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Software Key Frequently Asked Questions

Greg Kmethy

What is a Software Key?

Software-Based Protection Keys - or Software Keys for short - have the same functionality as Hardware-based Protection Keys, but instead of storing software licenses on a USB stick, the licenses are stored in a software container file on your computer.

Software keys use the same CodeMeter technology as the metal USB keys most Archicad users currently have. This means that any Archicad version that is natively compatible with the CodeMeter keys (Archicad 13 or higher) will also be compatible with the Software Key.

What are the similarities and differences between Hardware and Software Keys?

Software Key is fully equivalent to the CodeMeter Hardware Key in terms of software protection functionalities, yet its delivery, deployment and management greatly differ from the hardware protection.

  • They both use the same CodeMeter technology
  • They both can contain single and network licenses
  • They both can contain Archicad an add-on license and from Archicad 19 on borrowing licenses as well
  • They both can be transferred from one computer to another


  • With Software Keys there is no physical hardware to store the license. The licenses are stored in a ‘container file’ located on the user’s computer.
  • Software Keys can be assigned to individual users in the company. The ‘owner’ of the Software Key can upload, download and transfer the License Key between computers.
  • The owner and the location of a Software Key can be easily monitored in the ‘Company License Pool’ on the website

What are the benefits of the Software Key?

  • A software key is harder to lose, misplace or damage since it resides on your computer. If your computer is lost or destroyed, a Software Key can be easily replaced.
  • A software key is delivered through the internet, so there are no shipping cost and shipping time
  • For companies with multiple protection keys, the management of the license inventory is simpler, since the inventory can be managed on a website – this is called the ‘Company License Pool’.

How is a software key delivered?

If you have ordered Archicad with a Software Key, you need to do the following:

  • First, you need to create a Graphisoft ID. If you've already got an ID for MyArchicad, BIMx or BIMcomponents, you can use your existing ID as well. If you have Facebook or Google-based ID, you must create a Graphisoft ID password in order to sign in to License Manager Tool or to the License Pool.
    You can create a new Graphisoft ID here.
  • You need to download and install the License Manager Tool (LMT).
  • Start LMT and sign in with your Graphisoft ID
  • If you are doing this for the first time, the application will ask you for an authentication key. Your reseller supplies this authentication key to you.
  • After successful authentication, you will see the licenses that are available for you.
  • Select the key you want to download, and follow the instructions of the LMT application to finish the process

How can I transfer a software key from one computer to another?

The basic idea is that you can return a software key to your ‘Company License Pool’ and then download it again on a different computer. You can do this as many times as you want. The steps are:

  • On the computer where your license is currently installed, start and sign in with your Graphisoft ID to the License Manager Tool
  • Upload the software key to Company License Pool
  • On the computer where you want to download the license start the License Manager Tool, log in with your Graphisoft ID and follow the instructions.

What happens if my computer breaks down and I lose the Software Key installed on it?

Get in touch with your reseller who will be able to help with your individual case. You will need to fill out a declaration form, and depending on the situation and your SSA status, you will either get a free replacement, or you may need to pay a replacement fee.

My company has multiple Protection Keys. How can I manage them if I switch to Software Keys?

Company Licenses are managed through the ‘Company License Pool’, which is accessible through the Graphisoft ID website. The basic idea is that every company can have an admin (a Graphisoft ID account with elevated rights), who has the authority to assign individual keys to individual members, or can set keys to be available to everyone. We have detailed guides about managing companies and managing licenses.

How can I get a Software Key?

The introduction of Software Key will take place gradually in different markets during the course of 2015. In the first phase, new license orders will be available with software keys, then the replacement of existing hardware keys will be possible for users on Archicad 18. Contact your local Archicad reseller to learn more about the availability of Software Keys in your region.

Can I borrow a license from a Software NET Key?

From Archicad 19 on you can borrow licenses from a Software NET Key to another computer, but borrowing to a Hardware Key from a Software NET Key is not possible. See details of license borrowing here.

Software Key compatibility

See additional information about Software-Based Protection key compatibility on the Archicad Protection Key Compatibility site.

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