The Secret Code of the SolidNetWork License Options File – Decoded

By show of hands: how many of you have children?  How many of you have siblings?  How many remember the days of “Daddy! Ellen took my do-o-oll!”  or “Mommy! The boys ate all the ice cream and there’s none left for me-e-e!”  or maybe the kids are older, and it’s “Dad, I thought you said that game was just for me because Ricky’s too young for those kinds of video games? “

I don’t see enough hands.  You, yes, you in the polo shirt… and you over there at your “open collaboration environment”-style desk… don’t be afraid to raise your hand.  No?

Ok then, how many of you are CAD Administrators and remember the days of “Scott! Emily’s using my SolidWorks Premium license.”  Or “Hey, Scott; there are no more SolidWorks Simulation licenses left for me.  Or maybe the mad scientist of the team insists “Scott, I thought you said we bought the SolidWorks Flow Simulation license just for me… why’s it in use?”

Look at all those raised hands!

What?…  What’s that you say?…  You say you’re still getting those kinds of complaints every day?  Well that’s silly! You’re the CAD Administrator… you’re in charge of the licensing and the SolidNetWork License (SNL) Manager… you have to power to make them stop coming to you to complain …err…for help.  Have you ever heard of an “Options File”?  No?   Then sit back, relax, and allow me to enlighten you.

If you have networked (sometimes called distributed) licenses, then you have used the SNL Manager to see who is using the licenses, to allow people to borrow and return licenses, and to control the order in which licenses are pulled from the license pool.  But there is a secret portal into a world of power and possibilities that gives you more refined and discrete control over who may use which licenses!  It’s called the “Options File”.

<Queue choir, sprinkling of glitter, and a beam of warm light from above>

Since the Options File is written in code and has its own syntax, (just like the teenagers with their krayzee txt msgs these days,) we must learn how to translate your needs into a language your SNL Manager can understand.   To keep it simple, and to be able to apply the rules easily, let’s make three groups of SolidWorks product users: the Patriots, the Jets, and the Eagles; and we’ll put three users in each group:

GROUPS Patriots Jets Eagles
brady sanchez vick
welker holmes babin
woodhead greene celek

NOTE: The names are case-sensitive and cannot contain spaces, so I’ve chosen to give the Group names a capital letter, but not the user names.

Patriots are the only ones who have access to SolidWorks Premium
Jets have access to SolidWorks Professional
Eagles have access to SolidWorks Professional and are the only ones who have access to Simulation Professional

Into an empty text file, you’ll define the groups using the syntax:

GROUP <group_name> <user1>  <user2> <user3>

Next define that one group has access to a certain SolidWorks product, while other groups do not using the syntax:

<OPERATION> <solidworks_product> GROUP <group_to_which_the_operation_applies>

So our Options File should look like this:

#define the groups: give the group a name and a list of user.
#Remember that names are case sensitive and cannot contain spaces.

GROUP Patriots brady welker woodhead

GROUP Jets sanchez holmes greene

GROUP Eagles vick babin celek

# define that Patriots have access to SolidWorks Premium, while Jets and Eagles do not.

EXCLUDE swofficepremium GROUP Jets Eagles

# define that Jets and Eagles have access to SolidWorks Professional. (This does not exclude anyone)

INCLUDE swofficepro GROUP Jets Eagles

# define that Eagles have access to Simulation Professional, while Patriots and Jets do not

EXCLUDE cae_cwadvpro GROUP Patriots Jets

Personally, I like to annotate my scripts in English so that I know what I intended the “computer-ese” code to do. You, too, can annotate your script by placing a # symbol at the beginning of every line that is in plain English.

For more Options File keywords, see the FlexLM End User Guide. Hint: page 108.

Once you’ve set up your Options File, save it as sw_d.opt  (no substitutions),

The Secret Code of the SolidNetWork License Options File – Decoded




into the folder:

C:\Program Files (x86)\SolidWorks Corp 2012\SolidNetWork License Manager\licenses

(Unless you did not install in the default location, in which case, I hope you remember where you installed!)

Once the all-powerful Options File has been saved, you must activate it into the SNL Manager.

Open the SNL Manager, click Modify.

This will bring you to the Activation Manager.  Click Activate/Reactivate a software license.

The Secret Code of the SolidNetWork License Options File – Decoded

Click to check the check-box to use an Options File.  Click Browse.  Select the sw_d.opt file you just created; click Save. Click Next to reactivate the SNL Server license with the Options File.

The Secret Code of the SolidNetWork License Options File – Decoded

You may celebrate when you get your Activation/Reactivation Succeeded notification!

The Secret Code of the SolidNetWork License Options File – Decoded

You see the power that has been granted to you, now don’t you?  Let’s make it official.


I hereby dub thee Sir CAD Administrator

I hereby dub thee Lady CAD Administratrix

So go now.  Go, take up your mouse and keyboard. Take up the power that has been waiting at your fingertips all this time. 

Psst!  You have glitter on your shoulder.  😉



3 Responses

  1. David Crockett
    David Crockett
    June 19, 2014 at 10:04 am | | Reply

    thanks for this great guide. Once an option file is in use is it still editable? or do you have to do the MODIFY > Activate/Reactivate step anytime you modify the options file?

  2. Joy Garon
    Joy Garon
    February 15, 2013 at 9:15 am | | Reply

    Great post Elba! (or should I say Leading Lady of Licensing :-))

  3. Marc Godbout
    Marc Godbout
    February 14, 2013 at 4:48 pm | | Reply

    Very helpful post Elba-Gloria. We learned that the inner workings of the options file can be frustrating to first-time users. This info will reduce our SOS calls to the application support crew!

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