Knowledgebase
Knowledgebase : Autodesk

The A2K Technologies support desk is happy to assist with all current versions of your installed Autodesk software. Software includes;

  • AutoCAD including toolsets and any vertical products
  • Revit
  • Inventor range of products
  • All licensing and installation troubleshooting
  • Various 360 services, such as BIM360 and Fusion 360.

The currently supported release versions include;

  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018 (best efforts)
  • 2017 (best efforts)

It's important to note however, that product versions 2016 and prior are no longer supported by either A2K Technologies or Autodesk. If you're currently using a legacy version of Autodesk products, we strongly recommend that you upgrade your Autodesk applications from these legacy versions as soon as possible.

Recently, we've had an increase of questions asking about how to work from home with their Autodesk software. And as either an Autodesk Software user or an IT Administrator, if you're keen to know your options then please read on.

Note that this article is discussing licensing and installation aspects of Autodesk software, but not the actual remote workflows that may be needed with your CAD applications when working from home.

30 Day Trial Mode

Firstly, understand that anyone can obtain the current version of Autodesk Software (at time of writing, we're transitioning from release 2020 to release 2021 over the coming weeks) and run the software in trial mode for 30 days. There may be reasons as to why the trial may not work immediately, but generally speaking, running the software in "Serial Number" / "Standalone" mode will grant that active user 30 days to use the software before locking them out. More on this later... but for now, most users should be able to download the software and use it in trial mode.

Downloading your software;

There are three common ways to download Autodesk software to your home computer;

Autodesk Manage Portal

http://manage.autodesk.com

And of particular interest, when using the Autodesk Manage Portal to download your software, use the "Browser Download" method that's detailed here;

https://knowledge.autodesk.com/customer-service/download-install/download/about-download-methods/browser-download-method-for-autodesk-account

Autodesk Virtual Agent

http://ava.autodesk.com

The Autodesk Virtual Agent is a chat bot that can be used to download Autodesk software (limited to current version for anonymous users) and also for its activation (more on activation below, it's only required in some situations).

Autodesk Desktop App

https://knowledge.autodesk.com/search-result/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/About-Autodesk-desktop-app.html

The Autodesk Desktop App can be downloaded, installed, and then once a user has logged in with their Autodesk ID, they'll be able to access the installer for any Single-User licenses that have been assigned to them. The Autodesk Desktop App may already be installed on your computer if you've installed any Autodesk software previously over the past 5 or so years - you'll find the shortcut for it within the Windows Start Menu.

Patching your software;

The Autodesk Desktop App will be installed with any Autodesk software installation. The shortcut for the app is found within the Windows Start Menu, and will run in the Windows System Tray as a little blue "A" icon. Load up the Autodesk Desktop App, log in with your Autodesk ID, and then the app will scan and detect any installed Autodesk products and provides for patching of each install. Of importance the App will also provide Licensing Hot-fixes independent of your CAD service packs and CAD hot-fixes, and it's very important to install any licensing hot-fixes recommended by the Desktop App as a priority.

Alternatively, you can download individual Autodesk App patches via the Autodesk Manage Portal. The list of available patches may be extensive however, so use the search bar to help find what you're looking for.

Licensing your installed software for home use;

Single-User (Term Based) Licensing

For those of us who are using an Autodesk Single User license, this method is by far the easiest. Simply download the software, install it (be it a laptop or desktop, but Autodesk do state a limit of 3 devices) and log in with your Autodesk ID to use it. If the software fails to log-in, run through these checks;

 - Are you using the correct email address that's associated with your Autodesk ID?

- Check the Autodesk Desktop App doesn't have any pending Service Packs or Licensing Hot-Fixes awaiting install.

 - Check that the products you're trying to open are listed either in the Autodesk Desktop App, or the Autodesk Manage Portal. If either of these are looking relatively empty, cross check your email address and your assigned software with your Software Coordinator.

Multi-User Network (Term Based or Maintenance) Licensing

Borrowing a Network License

Multi-User Licensing Users may open up their CAD application, clicking Help/About, and then product information where they'll see an option to borrow a license for a set period of time (6 months is the maximum default). CAD administrators may wish to either limit the borrowing of licenses to certain users, or by the maximum time which a license can be borrowed. To control the Borrowing, the CAD Administrator will need to create an Options File on the License Server. The guide below details how to create an options file;

http://knowledge.autodesk.com/search-result/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/How-to-control-network-license-access-using-an-options-file.html

Virtual Private Network

Speak with your Company IT Administrator about setting up a VPN between your home device and your office network. Once the VPN is setup and active, so long as your home computer can see/ping the Autodesk License Server in your office, you can then go about installing the Autodesk Software and upon first start up, select the "Multi-User" option, enter in your company servers name, and the software should start up as expected. If however, you encounter errors please be sure to first check the VPN is setup correctly with your IT Administrator. Following that, ask them to reach out to A2K Support for help, as we'll need to check;

 - The client side error message, take a screenshot of it.

