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Take Control of Your SOLIDWORKS Network Licenses Using Options Files

SOLIDWORKS Network LicensesSOLIDWORKS Network Licenses allow companies to let users share licenses between each other to make better use of the licenses that they own. But sometimes, it can feel a bit like you’re playing tug-of-war.   

Let me introduce you to the SOLIDWORKS Network License options file. Options files allow you to control who can get what licenses and for how long. This allows organizations to ensure licenses are available to the users who need them and the end of the tug-of-war game for your licenses.

Adding an Options File in SOLIDWORKS

Options files are created through the SolidNetWork License manager on the server. Please check out the video below from an episode of Straight from Support to see how to create an options file, how to check which features you have in your SNL, and what their names are in the options file.

Creating Groups

The first step to create an options file is to create groups for your users. These groups will then be used to determine while users can have which licenses. Groups can be made up of users or computers and users/computers can be in multiple groups.

To create a group of users, you will need to use the command GROUP <GROUP NAME> <GROUP MEMBER 1> <GROUP MEMBER 2> etc. In the example below, I created a group called ADMINS, a group called ENGINEERS, and a group called INTERNS.

To create a group of PC’s, you can use either IP addresses or computer names. To create this kind of group we will use the command HOST_GROUP <GROUP NAME> <COMPUTER 1 IP/NAME> <COMPUTER 2 IP/NAME> etc. In the example below, I created a group called SIMPCS. These computers will follow the rules for the SIMPCS group regardless of which user is logged in.

creating groups SOLIDWORKS network license

Setting Restrictions

Now that our groups are created, we can start creating restrictions on how these groups can use our SOLIDWORKS licenses. We’ll start with the TIMEOUT command. This allows us to control the amount of time that a user can keep a license without actively using it. You can also the use TIMEOUTALL command to set a time out for all of the licenses on your SNL in addition o the specific licenses you name using the TIMEOUT command.

In the example below, we will use TIMOUTALL <SECONDS> to time out the PDM CAD Editor licenses after 30 minutes., PDM Contributor licenses after 15 minutes, and PDM Editor licenses after 5 minutes.

Setting restrictions solidworks network license

Now we’ll look at the MAX and RESERVE commands. These statements allow us to control the number of licenses users/groups can have.

The MAX command restricts a group to a specific number of licenses. The MAX command uses the syntax MAX <QUANTITY> <FEATURE> <GROUP/HOST_GROUP/USER> <GROUP NAME/USER>. In the example below, the Engineers can only have 2 Visualize licenses at a time.

max command solidworks network license

The RESERVE command sets licenses aside so that a specific group or host group always has these licenses available. The RESERVE command uses the syntax RESERVE <QUANTITY> <FEATURE><GROUP/HOST_GROUP/USER> <GROUP NAME/USER>. In the example below, the groups ENGINEERS will always have four SOLIDWORKS licenses reserved for them, the user tstark will always have a SOLIDWORKS Premium license reserved for him, and the host group SIMPCS will always have one Simulation Professional available to them.

reserve solidworks network license

Now we will look at the MAX_BORROW_HOURS, BORROW_LOWWATER, and EXCLUDE_BORROW commands. These commands restrict how licenses can be borrowed and for how long.

The MAX_BORROW_HOURS command allows you to reduce the maximum borrow time for a user. The syntax is MAX_BORROW_HOURS <FEATURE> <HOURS>. In the example below, I have only allowed users to borrow a license for 60 hours (about the time they would need to borrow a license for a weekend).

borrow SOLIDWORKS Network license

The BORROW_LOWWATER command keeps licenses from being borrowed so that all licenses of a specific feature cannot be borrowed and prevent users from working. In the example below, we have reserved two SOLIDWORKS Standard, two SOLIDWORKS Professional, and one SOLIDWORKS Premium license to always be available for users on the network.

borrow solidworks network license

The EXCLUDE_BORROW command prevents a group or user from borrowing certain licenses. The syntax for the EXCLUDE_BORROW command is EXCLUDE_BORROW <FEATURE> <GROUP/HOST_GROUP/USER> <GROUP NAME/USER. In the example below, we prevented the INTERNS group from borrowing SOLIDWORKS Standard licenses meaning they can only work when connected to the network.

exclude SOLIDWORKS Network License

A final useful command that I want to cover is the EXCLUDEALL command. This allows you to prevent a user from using any of the SNL licenses. This is useful if you have a user taking SOLIDWORKS licenses who should not have access. The syntax is EXCLUDEALL <user>, in the example below, the user loki cannot use any SOLIDWORKS licenses from the SNL.

exclude all solidworks network license

Final Result

The final result is the options file below. This can be plugged into the SNL and used to manage the SOLIDWORKS licenses.

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About the Author

Heather DaweHeather Dawe is a Senior PDM Support Engineer at Fisher Unitech based out of office in Horsham, Pennsylvania and is a graduate of Penn State University with a degree in Nuclear Engineering. Heather has been using SOLIDWORKS for 8 years and has 17 SOLIDWORKS Certifications including her CSWE, CSWP-D, and CSWP-S.