Installation for administrators

About licensing options and tools

To maximise the number of available licences, learn which Network Licence Manager (NLM) options are available and what they do. Options include combining licences for multiple products, borrowing licences, using package licence files, modifying licence assignments and creating an options file. There are also tools, such as LMTOOLS and the Licence File Parser, that help you to perform these tasks.

Combining licence files

Through Autodesk Account, you can generate a licence file that consolidates network licences for all your products. However, you can also manually combine network licences. See the instructions for combining licences.

Borrowing licences

You can borrow network licences for some Autodesk products. Borrowing means temporarily removing a licence from the network to use it on an off-line computer. You can specify when the borrowing period begins and ends, but it’s limited to a maximum of six months or the term of your subscription, whichever is shorter. Although an options file isn't required, it gives you more control over borrowing. Using options file entries, you can shorten the time during which people can borrow a licence. Autodesk recommends balancing the duration of borrowing periods so that licences aren’t unavailable for long periods. 

To learn more, see Borrow a licence.

Using an options file

Although an options file isn’t required for basic network licence management, it’s useful for the following: 

  • Controlling licence time-outs and licence borrowing 
  • Assigning different licence-management rules for each server on a network (each server has its own options file) 
  • Defining user groups, reserving licences and restricting licence usage 

For more information, see Configure an options file.

Using cascading licences

Network Licence Manager (NLM) uses cascading, in which NLM automatically switches or substitutes licences according to a ranking hierarchy. NLM uses lower-ranking licences whenever possible. It uses higher-ranking licences only when necessary. For example, NLM uses higher-ranking licences when a customer is running two or more suite products or when all lower-ranking licences are in use. During this process, NLM surveys licence usage every two minutes. As it surveys, it redistributes licences among customers and retrieves licences that have been unused for longer than the allowed time-out period.

NLM consumes licences in this order:

  1. Multi-user licences for a product
  2. Perpetual and maintenance licences
  3. Licences for industry collections that include the product
  4. Finally, licences for design and creation suites that include the product, if available. (Note: This applies only to customers who have LT suites or old perpetual licences.)

Licence cascading is most effective in a large user group when NLM has a pool of different licence types available for distribution. For example, suppose that the pool includes product-specific licences for several products, licences for an industry collection and licences for a suite. In this case, NLM has many options for determining the most efficient way to manage the licences. If a customer runs multiple products, NLM can assign single-product licences as individual products start up and replace them with an industry collection or suite licence.

You can disable cascading for product releases 2016 and later. Set the value of the environment variable ADSK_CASCADING_OVERRIDE to 0 (a setting of 1 enables cascading). This setting applies across all products.

Important: Cascading is essential for suite licensing. Don't disable cascading for suites.

Using package licence files

If you have a multi-user subscription or a maintenance plan, you have package licence snippets in the licence file. Package licence snippets give you access to the latest version of a product and to eligible previous versions, as applicable to the product.

To learn more, see Obtain a package licence file. 


Network Licence Manager includes the LMTOOLS utility (Windows only) to monitor licence status, reset licences lost during a system failure, troubleshoot licence servers and update existing licence files. For more information about these tools, see Licence Administration Guide installed with NLM.

Using feature codes

When you start the network version of an Autodesk product, the Network Licence Manager (NLM) receives a request for a licence. NLM controls the licences that are issued and handles licence requests using feature codes. Any network version of an Autodesk product has a specific feature code. For more information about feature codes and how to obtain them, see Feature Codes.

Using the Licence File Parser

You can use the Autodesk Autodesk Licence File Parser to view the feature codes. The Licence File Parser is an online tool that reads the contents of your licence file and displays details in a table. This tool is helpful when you create an options file, because you can quickly identify the parameter values required in the options file.