 - The LMTools log file, Status Enquiry and Options file

 - Network Latency (how long it takes your home computer to communicate with the office license server).

And as always with a Network License, remember that once the user requirement exceeds the license pool, users will be rejected from obtaining a network license.

Home User Serial Number

Your software coordinator can log into the Autodesk Manage Portal and generate a "Home Use Serial Number" which can be issued to any user who needs to install and run Autodesk products from their home computer, yet is unable to run a VPN. There are limitations to Home Use Serial Numbers, such as;

 - The Software Coordinator may only issue the same amount of licenses as per the maximum licenses held within the license pool of their active Autodesk contract, on a per product basis. So if you have a 10 seat Multi-user network license of AutoCAD, then a Home User serial number may be generated for that product, and then issued to a maximum of 10 users for install and activation on their home devices.

 - The installation must be activated (and for troubleshooting on this, please see below).

 - The license will expire, typically 12 months after activation. It can be renewed, however, often users prefer to install and re-activate their newer version of Autodesk software, and uninstall last years version.

Legacy Standalone Licensing (Maintenance)

Install your software and activate your install using the same serial number that's been used on your work computer. If activation fails, use the Autodesk AVA website to assist with manually activating your product. It's important to understand however, that Autodesk will only allow home use activation on active maintenance contracts. If you're maintenance contract has since expired, Autodesk will not activate your product for use at home.

Activation Troubleshooting;

If using either a Home Use serial number, or your Maintenance perpetual serial number, the software should automatically activate via the internet. If that fails, try using the Autodesk AVA website to generate your activation code manually.

Activate your product directly using the AVA website:

http://ava.autodesk.com

If you're still continuing to have activation complications, then please reach out to A2K Support for further assistance, noting that we'll require;

 - Name of Installed Product

 - Product Serial Number (the issued home use serial, or your maintenance serial number)

 - Product Key

 - The Request Code generated when the software attempts to activate (you can use the mouse cursor to select this code, and copy/paste it)

Email those details through so that we can work with Autodesk to manually generate an "Activation Code" for use with your home install. However, keep in mind that you should be able to use the software in 30 trial mode whilst awaiting your Activation Code.

Project data, saving and sharing files, accessing work network drives, etc.

The aim of this particular document is to cover frequently asked questions on Autodesk Licensing and software install during Work From Home situations, but for tips and tricks regarding remote workflow related questions, please log a new support ticket via the A2K Support Portal so that a product specialist can review and discuss your workflow questions. Use the below link to log a support ticket with the A2K Technologies support desk;

 - https://support.a2ktechnologies.com.au/

Autodesk Media Release;

Autodesk have release the below media release which also contains a few official handy links that you may refer to if needed, regarding Home Use Licensing;

https://knowledge.autodesk.com/search-result/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Best-practices-for-using-Autodesk-software-when-working-remotely.html

For Revit users working from home, there are four main options recommended by Autodesk for those users who are working with a Revit workflow (more on Central Files later). 

Options will include: 

 

BIM360: 

Autodesk BIM360 is a cloud solution which enables users Revit file access whilst working remotely through the internet. BIM360 Design unlocks the worksharing capability in Revit, by hosting the central files within the Autodesk cloud servers, which gives users a lot of flexibility as models are accessed from anywhere with internet connectivity. Please note, a Revit installation is still required in order to perform changes on these files. However, for those users only needing to simply review models, they can jump into the web browser and start reviewing geometry information without having Revit installed. Autodesk BIM360 is a great tool for teams of users to collaborate with.

 

Remote Desktop Access:

Remote Desktop Access allows users to access their work computer from a different device. Remote Desktop Access can be achieved either through the built-in Windows Remote Desktop application, or alternatively, through other 3rd party applications such as like Chrome, Team Viewer, etc. The downside of Remote Desktop Access, is that the workstation computer must be switched on for the remote desktop client at home to connect with it.

 

Revit Server:

Revit Server enables multiple office locations to work collaboratively through a WAN. Whilst this may sound like a good solution (as Revit Server is available free of charge), it may not be ideal for remote access across multiple locations such as when individuals are working from home.

