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CodeMeter / LicenseBorrowing

License Borrowing

by KaticaAvvakumovits, MartonKiss, updated 2012-06-19

<!> GRAPHISOFT strongly recommends to use the latest CodeMeter driver on all computers where license borrowing is used. To download the latest GRAPHISOFT tested driver visit: http://www.graphisoft.com/downloads/protection_key.html

The License Borrowing feature – available only with the CodeMeter NET protection system - allows individual users to “borrow” a license key temporarily if they will be going off-site, to enable use of the software even when the license server is not accessible - e.g. when visiting the client or on a business trip. This technology significantly reduces the risk of a lost or stolen hardware key.

The user can borrow a license with a single click using the ArchiCAD interface, and return it before it expires so that other users can access it.

You can purchase borrowable licenses with your NET key up to the number of ArchiCAD licenses available in the key. E.g. if you have a NET-10 key, you can make any or all of the 10 licenses borrowable.

There are two types of license borrowing:

  • CodeMeter "Act" (Soft) License Borrowing: The borrowed license is represented by a license file on your computer - this license file is specific to the computer and cannot be transferred to another computer. After the borrowing period the license will automatically be released to the server. The license can also be manually released before the borrowing period is up. This license type is recommended for laptop users who wish to travel without a physical hardware protection key.

  • CodeMeter "Key" License Borrowing: The license is borrowed into a physical CodeMeter hardware key. This is recommended for users who wish to take a license away to be used on their home (or any other) computer. The advantage of this compared to having a single-license hardware key is that losing the key does not mean losing the license, as borrowed licenses are automatically returned to the server after the expiration date.

CodeMeter "Act" (Soft) License Borrowing (CMA) and CodeMeter "Key" License Borrowing (CMK) are two different products. Only one type of borrowable license is allowed per CodeMeter NET key. If you want to buy both "Act" and "Key" borrowable licenses, you need to have 2 separate Codemeter NET keys - although we do NOT recommend having two NET keys in the same local network.

Availability of license borrowing


Eco Designer

MEP modeler


ArchiCAD 12 and older





ArchiCAD 13





ArchiCAD 14





ArchiCAD 15





ArchiCAD 16


- *



* Starting from ArchiCAD 16 Eco Designer is built-in to ArchiCAD.

How to Borrow a License

License Borrowing works under the following conditions:

  • ArchiCAD is running on your machine with a license from a CodeMeter NET key

  • The CodeMeter NET key contains borrowable licenses to use with ArchiCAD and/or other GRAPHISOFT programs (MEP, EcoDesigner)

The process of borrowing is as follows:

  1. If you are already working on an ArchiCAD project, save it before you borrow a license.
  2. In ArchiCAD, click on Help > License Information.

  3. In the License Information dialog box, the Available Products section lists the relevant installed GRAPHISOFT products, by Product Name and License. Below, the Product Information section displays language version and other license information.


  • In any case, borrowing is available only if the selected product’s License is “Network (CodeMeter)”.

  • Click Borrow License. At this point, the program determines whether your client machine contains an “inactive” license, in the form of either a “soft” license file or on CodeMeter stick. Note: If no such “inactive” license is found, you are prompted to obtain one: see Obtaining an “Inactive” License (First-Time Borrowers)

  • If the process is successful, the program lets you know that you have borrowed a license for the product, with a particular expiration date. In the License Information dialog box, the selected product’s License information is listed as either “Borrowed (CodeMeter Stick)” or “Borrowed (License file)”, depending on the form of protection used. The selected product is now shown with a "Return License" button: click here when you are ready to return the license. Once you return it, it becomes available for the next borrower.


The expiration date of the borrowed license is shown in the Product Information section. If your license expires before you return it, the program will automatically return it for you, even if you are not online. However, if your computer or local CodeMeter key becomes lost or broken during the borrowing period, there is no way to “return” the license until it becomes due (at which point it is returned automatically).

Obtaining an “Inactive” License (First-Time Borrowers)

The first time you try to borrow a license – whether an “Act” (soft) license or a “Key” (CodeMeter Stick) license - you will be warned that you have an “Inadequate License.”


You must now obtain a so-called “inactive” license via an automated internet transaction with Graphisoft, and then complete the Borrowing process. This is a single-click process if you have an internet connection. If you are online, click Connect. That is all you need to do.

/!\ For detailed steps how to create the inactive license file - even in offline mode - see this article.


This process, creating an “inactive” license locally before you can borrow, is necessary only once. Henceforth, each “borrow” and “return” function will alternately activate and deactivate that license file.

  • Note: If your office uses CodeMeter Sticks (Key licenses), the CAD Manager can run this initial process (creating an “inactive” license) on each CodeMeter protection key using a single machine, and then distribute the key to the users who need to borrow a license. If your office uses the “Act” licenses, each user who wants to borrow a license must run through this process on his/her own machine.

If you are not connected to the internet, see License File Request Generation from a Remote Location

Enabling an MEP or EcoDesigner License

It is possible that you are running GRAPHISOFT’s MEP Modeler or EcoDesigner on your machine without a license key. (This means that you can view MEP elements or EcoDesigner interface in ArchiCAD, but you cannot edit them or access the related commands.) In this case, the License Information dialog box lists the license for this product as Disabled.


If your CodeMeter NET key contains a borrowable MEP or EcoDesigner license, click Enable to start using a license for the product: this way, you will have full access to its functions.

How to set up a CodeMeter license server

For detailed description see: CodeMeter/Server

Useful information

For detailed description how the server can be managed through WebAdmin interface see this article.

Also here we collected the discovered known issues.

Categories: CategoryProtectionKey

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