Working with SOLIDWORKS at Home through COVID-19 Shutdowns

Article by Scott Durksen, CSWE updated March 17, 2020


The continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus) is causing significant impact around the globe.  While health is always of primary importance, this pandemic also affects business productivity.  As shutdowns and quarantines are rapidly expanding, more and more employees are being asked to work from home.  This can cause challenges with access to SOLIDWORKS software and data.

SOLIDWORKS Remote License

SOLIDWORKS Remote License

Several methods are available to use SOLIDWORKS at home or in a remote location.  In each case SOLIDWORKS will need to be installed on the remote computer.  Review our Installation Guide FAQs on our Technical Support page for installation instructions.

Here are the options based on different licensing structures:

SOLIDWORKS Standalone Licenses (Individual)

Standalone licenses are tied to individual users.  These serial numbers start with 0000, 0001, 9000 or 9001.  You can locate the serial number by opening SOLIDWORKS and go to Help > About SOLIDWORKS.  There are two options for this license type: activation-based or online.  It must be set to one or the other.

Option #1: Activation-based

Installations that run through the SOLIDWORKS Activation process have its license tied to the physical machine.  SOLIDWORKS can be installed on multiple computers with the same license but can only be active on a single machine at one time.  You can transfer the license from a work computer using the Deactivation process so a home/laptop computer can be activated.  Review our SOLIDWORKS Standalone License Deactivation and Activation article for instructions.

Option #2: Online

Please note that SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing is being discontinued soon!

For further details: SOLIDWORKS Online Licensing Discontinuation (

Online mode is an alternative to license activation.  The license is tied to a specific SOLIDWORKS user account that is created.  When SOLIDWORKS is launched on a computer using this option, the user logs in with their credentials.  When SOLIDWORKS is closed, the license is automatically released.  Therefore SOLIDWORKS can be installed on a remote computer with the same license and only requires logging in to launch.  Review our Online Licensing Overview article for further explanation and instructions.

NOTE: A standalone license defaults to activation-based.  Changing to online licensing requires first deactivating any active computers.

SOLIDWORKS SolidNetWork Licenses (Floating)

SOLIDWORKS network licensing requires access to the server hosting the floating licenses.  These serial numbers start with 0010 or 9010.  Within the workplace environment, computers are connected to the network to obtain licenses.  Working remotely can be accomplished with two methods: VPN or Borrowing.

Option #1: VPN

VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows users to connect to the workplace network via an internet connection.  This simulates a physical connection to the network.

Option #2: Borrow

Borrowing a license requires an initial connection to the network, then a license is obtained and locked on a client machine.  At which point the computer can be disconnected from the network and Internet but will still allow access to SOLIDWORKS.  The license will be tied to this client machine until the license is returned.

IMPORTANT: Do not borrow a license when connected to VPN.  Only borrow when physically connected to the network.

For more detailed information on VPN and Borrow capabilities, review our article: Using your SOLIDWORKS Network Licenses away from the office.

Other possible options include the use of Remote Desktop Tools or Cloud Options.  Review our article How can I work remotely during COVID-19 Isolation or Quarantine Response for additional information.

If you are unable to set up a VPN connection or borrow licenses for a specific reason, please contact your SOLIDWORKS Value Added Reseller for potential options.

SOLIDWORKS has also generated their own blog article on how to use SOLIDWORKS at home.

Related Links

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Scott Durksen, CSWE

Scott is a SOLIDWORKS Elite Applications Engineer and is based in our Dartmouth, Nova Scotia office.