 

Citrix:

Citrix allows a centralised server for virtual machines and software access, which enables users to work remotely. This work environment requires specific hardware and is heavily reliant on an IT Administrator in order to configure and ensure users can access and work in this environment. On the plus side, updates and software installations are centralised, ensuring that everyone is using the same updates and versions of software, graphics card, etc. 

 

While many are looking for the best solution to work from home using Revit, a few key points may be considered: 

 

1. Internet connectivity speed - https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/bim-360/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/ENU/About-BIM360/files/GUID-FCC9F18A-1CBE-4318-9EEA-2DD826A3D8AE-html.html

2. Hardware – minimum system requirements to run Revit - https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/revit-products/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/System-requirements-for-Autodesk-Revit-2020-products.html  

3. IT support  

Before deciding on an option, please read through the below Autodesk article for more details about hardware requirements, along with the pro & cons of the options listed above.

https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/revit-products/learn-explore/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Revit-options-for-Remote-Access.html 

And please reach out to A2K Technologies for the best advice and recommendations on your current work situation.

 

Migrating Workspaces 

By David Gerber - Support - A2K Technologies

There are 3 common reasons people have the need to migrate workspaces within CAD. 

  1. New Computer. 
    1. You would like to transfer your workspaces from your old computer to the new one. 
  2. Office Standards. 
    1. An office-wide standard has been implemented. 
  3. Upgrading to a Newer Version. 
    1. You have recently downloaded a newer version of CAD and it’s set to defaults. 

 

For a new computer or office standards, the workflow would be as follows: 

  1. Export Settings from AutoCAD – Windows Start – AutoCAD 20xx – “Export AutoCAD 20xx Settings 
  2. Import Settings – same area, except “Import AutoCAD 20xx Settings” 

 

 

When upgrading CAD versions on the same computer (provided you haven’t uninstalled the previous version), you will be asked if you would like to migrate settings. If that message didn’t come up (happens sometimes) you can go to the same area as the “Export Settings” but this time click on “Migrate From A Previous Release” and it’ll bring up a dialog box and ask to accept the migration from a previous version.  

If you have already uninstalled the previous versions before this step, you can import using the same steps as above, however, had you not exported the settings or have an office-standard workspace you can import, those settings would be lost once you uninstalled. It is highly recommended that you export those settings for safe-keeping before uninstalling your CAD versions. 

Resetting CAD to Default

This can also be a handy workflow for resetting CAD to default. If you notice your CAD starting to act up after importing a workspace, or perhaps working one day but not the next, it may be worth cross-checking: 

  1. CAD Updates.  
    1. Is your CAD updated to the latest version? 
    2. You can download the latest version from either the Autodesk Desktop App or through the Management Portal – manage.autodesk.com 
  2. Windows Updates. 
    1. Type “Windows Updates” in the Windows Search Bar 
  3. Graphics Card Updates. 
    1. Test by turning off Hardware Acceleration by typing in – “GRAPHICSCONFIG" - in the command line and retesting. If it starts to act appropriately, check to see if your graphics card needs an update. 

If you notice performance issues on every file and it’s not isolated to just one file, export your settings and then reset CAD to defaults. Test those same files again and compare. It may be something within that workspace. Send it to us and we can try to isolate the reasoning behind it or escalate further to Autodesk. 

 

 

Sometimes the “Reset Settings to Default” or “Migrate From a Previous Release” is missing on some installs, if that’s the case for you follow the following Autodesk Article to fix this bug: https://autode.sk/2N2irne  

Internal Origin Point 

By David Gerber - Support - A2K Technologies

The Revit 2020.2 update by Autodesk brought about a new feature in the “Site” category called the “Internal Origin Point”. Many people have noticed a 3D gimbal appear in their projects that wasn’t there before. New projects made after the 2020.2 update will have this turned off by default, however, older projects will now have this turned on in every view.  

Ideally, you would have it turned off in your office View Templates. This would turn it off in all of your views. 

If you do not have View Templates set up, you would need to do this in each and every view, as well as new views that are created within that project. You can also use Dynamo to quickly turn off the Site Origin Point in every view without having to open each one up. 

You will need to download the “archi-lab.net” package in order to run the script. 

Once downloaded, open your chosen project/s and click “Run” at the bottom left corner. Dynamo will find every view in the file and turn off the Internal Origin Point, Project Base Point and Survey Point. If you’d like to turn them back on, either go into the individual pages’ VG settings, or change the script to say “false” instead of “true”, run the script, and all 3 will be turned on in every view. 

