The Ultimate SOLIDWORKS CAD Admin Guide

A comprehensive guide to SOLIDWORKS CAD Setup For IT Professionals

This Guide is for SOLIDWORKS CAD Admins and IT professionals to help consolidate the information that is important to you. We'll discuss licensing options, how to set  up an efficient CAD environment, how to upgrade, and more. Refer to this guide to address common questions that arise for SOLIDWORKS based design teams.


How is SOLIDWORKS Licensed?

Choosing a SOLIDWORKS License Option

When you are ready to purchase, there are two different SOLIDWORKS licensing options that give you the ability to buy or rent SOLIDWORKS products. Those licensing types include term licenses and perpetual licenses.


Choosing a SOLIDWORKS License Option, SOLIDWORKS Admin Guideore about options to rent vs. buy SOLIDWORKS with term or perpetual licenses.

What is a SOLIDWORKS Term License?

SOLIDWORKS term licenses offer a short-term commitment with the flexibility to match your workload and expenses. They are available to rent in increments of 3 months or 1 year. Term licenses offer a considerably lower upfront initial investment that is attractive to startups or freelancers as well as to people who want to buy SOLIDWORKS for personal use.

For a full list of products available for term licensing and answers to some commonly asked questions, click the button below.

What is a SOLIDWORKS Perpetual License?

There are two different types of perpetual licenses to choose from: Standalone and SNL (SolidNetWork Licenses).

A perpetual license is by far the most popular option for SOLIDWORKS customers. A perpetual license, as the name implies, never expires and will run indefinitely. Perpetual licensing with subscription also offers the lowest total cost of ownership over the long term. Customers get peace of mind knowing that the data and intellectual property that they create will always be accessible and available.

SOLIDWORKS has no plans to retire or stop selling perpetual licenses. They understand that perpetual and term serve different needs, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach for licensing. This is very different from other vendors in the CAD industry like Autodesk and PTC that are eliminating perpetual licenses and are instead only offering term licenses that are more expensive in the long term.

What is a SOLIDWORKS Perpetual Standalone License?

Standalone licenses, as the name implies, are intended for an individual user of SOLIDWORKS or any related product such as Simulation, Composer, or Electrical. It uses an Activate/Deactivate mechanism to entitle the software for use after installation or to move a license entitlement to another device or to a new user at the same company while ensuring that just one license is being used at any one time. Activation is a one-time process that requires that you have internet or email access to complete the process. Once activated, you do not need to be online to use your software.

What is a SOLIDWORKS Network License or SOLIDWORKS SNL License?

Network licenses (also called Floating Perpetual licenses, or SNL licenses) let you to stretch your investment across all your users. SNL relies on a utility that runs on a computer that is in the same network as the users. Any computer can be used – it just needs to be on all the time. Here's how it works: The SNL (license Manager) hosts the license(s), which contain the products purchased. When a user starts SOLIDWORKS or any related license or add-in, The Computer checks with the SNL to see if those products are available or in use. Once a user closes their software, the license is immediately released back to the server for another user to access.

SOLIDWORKS licenses come in three levels: Standard, Professional, and Premium. Learn More>

How do I set up my Team for Success with SOLIDWORKS?

These steps will help you as an administrator, plan and implement an environment that will help your design process be efficient, effective, and allow maximum data leverage across your organization. 

Step 1: Design standardization 

Design and data standards allow for consistent output throughout the organization. Standards can be implemented in many ways in SOLIDWORKS, from templates to custom properties and folder structures. Learn more.

Step 2: Have a mentoring Session and Cover Anything from Top Down Design, Surfacing, Simulation and more
Start strong in SOLIDWORKS by educating your team on Top-Down Design. This is methodology can simplify assembly instruction and the assembly process. This is a great first Mentoring session for teams to explore the unique capabilities of your software and talk through exisiting design constraints. Schedule an Application Mentoring Session on Top Down Design. 

How do I set my Team up for Success with SOLIDWORKS?

Step 3: Training And Certification

Organizations who embrace SOLIDWORKS training and certification maximize their software investment, by ensuring users have the skills to use their tools fully and efficiently. GoEngineer’s SOLIDWORKS Training courses are designed to help individuals at any level improve their design and productivity skills. Training is available in person, online, and self-paced to accomodate any schedule.


SOLIDWORKS Certification

SOLIDWORKS offers 13 certifications ranging from the job specific like Sheet Metal, to the entry level SOLIDWORKS Associate. Earning a certification displays that a designer has a well rounded understanding of all the tools available in SOLIDWORKS. Certification exams are free for customers under active subscription. 

Step 4: Version Standardization

For teams of 10 or more individual SOLIDWORKS users, it is recommended that an  administrative image  be used. With an administrative image, SOLIDWORKS is installed and administered by a single installation image, which can be located on a network or in a central file repository. Because the image includes installation files, serial number information, and can include customized settings, it allows for standardized installations across the organization. 

