Installation for administrators

About licensing options and tools

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

Combining license files

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

Borrowing licenses

You can borrow network licenses for some Autodesk products. Borrowing means temporarily removing a license from the network to use it on an offline 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 license. Autodesk recommends balancing the duration of borrowing periods so that licenses aren’t unavailable for long periods. 

To learn more, see Borrow a license.

Using an options file

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

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

For more information, see Configure an options file.

Using cascading licenses

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

NLM consumes licenses in this order:

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

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

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 license files

If you have a multi-user subscription or a maintenance plan, you have package license snippets in the license file. Package license 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 license file. 


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

Using feature codes

When you start the network version of an Autodesk product, the Network License Manager (NLM) receives a request for a license. NLM controls the licenses that are issued and handles license 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 License File Parser

You can use the Autodesk Autodesk License File Parser to view the feature codes. The License File Parser is an online tool that reads the contents of your license 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.