Revit Crashes 

By David Gerber - Support - A2K Technologies

 

Trend Antivirus 

Trend Antivirus has been known to cause crashes within Revit, usually with a saving error that says "Encountered a sharing violation while accessing...". We have also seen instances of Trend blocking Revit from launching.  
 
When looking at where that file path is going, it’s been linked to Trend blocking the Temporary Folder, which Revit heavily relies on when launching, saving, syncing, etc. 
 
In most recent cases, clients who were experiencing issues with Revit (who were also using Trend), all issues were resolved by disabling Trend. Most people have moved off of Trend early 2018 as it caused Revit to act up. 

  • The link has a supplementary link for other configurations for Trend that perhaps your IT can help you do. 
     

You can also try these whitelist options so that Trend causes less issues for you:  

 
Trend is a bit of a tricky one as they don't list too much on their website for fixes, I believe that's why most people switched to other antivirus software (at least in the AEC bubble). 
 
Trend had the following listed on their website when you search for "Revit". Instructions include excluding Trend from scanning the Temp folder.  

If switching antivirus' isn't an option, then hopefully the exclusions should help alleviate the problems you are facing. 

 

Site Designer / Precast 

Autodesk has plug-ins called “Site Designer” and “Precast”, both of which have been known to cause crashing within Revit. Site Designer is definitely the bigger culprit of the two, however, if you don’t need these plug-ins, we highly recommend uninstalling them.  
 
Many people install it due to it being available as a part of the “updates”, so people think it’s necessary.  
 
If you’ve noticed your Revit crashing after closing the last tab of a project or after closing a family after editing, this is often the case of Site Designer and a bug within it that’s causing this issue for you. 
 
We have spoken to the Autodesk Development Team and there has not been a fix for that crashing, unfortunately, other than to completely uninstall the plug-ins through the Control Panel. 
 
You can also quickly test this without uninstalling (perhaps if you need those two plug-ins at times) by going into the Plug-In folder and moving them out of that folder temporarily. When you relaunch Revit the next time, they will be unloaded and won’t affect Revit. Once you need to use them for your project, you can put them back in and use them. 

  • Revit plug-ins are found here: C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\Revit\Addins\ 
  • You will then see all years of Revit’s that you have. Open that year of Revit and move the Site Designer file. 
  • Tip: Copy/paste that UNC path to get there faster as Program Data is a hidden Windows folder. 

Working with CAD in Revit 

By David Gerber - Support - A2K Technologies

Many corruptions within Revit projects can be avoided by proper workflow. Importing CAD files is something we are all used to and has become a force of habit. Revit, however, does not function properly when CAD files are inserted. Ideally, you wouldn’t have any CAD files within the main Revit project, however, it’s understandable that this isn’t always avoidable. 

 

Before using CAD files within your Revit project, use this 3-step tip to clean them up as best as possible: https://autode.sk/2QwObTk  

 

Some workarounds to improve performance if you need to have use CAD files are: 

  1. LINK files into the project. 
    1. If they are temporarily used, it’s easier to see where they are located and easy to unload them to remove them from your project. Imported CAD files are much harder to find and more often than not, they require scripting to remove. 
    2. Unload/remove unneeded CAD files. CAD files add a considerable bloat to Revit. IF CAD files are visible in the view, the view navigation performance is affected. 
    3. It is advisable that CAD file should be cleaned up (especially civil files), purged, audited, PROXYGRAPHICS set to 1. 
  2. Create a CONTAINER file. 
    1. When collaborating, link your CAD files into their own Revit file, and position them accordingly and in appropriate coordinates. You can now link that Revit file into your project. This means you have control over where it’s linked into, filter it, unload/reload it, etc. 
  3. When needing them as a REFERENCE
    1. Avoid importing CAD and Explode CAD in project or families. Always use an interim file to convert CAD linework into Revit lines. In a new project or family Import the CAD, Explode and then remap the lines, patterns to match your company standards or OTB types and styles. Copy the cleaned-up version into your actual project or family. Avoid CAD files within a family. 

Some extra tips here: 

  1. 13 Tips to Understand Line Weights in Revit: https://bit.ly/2tGUJGk  
  2. Graphics Issues after Linking or Importing CAD: https://autode.sk/2SjeD48  
  3. CAD Files Best Practices: https://autode.sk/2GcWrol 

 

When you export from Revit into CAD, there are 3 options of how to export the layers.