Step 5: Complete the SOLIDWORKS CAD Administration Training Course

Whether you are an individual user, a small group of designers, or a large organization with a collaborative engineering environment, the SOLIDWORKS CAD Administration Course  will provide information that you need to understand how to run SOLIDWORKS effectively and efficiently. Lessons include: Installation, Toolbox, Admin Portal, Troubleshooting tools, the CAD Admin Dashboard, and more.

Step 6: Keep Users Up to date with SoLIDWORKS Updates

Refer to GoEngineer's expert written content library to help users troubleshoot issues, learn new features, and ensure you never miss an important SOLIDWORKS update.


Helpful Blogs for SOLIDWORKS Admins

SOLIDWORKS Admin Portal: View Active Computers

SOLIDWORKS CAD     Aug 04, 2022

Using the SOLIDWORKS Admin Portal, you can track which computer is active on any serial number tied to your account. If your SOLIDWORKS login does not have admin user rights, please ask your current admin for the name of the active computer, or request that your current admin changes your user rights.

Setting up SOLIDWORKS for an efficient and effective design team.

SOLIDWORKS CAD     May 13, 2016

Having efficient and effective design teams is highly important in today’s competitive world. Product development is no longer isolated to engineering as it has been in the past and now includes business operations apart from engineering with many functional areas benefiting from CAD and design data.

Best practices for parallel installations of SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS Tips & Tricks     Jan 01, 2020
A “Parallel Installation” of SOLIDWORKS is any time more than one version (i.e. 2011, 2012, 2013, 201X, etc.) of SOLIDWORKS is installed and operating on a single system. This setup does not require additional licenses as both versions operate under the same serial number and the same license runs both installations.

Network license management for SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS CAD     May 21, 2013
The license scheme was changed starting with version 2010 so that, moving forward, the license software itself syncs with the SolidWorks Activation Server to directly check out the license pool for the floating network license. With this in mind, all that is needed is an installation disc (or downloaded data set) and the SolidWorks floating network serial number.

How to change the default SOLIDWORKS version in parallell installations.

SOLIDWORKS Tips & Tricks     Jul 27, 2016

If it's necessary to have multiple versions of  SOLIDWORKS  installed on your computer, it can be an inconvenience if every time we double click on a SOLIDWORKS file, it is opened in the wrong version. In this article, you will learn how to change which version of SOLIDWORKS opens your files when double-clicking on them in File Explorer.

How to borrow a SOLIDWORKS License Blog

SOLIDWORKS Tips & Tricks     Apr 20, 2014

If you need to borrow a  SOLIDWORKS license , navigate to the SolidNetWork License Manager on the Client from your Windows Start icon, select All Programs, then go to your version of SOLIDWORKS' folder, then SOLIDWORKS Tools. 

Changing the Serial Number within SOLIDWORKS

SOLIDWORKS Tips & Tricks      Jun 21, 2015

The SOLIDWORKS serial number is a crucial piece for licensing certain add-ins (Toolbox, CircuitWorks, Costing, etc.) or controlling how the license behaves (standalone versus floating network licensing). At some point or another they may need to be switched around. This process explains how this is to be done to prevent trapping standalone licenses with machines no longer using those licenses.

Must Have SOLIDWORKS Admin Resources

Refer to these pages regularly to ensure you never miss a beat. 

The GoEngineer Community, a forum for SOLIDWORKS users of all levels.

Join the GoEngineer Community

The GoEngineer Community is a interactive forum for SOLIDWORKS users of all levels. The CAD Admin Group and PDM Admin Group are focused solely on tips and questions that pertain to IT professionals.

GoEngineer Customer Portal Screen

GoEngineer Customer Portal

The Portal puts important account information at your finger tips. Access your licenses, manage your renewal billing, and request quotes for additional tools. You can even control which of your users have access to serial numbers, tech support, and other information.

SOLIDWORKS Service Pack Downloads from GoEngineer

SOLIDWORKS Download Links

These download links are made available for a full installation data sets that can be used for any installation of SOLIDWORKS (client-side or server-side) you may need at these versions.

SOLIDWORKS CAD Administration - Self Paced Training (supported)

CAD Admin Training Course

The CAD Administration Self-Paced Course offers comprehensive knowledge on licensing, installation, troubleshooting techniques, hardware, and more.

we Want the newest SOLIDWORKS, How do we Upgrade?

It’s easy to get confused when it comes to upgrading to a newer version of SOLIDWORKS. Follow the tutorials below for step by step instructions on how to upgrade your team's SOLIDWORKS licenses.

how to Guides for upgrading SOLIDWORKS:

To upgrade your existing SOLIDWORKS installation to the package you’ve purchased, please take the following steps

SOLIDWORKS CAD     Mar 04, 2019

With the latest buzz about new versions of  SOLIDWORKS , it’s easy to get confused about some of the basics when it comes to upgrading to a newer version. For instance, technically  upgrading   SOLIDWORKS refers to moving major versions like 2017 to 2018, while  updating  refers to service pack changes. We will use this convention throughout this article.

