab on the main menu and then selecting the member you wish to assign a product to.

10. From the list labelled Available Products, select the product you wish to assign to the user then click Assign Product.

This product will then appear in the assigned product section in the member details window. You can also remove products from members within here using the same technique.

11. Once the product is assigned you are ready to go. The first time you bootup SOLIDWORKS after changing to online licensing it will display the activation wizard. Select to activate the product and an error message will appear stating that the license has been changed to online licensing. Simply close this window and restart SOLIDWORKS one more time.

12. When you bootup SOLIDWORKS once more you will be greeted by the sign in page where you can use your SOLIDWORKS ID.

After logging in you are ready to go design!


Kieran Young is an Applications Engineer at TMS CADCentre, a SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller in Scotland.

You can read more from Kieran on the TMS CADCentre blog

TMS CADCentre is a SOLIDWORKS Reseller based in Scotland providing CAD Design Software, analysis software & product data management software. Founded in 1981, TMS CADCentre is the only UK SOLIDWORKS Reseller based and funded within Scotland and have been providing SOLIDWORKS software, training and support since 1996 when the product was first launched in the UK.