Author: Jesika DiGregori Autodesk, Ideate Inc.

One of the subjects that we handle a lot in our technical support department at Ideate, Inc. is software licensing. We take these issues seriously and realize that the ins and outs of the process can be confusing. We try and educate our customers to the way that licensing is handled so that they can feel more confident in managing their software. As a result I wanted to clarify a subject that comes up often in technical support, software product keys.

Since their addition with the 2010 version of Autodesk software, the product keys have caused some confusion. The largest problem has been that if the software is installed with a product key that does not match the serial number it will fail to activate. The error message that is generated does not specifically indicate that this is the issue. This usually solicits a call into technical support and the product key is one of the first things that we verify. The second frustrating thing with this issue is that the software has to be completely reinstalled to change the product key that was used to install it. This is a more time-consuming fix than verifying that you are using the correct product key in the first place.

In order to mitigate this issue, Autodesk started having the installation checking the entered product key in 2012. This was done to prevent the user from going through the installation using the wrong product key. Unfortunately this can create its own issue, especially for those who were comfortable with the product key usage in the previous version.

The issue with the 2012 and newer software is that since the media will only allow you to use the product keys that match it you can’t also enter the product key for the serial number you are using. This can be a problem for users that have purchased a Suite and a point product. It means that you may not be able to use the media of one to install the other.

In general we have found that you can use the installation for a point product with the product key of an advanced version like a suite that it is contained in. For example, if you have a serial number for Building Design Suite Ultimate, but you only want to install Navisworks Manage you can use the Navisworks Manage installation media.  This will tie all product licenses for the serial number to the computer it is installed onto, in this case the other products contained in Building Design Suite Ultimate, even though only one product was installed.

The opposite is not true. You can’t use a Building Design Suite Ultimate to install your Navisworks Manage specific serial numbers. This means that you need to have the media for both and use the one that matches your serial number. If you want to try and use the media on hand, you can go ahead and launch the install and try the product key. If it accepted you can go ahead and use the media. If it is not accepted you will need to download the media that does match your product key.

Now, all of this only applies to standalone type licenses. The network installations are much more flexible since they do not have to be activated. If you are using network licenses you can install using any media, using the product key that matches the media. The software will then pull the “cheapest” available licenses no matter what media or product key was used to install it.

There is one exception to this. The “one-box” version of Revit that comes with the Building Design Suites is only sold as a part of the Building Design Suite. As a result it will bypass “cheaper” licenses for Revit Architecture, MEP, or Structure and only pull Building Design Suite licenses. If you want to use the “cheaper” licenses first, you will have to install using that matching media.
For your convenience, we have compiled a list of product keys for the currently supported Autodesk software.

For more information on the software solutions, training and consulting Ideate provides, please visit the Ideate Inc. homepage.

    Jesika Digregorio
Jesika Digregorio
Software Engineer

Jesika received her Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Oregon in Eugene where she also spent time studying advanced math. Her work experience includes Junior Designer at an award-winning firm specializing in architecture and land planning, and Intern Architect at a firm that provides services in planning, design, construction documents and construction administration for projects of all sizes. After working in architecture design for several years, Jesika decided to pursue her interest in programming and her love of efficient systems. She now serves as a Software Team Lead for Ideate Software.