To upgrade your existing SOLIDWORKS installation to the package you’ve purchased, please take the following steps

SOLIDWORKS CAD      Mar 15, 2014
You just purchased an upgrade to your SOLIDWORKS license, and now it’s time to reap the benefits. To upgrade your existing SOLIDWORKS installation to the package you’ve purchased, please take the following steps (please make sure to have your SOLIDWORKS serial number on hand).


With over 125 certified SOLIDWORKS technicians, GoEngineer support is your go-to support network for fixing errors given by the software, and investigating potential bugs in the software. 



Pacific Time


Mountain Time


Central Time


Eastern Time

Contact GoEngineer SOLIDWORKS Support


Call GoEngineer Technical Support at 1-888-559-6167

Call US

Call our technical support team directly at:
(Once call connects, enter your extension. See options   below   )

Email GoEngineer Technical Support at
Email Us

Send us an email at:    

Activating and Deactivating your SOLIDWORKS licenses

Follow these best practices for managing your licenses.

Learn activation and deactivation methods to allow users to work on multiple devices. Methods include Automatic (online) or manual (via email).

Frequently asked questions

For the future management of your license you would want to deactivate the license from your machine before doing any of the following:
  • Taking the license home to do work
  • Bringing the license from home back to the office to do work
  • Uninstalling SOLIDWORKS
  • Moving from an older workstation to a new, replacement workstation
  • Upgrading operating systems on a workstation
  • Changing hardware on the workstation (Hard Drives, Motherboards, Video Cards, etc.)
  • Changing serial numbers on a workstation
  • Repurposing a computer for non-SolidWorks use
  • Do I need to Track Licenses and Users
Yes, Managing licenses correctly will help ensure that your users have what they need when they need, and help the Admin know where specific licenses/Products are. Tracking can also help expedite any support cases involving licenses. License information should be reviewed and updated regularly.

Admins need to modify their Network to read the new license added to the network.


Modify Installation Instructions

To update the license count on your SOLIDWORKS License Server have a person on your IT do this on the server:


1. In Windows, click ‘Start,’ ‘All Programs,’ ‘SOLIDWORKS 20XX,’ ‘SolidWorks SolidNetWork License Manager,’ ‘SolidNetWork License Administrator.’

2. Select ‘Modify’ located on the ‘Server Administration’ tab.

3. In the SolidNetWork License Activation Wizard dialog box select ‘Activate/Reactivate’.

4. Go ahead and active the server through the internet.

Yes, we got tired of saying 'there's no class for this' we made one! Take our SOLIDWORKS CAD Administration - Self Paced Training (Supported) course. It is a clear and comprehensive collection of everything a CAD Admin needs to succeed.
Yes, for customers with PDM or SOLIDWORKS Manage we offer Managed Administration services. Learn more


Still Have Questions About  SOLIDWORKS?

Reach out to GoEngineer and an expert will follow-up with you.



Additional Resources

Take Advantage of GoEngineer’s Extensive Knowledge Base and Resources

GoEngineer Knowledge Base and website search

Find a Solution

Our robust Knowledge Base contains over 12,000 resources to help answer your product design questions. From basic CAD questions to in-depth guides and tutorials, find your solution here. Find a Solution

Get Certified Professional SOLIDWORKS Training at GoEngineer


Improve your skills with professional training and certifications in SOLIDWORKS, CAM, 3D Printing, and 3D Scanning offered four ways: self-paced, online, on-site, or in-classroom. Certified Training Courses

GoEngineer blog page


#1 Technical Resource Worldwide - Right at your fingertips. Search or browse through hundreds of SOLIDWORKS tips & tricks, additive manufacturing product developments, announcements, how-to guides, and tutorials. Blog

GoEngineer YouTube Channel

YouTube Channel

Our YouTube channel hosts hundreds of educational tutorials, product demonstrations, recorded webinars, and best practices for all of our products and services. GoEngineer's YouTube Channel

Order 3D printing materials and consumables from GoEngineer


Order 3D printing materials and consumables, enroll in SOLIDWORKS training classes, and buy official GoEngineer gear directly from our online store. Online Store

Free SOLIDWORKS tools offered from GoEngineer


Enjoy this collection of small ‘macros’ that were tailored to help our customers. These free SOLIDWORKS tools are for you to use, review, and modify. SOLIDWORKS Automation Tools

Webinars offered by GoEngineer


Our engineering webinars are hosted by some of the top experts in the industry. They are always recorded, always free, and always offer a live Q&A. WEBINARS

3D design and part printing services available at GoEngineer

3D Printing Services

Need to 3D print a part? Our Additive Manufacturing experts will 3D print your part and deliver it to you using the latest technology on one of our professional FDM, PolyJet, SL, or Metal 3D printers. 3D Printing Services